Tag Archives: Aaryn Vivian

Cup Capitulation: Round 2

Aaryn Vivian - Vancouver Whitecaps/mlsfemale
Official Vancouver Whitecaps Reporter

By Aaryn Vivian // @aarynvivian

It’s been a tough few months in Whitecaps-land.  With a record of 3-3-1 in MLS league play since the beginning of August, things don’t seem terribly dire on paper, but with the Vancouver Whitecaps currently sitting in 7th place in the West, it will be a nail-biter for the Supporters during the last six matches of the season while they await results from around the league to determine whether the Whitecaps make it into the 2018 playoffs.

The last eight matches have provided both unbelievably heart-wrenching lows and spectacular highs. From a déjà vu-inducing equalizing own goal from Doneil Henry in dying seconds in the home leg of the Voyageurs Cup against Toronto FC and a 5-2 shellacking at BMO Field that saw Toronto hoist the V-Cup for the third time in as many seasons, to a hard-fought 3 points won at Providence Park against Cascadian rivals, the Portland Timbers, and an epic 3-2 come-from-behind win in San Jose during the first of back-to-back fixtures against the Quakes, the Whitecaps may need to start printing a warning on their tickets for people with heart conditions.

The #RobboIn and #RobboOut camps have been out in full force this season, and the last few weeks have been no exception. There were rumblings in August that anything less than hoisting the Voyageurs Cup would seal Carl Robinson’s fate as Vancouver’s manager; however, the Alphonso Davies deal may have bought the gaffer his job until the end of the 2018 season.  Heading into Cascadia derby weekend, Robinson was quoted as saying, “There’ll be freshness in the game, as with all derbies. Whenever you play Seattle or Portland there’ll be energy, mistakes, wrong decisions, and it’ll be down to the players as to who will win the game,”* a quote which hasn’t sat well with Caps’ fans.

This past Saturday, Seattle Sounders visited BC Place for one of Caps fans’ favourite weekends of the year: Cascadia derby weekend.  For these matches, calendars have usually been cleared for months and the supporters’ pubs are fully booked with day-long reservations.  But this year was different.  With an abbreviated Cascadia schedule due to the addition of Los Angeles FC to the Western Conference, the Caps found themselves playing Seattle and Portland only twice this season. 

These matches should have meant that much more yet the apathy Vancouver has been experiencing all year long continued to grow.  The Supporters pubs were eerily quiet and events around match day were wholly uneventful.  Fortunately, the lower bowl at BC Place was still sold out and there was a lot at stake: with a draw or a win, Seattle wins the coveted Cascadia Cup. 

The first half saw two Seattle goals with Raúl Ruidíaz scoring for the Sounders in the 21st and 42nd minute.  The Caps were able to claw back a goal with an incredible header from Kei Kamara but ultimately, the Caps fell short and the final score was 2-1 Seattle.

In terms of “worst case scenario” this was it for two of the three Cascadian teams as the Portland Timbers sent representatives to Vancouver to hand off the Cascadia Cup to the 2018 champions, the Seattle Sounders.

There is still ample opportunity over the next six weeks to make a smash-and-grab run at one of the Western Conference playoff spots but, as Robbo so aptly put it, it’ll be on the players on the pitch to want it enough to bring home as many of the available 18 points as possible.

Featured image: @WhitecapsFC

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @aarynvivian

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The scoop on Alphonso Davies

Aaryn Vivian - Vancouver Whitecaps/mlsfemale
Official Vancouver Whitecaps Reporter

By Aaryn Vivian // @aarynvivian

Shortly after 11am PT this morning, the Vancouver Whitecaps announced that they had completed the record-breaking transfer of homegrown midfielder Alphonso Davies to Bayern Munich, ending days of intense speculation about the 17-year-old wonder kid. 

According to the Whitecaps’ media release, the deal itself contains “a fixed transfer fee and additional compensation that could total more than $22 million US, the most ever received by an MLS club in the league’s 23-year history.”  Davies will remain with the Whitecaps until the end of the 2018 MLS season then will head to Bayern Munich in January 2019 when the international transfer window re-opens.

