Major Changes To Whitecaps

Photo Credit D. Laird Allan/Sportswave

The Vancouver Whitecaps enter their 40th season with only one Soccer Bowl Title in 1979 which is significant as it marks their NASL Championship by a 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Giants Stadium.

Many in the greater Vancouver area are expecting a far better season than the previous few which have only seen confusion on and off the pitch.

The Whitecaps joined the MLS March 18th/2009 now Members of  as mentioned by Don Garber, the second Commissioner of the league.

He was the one bringing the league more in line with the International standard, thus eliminating the shootout, while making the referee responsible for keeping the time on the field.

He eliminated O/T in 2004 as well as the three-plus-one substitution rule which was used since the league’s beginning – thus enabling the teams to substitute three field players as well as an additional goalkeeper.

Initially the Vancouver franchise were unable to select a name and while giving much consideration ownership confirmed the name Whitecaps would remain in place.

As they enter their 10th year in the MLS they are looking at more than one small significant change and if you’re a betting man take a look at the odds on various sports to see how betting on sports might be attractive to you?

Prior to the end of last season following a dismal loss Long time Head Coach Carl Robinson, Assistant Martyn Pert and Goalkeeper Coach Stewart Kerr, were dismissed.

The change came two short days after a 2-1 home loss to FC Dallas, which kept the Whitecaps four points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi told the media “We have a lot of respect and appreciation for Carl and his team, and are thankful for the contributions they have made to this club.”

He (Robinson) replaced Martin Rennie December 2013 after his stint of a two year role as Rennie’s Assistant.

During his four seasons as Head Coach Vancouver qualified for the MLS playoffs three times, but never progressed past the Western Conference semifinals.

It had been expected that a change was expected for weeks about a possible coaching change in Vancouver, and for good reason.

Last year they allowed 56 GA which was 7 more than 49 of the previous season, while managing only two shutout performances, with the most recent being April 27 in a 2-0 home victory over Real Salt Lake.

Last season saw the Whitecaps get eliminated from postseason play having a record of 11-11-7 placing them in eighth place in the West.

Locally, the fans had the luxury of seeing some dazzling performances, such as Kei Kamara (Striker), who made the jump from New England Revolution managing to score a club-high 13 goals.

Let’s not forget about the one that stole the hearts of the fans Canadian 17-year-old Midfielder Alphonso Davies, who managed 11 assists, more than any other Whitecaps player.

He’ll be missed!!

Some were quick to comment on how Robinson took Davies “under his wing” to guide him in the transition to sign with Bayern Munich joining his new Bundesliga team.

Led by Robinson the Whitecaps signed the former Mexican-International midfielder Efrain Juarez (30) to add to their scoring.

Realistically speaking one can or maybe should not go on past records as this move “bombed” as he not only was a no-show he earned more red cards (2) that he got shots, which was only one.  

Brek Shea (28) at times managed to dazzle the fans, but not enough considering he was the club’s second-highest paid player managing only three goals in 24 appearances.

The new season begins and while many call it a “rebranding” some in the area call it a move of desperation for the club.

Regardless, one thing no one can take away is the fact that they are drawing more fans on a regular basis than the Canucks or the Lions, but not the Vancouver Canadians.

Yes size does matter as the Canadians have a smaller venue to play out of, but playing out of BC Place means more of an added expense to the Families attending – which is costly enough.

Many ask if  the hiring of Marc De Santos in the off-season as the new Head Coach will be the key to success as they kick off their new season with the first home game March 2nd at BC Place Stadium.