Vancouver Whitecaps finally win the Voyageurs Cup

August 27, 2015 at 10:23 pm | Posted in Whitecaps season 2015 | Leave a comment
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After years of frustration and anger the Whitecaps finally won the Canadian Championship, dispatching the other finalist the Montreal Impact with a 2-0 win on the night giving them a 4-2 aggregate victory over two legs. It may not be such a coveted prize, but the Voyageurs Cup is ours after long last.

Only five teams compete in the Canadian Championship (the three Canadian MLS teams, and Ottawa and Edmonton from the NASL), but winning it means you get to compete in the CONCACAF Champions League, which is CONCACAF’s rather poor cousin to the UEFA Champions league and the Copa Libertadores from South America.

This will now put to rest the horrible memories from the 2009 competition when, in a mid-week match, Montreal put its second team out in the second leg verses Toronto and lost the match by a lopsided score allowing Toronto to overcome a big first leg deficit. This meant the Whitecaps lost top spot in the competition and were pipped by Toronto for the Voyageurs Cup.

The hollow look on the faces of Teitur Thordarson and his players as the rain poured down on them as they watched the Cup slip away has haunted Vancouver Whitecaps fans since that date. The Whitecaps USL squad were supposed to collect the Voyageur’s Cup and come home but ended up watching the jubilant celebrations of Toronto FC instead. To add insult to injury Montreal beat the Whitecaps in Montreal the following Saturday.

The Whitecaps put a strong squad on to the pitch with Ousted in goal; Beitashour, Parker, Waston and Harvey in defence; Koffie and Teibert in defensive midfield; and, Manneh, Morales, Techera and Riveiro in the forward diamond. Only Laba and Pa Modou Kah were missing from the Whitecaps best eleven.

Montreal struggled to compete early and looked slow, tired, and out of shape. Montreal’s centre back Cabrera was sent off after persistently fouling Riveiro, leaving Montreal with ten men after only 30 minutes of football. Soon after an errant back pass from Whitecaps old boy Nigel Reo-Coker was snatched by Techera, who eventually bundled the ball past Montreal’s keeper towards the open goal. The goal-starved Riveiro sprinted after the ball and just tapped it in at the last second, claiming the goal. I would say he owes Techera a nice dinner after that!

In the second half Tim Parker emphatically nodded in a Morales corner kick past Montreal’s undefended far post. With that the game was over, and possession football led by substitute Mauro Rosales took over to see the match out.

The crowd stood in anticipation of the final whistle and were jubilant when the referee finally blew time. The Whitecaps had won their first title of the MLS era. The players began celebrating before the final whistle with Kah and Captain Morales (who was substituted by Rosales) celebrating on the sidelines in the final minute.

Pay Modou Kah stole the show by dancing on some bizarre little automatic skateboard as he zoomed around the pitch before the trophy was awarded like a character from the Jetsons. It really was quite hilarious.

All of the players looked delighted to get the trophy and even grizzled veterans Rosales and Earnshaw smiled like they had won a major trophy. The players were clearly enjoying their moment together. It is clear the squad is very close and that they are truly enjoying one another’s company. With this attitude more trophies could follow.

The crowd stayed late to savour the moment, and those of us who have supported the team since the Swangard days got to embrace our first title since we won the USL championship match back in 2008.

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