Friday, Southsider and blogger Michael McColl takes ALL CAPS “Away From
The Numbers” for a fan’s perspective on the Vancouver Whitecaps

After many months and many millions of dollars, the all singing, all dancing new BC Place will open its doors to the public this evening for the very first time.

Whilst over 40,000 fans will watch the stadium’s opening CFL game between the BC Lions and the Edmonton Eskimos, the thoughts of many others will be with the Whitecaps first game there against Cascadian rivals Portland Timbers on Sunday afternoon.

This has been a momentous season for the Caps. Not many teams have the chance to celebrate two new stadiums in a season and pay nostalgic trips back to two of their spiritual homes in the process.
We can only hope that the opening Whitecaps game is more of a hurrah than the one that said goodbye to Empire.

The whole evening was a damp squib. The sight of Whitecaps players forlornly traipsing a goodbye banner around, whilst their Cascadian rivals celebrated with a Cup, will grate with Caps fans for a while. Hopefully we can do the same thing at the Clink next season.   

The players feel they let the fans down. The fans feel they let the players down.

Heads certainly went down all around by the time that Seattle’s third goal has nestled in the back of Joe Cannon’s net.

Let’s just hope that the same mistakes and performances aren’t repeated at BC Place this Sunday.

At least we’re all under a roof at BC Place. Whatever brainiac at the front office that thought it was a good idea to put 500 plus travelling supporters under a roof, beside the broadcast booth, where all their noise was amplified, needs their heads examined.

It’s hard to look at the grand reopening without look back a little at the stadium’s original opening on 20th June 1983.

On that occasion, the Caps welcomed those other Cascadians, Seattle Sounders in a NASL match up.

60,342 fans turned out that day to cheer the Caps on to a 2-1 win. Will the occasion buoy the Caps on to victory this time?

The Empire opener seemed to do that. The buzz of that 4-2 win against Toronto seems so long ago now.

Let’s put some spirit and self belief back into this side by replicating that day on Sunday against the Timbers.

Portland are still chasing a playoff spot. Vancouver’s players should be trying to chase contracts for next season.

My hope of seeing some of the fringe players getting a run out for the remainder of the season seems to be a non starter, if Tommy Soehn’s answer to my question at last Saturday’s post match presser is anything to go by.

I just don’t see the point in having these guys and not letting us see what they can do when we have five pointless games remaining.

Just a few weeks ago I had a list of stuff that the Caps still had left to play for.

One by one, these have been whittled away. We’re left with trying to catch New England to avoid finishing bottom (not an easy task when you look at our remaining games) and trying to get some Cascadian pride against Portland, whilst also putting a serious dent into their drive for the playoffs.

Both could be over by mid afternoon on Sunday.

It’s not just disheartening to be the only team officially completely eliminated from the playoff picture with over a month to go, it’s embarrassing. Let’s be honest though. We were basically eliminated from things in June!

Sunday may be a spectacle and it will be great to see the place we’re going to be calling home, with its FIFA 2 star rated turf and giant scoreboard, but all I really want is something to cheer about on the pitch.

Portland have left Vancouver standing in nearly every aspect of both of our inaugural MLS seasons.

Let’s try and have the last laugh competitively.

About the author:

McColl began writing about football in 1989 and has freelanced for
various newspapers, magazines and websites in the UK. He moved to
Vancouver in 2007 and currently pens two “Away From the Numbers” blogs
one on everything football and the other specifically about the Whitecaps and North American “soccer”.

a proud member of the Vancouver Southsiders supporters club, though his
views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the
Southsiders organization.

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