Whitecaps draw with Toronto FC at Swangard in soccerball game

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Toronto FC

Pictured: Toronto FC goalkeeper Greg Sutton shouts at his defenders during a scramble in the box.

Despite being a long time season ticket holder for the Whitecaps I tend not to blog about the team on a point of principal, since the organization has failed to answer several requests for media passes.  This post is an exception to the rule.

Every year the Whitecaps try to organize a friendly match for fans that brings a top level team into Vancouver.  Last year saw the Major League Soccer (MLS) team LA Galaxy and David Beckham play the Caps at GM Place and yesterday they brought in the Toronto FC Canada’s only MLS team.  Without the star power of Beckham the match stayed at the Whitecaps’ usual home field Swangard Stadium in Burnaby.

The Toronto FC is one of the success stories of the MLS.  Where many teams fail to fill stadiums, even with Beckham now playing in the league, Toronto FC’s stadium have been jammed packed with fanatical fans since the first game.  Without major stars, the only starter that I recognized yesterday was former Newcastle United player Laurent Robert, they’ve built a devoted fan base and despite a lack of on-field success have been a model for MLS teams in America and a beacon of hope for a potential Vancouver franchise.  For more on the stellar success of the Toronto FC check out both my post on the club [mbv] and the excellent article in the London Guardian by Globe and Mail journalist John Doyle [lg].

Swangard was packed, far more than it is for the average home match, and extra seating had been set up to handle the increase in fans.  As always at Whitecaps games accents were plentiful.  Sitting down in my usual seat took getting involved in an argument between an elderly Italian man and an elderly English bloke.  The diversity of the crowd is what makes the potential for an MLS team in Vancouver so enticing.  Soccer is a truly global sport, and as a multi-ethnic city Vancouver is a place where it could thrive at the highest levels if the Whitecaps stadium plans ever go through [wcfc].

Enough talk about the future, and the potential for soccer in our city, let’s actually talk about the game.  And boy what a game it was, one of the most exciting of the season at Swangard.

Despite the fact that the Toronto FC plays in a higher league than the Whitecaps the game was incredibly even throughout.  The Whitecaps scored first near the end of the second half, and lead until two second half goals from the Toronto FC.  After a few near misses for both teams it looked as though the FC had managed to secure a win, until Eduardo Sebrango scored his second goal of the game to tie it up in the dying minutes of the match.

Most importantly in front of a crowd of non-regular Caps fans, the game was quick and exciting with several moments that got the fans off of their seats cheering for goals and even for an off-side call.  It was a good demonstration of how exciting soccer can be, and hopefully went a long way of winning over a few new Whitecaps fans.

Now if only they’d give us media passes. 

For a complete match report see the Whitecaps site [wcfc].

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Toronto FC

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