Of concern to many Caps’ fans and supporters is where the record-breaking transfer fee is going to go. At the recent Supporters’ Town Hall, Whitecaps co-owner, Jeff Mallett, shocked attendees with the information that the $2M US transfer fee obtained from Chilean side Colo-Colo for striker Octavio Rivero in 2016 had already been spent.

Mallett stated the money had been reinvested into the club, but for a side who has fallen to the lower half of league spending on players, this answer seemed unacceptable to supporters. In the team’s media release today, Mallet did indicate that “Our ownership group is committed to investing 100 percent of the funds back into the sporting side of the club” and there is little doubt the supporters intend to hold Whitecaps ownership accountable to that statement.

Today is a day Vancouver supporters have both been eagerly awaiting and utterly dreading. For those who spent sunny Sundays watching 15-year-old “Phonzie” at WFC2 matches out at Thunderbird Stadium, located on the University of British Columbia (UBC) campus, to seeing his meteoric rise in the MLS, the moment is bittersweet.

So many of the supporters’ hopes for the Whitecaps team were on the shoulders of Alphonso Davies, and after what can only be called a frustrating season on the pitch, many are wondering where the organization goes next. For now, they have a few months to figure out how to say “Farewell Phonzie”.

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Reference for Whitecaps media release:  https://www.whitecapsfc.com/post/2018/07/25/whitecaps-fc-agree-mls-record-breaking-transfer-homegrown-midfielder-alphonso-davies

Featured image: @WhitecapsFC

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @aarynvivian

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Two trophies. Three matches. Ten days. Whitecaps.

Aaryn Vivian - Vancouver Whitecaps/mlsfemale
Official Vancouver Whitecaps Reporter

By Aaryn Vivian // @aarynvivian

The Vancouver Whitecaps‘ woes continued this weekend as they headed down the I-5 to face off against Cascadian rivals, the Seattle Sounders. Going into the first derby week of the 2018 season, and having lost four out of their last five matches, and dropping to what many consider their “rightful place” at 8th in the MLS West standings, the Caps needed a strong performance to keep their season, and hopes for bringing the Cascadia Cup home, alive.

Overshadowing one of the Whitecaps’ biggest clashes of the season came breaking news that 17-year-old home-grown sensation Alphonso Davies would not suit up for this match and that a transfer to Bayern Munich was imminent. All eyes were on “Phonzie” as the rumour mill had him set to break the MLS record for transfer fees and do it well ahead of his 18th birthday on November 2nd.

As for the match itself, the Caps struggled with their second new lineup of the week. An early penalty awarded to the Sounders as a result of a handball in the box from Doneil Henry sent Seattle up 1-0 in the 4th minute.  Nicolás Lodeiro scored his second of the match in the 32′, sending a shot from distance past Stefan Marinovic, who has seemed to struggle since his return from injury on Wednesday in the Voyageurs Cup semi-finals where the Caps fell 1-0 to Montreal.

Discipline has been an ongoing issue with this Whitecaps side and that became ever apparent when, at 2-0 down, Caps’ midfielder Efraín Juárez took a yellow card in the 77′ for a challenge on double goal scorer Lodeiro. In a reaction Vancouver fans have become all too familiar with this season, Juárez lost his cool and charged at match official Chris Penso, bumping chests as they came face to face, which resulted in the midfielder being dealt an automatic red card.  Juárez has since apologized to both the Whitecaps organization and the supporters, but many think the damage is already done and his time in Blue & White should be over.

The Caps face off against Montreal in the home leg of the Voyageurs Cup semi-finals with Montreal visiting BC Place this Wednesday.  The organization has stated that one of their main goals this season is to bring both the Voyageurs Cup and the Cascadia Cup back home to Vancouver; two trophies on the line, three matches in 10 days and to date, zero goals to show for it. It’s safe to say Carl Robinson’s head is once again on the chopping block and if the Whitecaps fail to score at home and defeat Montreal to advance to the Voyageurs Cup Final, this may be the Welsh manager’s swan song.

