The season ended on a bitter note with the loss to the LA Galaxy for the Vancouver Whitecaps but their season as a whole was very encouraging for Canadian soccer and more specifically Canadian club soccer. However, there is still much work to be done for the three Canadian MLS clubs.
But the Whitecaps seem to be emerging as one of the top Canadian sides and have also become very competitive in North America’s top flight. With Davide Chumiento gone to Zurich in a mid season transfer this team showed resiliency and proved that they had enough depth overcome this loss as if it hadn’t happened.
However the addition of DP Kenny Miller made the Whitecaps a much more respectable side. The addition of the Scottish international was not the focal point of the season but he surely helped Darren Mattocks, the Generation Adidas product improve some aspects of his game. We could see that Mattocks was making more intelligent, Kenny Cooper like runs towards the end of the season. The rookie’s early goal in the first round of the playoffs was a beautiful example of composure and the way he opened his hips to make the far post finish on a difficult low cut back cross to control showed us that he also does have some technical ability in addition to being a physical specimen.
The main reason this season has been a remarkable one for the Whitecaps is the fact that they made the MLS Playoffs for the first time and actually made history by becoming the fist Canadian MLS team to make it to the “second season”. Toronto FC who has been in the MLS for five years has only disappointed so far but the Whitecaps in their sophomore year just squeezed in for the final playoff berth. They had to fight for this spot because FC Dallas was breathing down their necks in the ladder part of the season but they were eliminated in the second last week. They not only made the playoffs but got the most points out off all Canadian clubs which means they will play the FC Edmonton in next years’ semi finals of the Voyageurs cup which is the equivalent of the U.S. Open Cup in Canada.
It will be interesting to see if the Whitecaps will be able to reproduce what they have accomplished this season and even go further. They will depend on solid players at the back like Jay DeMerit and Y.P Lee and young talents like Gershon Koffie to keep playing at the same intensity.