The Vancouver Whitecaps’ opening game, and other things that made me smile

21 03 2011

It’s finally an off-day from baseball work today and it has been a good day. Reasons why:

1. I made it through a tough workout after a week of being really sick.

2. State tax refund came through.

3. The guy who cut my hair lived in Gresham, Ore., and he loved it up there as much as I do.

4. It’s raining outside in Phoenix and it’s nice to see.

5. I finally got to see the Whitecaps’ opener and was reminded of that night in Seattle when the Sounders opened. What an atmosphere.

I’m not sure anyone outside of those who are around the team a great deal really knew what to expect Saturday. For starters, Empire Field shined in the sun and those wide shots of the stadium with the forested mountains in the background were beautiful. It’s a great city, and that natural setting is something you can’t find in a lot of places.

Then there was the game itself. Six goals, four for the home side! And all I have read since then is about the emotions of the day, how perfect of an inaugural game it was. The Vancouver press wrote some excellent articles on that.

Empire Field will do the job for now, can’t wait to see the remodeled B.C. Place when its ready. Then those folks will truly have soccer in a downtown setting like Portland and Seattle.

I saw the Whitecaps in training in Arizona and never saw Eric Hassli because he was signed this month. Two goals in the first game was quite a debut. I remember coach Teitur Thordarson telling me that the scorers would be on the club when it counted, in response to criticism about how the Whitecaps would score goals and with whom.

It’s only one game, but you can’t argue that the Whitecaps scored, plentifully. And Hassli paid immediate dividends as a designated player.

Loved the fans tossing ponchos onto the field in joy, and also that one of my favorite players, Toronto FC’s Dwayne DeRosario, scored the 8,000th goal in MLS history.

Two Whitecaps who did some good things in Arizona games, Terry Dunfield and Davide Chiumiento, made big plays in the game as well. Dunfield score and celebrated with the fans like a Lambeau Leap, and Chiumiento was running the show out there with great assists.

You have to give the Whitecaps’ front office for finding those guys. No matter how the team does this year, March 19 will always be special to the team, the fans and the city.

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