In previous years, the Vancouver supporters used to plan their year’s travel schedules around these #CapsOnTour trips but the 2018 Caps’ season has left so many disenchanted about the team’s future, that less than one-third of available tickets were sold in the away supporters section at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.  The Whitecaps are losing the battle to apathy amongst the Vancouver supporters. 

Now, with Alphonso Davies unofficially set to make his exit from Vancouver, one has to wonder what the supporters have to hold onto now that their home-grown hope has vanished. 

Featured image: @SJFinlay

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @aarynvivian

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“O’CanaDUH” in Vancouver

Aaryn Vivian - Vancouver Whitecaps/mlsfemale
Official Vancouver Whitecaps Reporter

By Aaryn Vivian // @aarynvivian

To say it’s been a trying few months to be a Vancouver Whitecaps supporter would be a bit of an understatement. After falling 6-0 to Sporting Kansas City on April 20th, a loss that led to their supporters to “Demand Better”, the Caps appeared to finally be finding their footing, going 3-1-4, scoring 16 goals (2nd in the MLS), creating 95 chances (most in the MLS), and 2 MLS Player of the Week honours (Techera & Davies) with 6 matches unbeaten (including back-to-back wins.) The supporters were starting to let their guard down, the fiery pitchfork-wielding anger from April far off in the distance.

Then the Whitecaps reminded us just how quickly things can change.

On June 23rd, the Philadelphia Union put 4 unanswered goals past an undisciplined Whitecaps side, a side that, for the second time this season, was down to 9 men before the final whistle was blown. The glaring discipline issues this team has been rife with all season were once again highlighted for the entire league to see. The calls for #RobboOut were back with a vengeance, coming fast and furious on social media and had many wondering what the Supporters’ Town Hall, scheduled for Tuesday, June 26th, was going to hold.

The Supporters’ Town Hall was born out of the “We Demand Better” statement released in April 2018. In response to the statement, the Whitecaps front office had asked what they could do for the supporters. While there were many ways that question could have been answered, the first step became a Town Hall that would see the Caps’ brass come out to the Southsiders’ supporters pub and answer questions from members of the three Vancouver SGs: the Southsiders, Curva Collective, and Rain City Brigade.

It was a feat in and of itself to have the likes of Club President and Whitecaps legend Bobby Lenarduzzi, Chief Operating Officer Rachel Lewis, Vice President of Soccer Operations Greg Anderson, and of course, Manager Carl Robinson on the panel for this event, but the day before the Philly match, the supporters received word that Jeff Mallett, from the Whitecaps ownership group, had added his name to the list of panelists. For the first time in the MLS era, the Whitecaps supporters would get an audience with the people making the big decisions for their Club and be able to ask the tough questions.

Without going into the nitty-gritty details of the Town Hall, I will say it closed with each panelist offering their rationale for why each supporter should stick with the team, renew their season tickets for next year and continue to chant and cheer themselves hoarse on match days. Then the team went on to lose 1-0 to the Colorado Rapids. On Canada Day. At home. To a team who, until then, had only secured one point on the road this season.

The Whitecaps were without Yordy Reyna and Jose Aja, who were serving their match suspension after taking red cards during the match against Philly, and Cristian Techera who was serving the first of his three-match ban for “offensive, discriminatory language” used during the Union match. It’s difficult to ascertain whether any of those three would have been the difference maker in the Canada Day match because it didn’t matter: the team’s complete lack of discipline had resulted in the Whitecaps dropping a valuable three points yet again.

The pitchforks have been sharpened, the supporters are more displeased (and vocal!) than ever about the direction in which their team is headed and the calls for change rage on.

Rule #1 of the Southsiders is “Always support the Caps” and while the frustration with the Whitecaps organization reaches its boiling point, I encourage our supporters to continue the productive dialogue that began back in April, the one that reaches far beyond #RobboOut and seeks more from the Whitecaps organization as a whole.

Continue to stand and sing for the boys in Blue & White, cheer them on to victory…while holding the organization accountable and demanding better.

Featured image: @WhitecapsFC

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @aarynvivian

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

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