To quote The Blue Nile, one of Scotland’s finest bands of the 80’s and 90’s:
“It’s over now. I know it’s over now. But I can’t let go.”
Vancouver Whitecaps inaugural MLS season is done and dusted.
Obviously it’s not been what we’d hoped or expected, and we’ll do a full season review later, but that’s not going to put us off from having AFTN CANADA’s inaugural “End of Season Awards” !
You might not agree with some (or all!) of them. Great! That’s one of the joys of football. Everyone has an opinion. Share yours in the comments below!
AFTN WHITECAPS PLAYER OF THE SEASON :
WINNER: CAMILO DA SILVA SANVEZZO – Who knows how bad we’d have been if we hadn’t had his goals these last few months. Will be amazed if he’s still plying his trade with us in MLS next season.
2nd: Joe Cannon – A dressing room leader, who isn’t afraid to speak as he sees it and has turned in some game-saving and score-reducing performances. We need a character like him with us next season.
3rd: Eric Hassli – Spectacular goals and spectacular sending offs. Sadly when he was off his game, the whole team suffered, but when he was on it, he was magnifique. Also an amazing love for the city and the fans, epitomised by spending over an hour signing autographs for the fans after yesterday’s game.
AFTN WHITECAPS YOUNG PLAYER OF THE SEASON :
WINNER: CALEB CLARKE – From looking nervy when coming on as sub in the first PDL game this year, he has come on leaps and bounds and looks like he could make the jump to the MLS squad.
2nd: Long Tan – Worked very hard in the Reserves and PDL to prove his doubters, myself included, wrong.
3rd: Gershon Koffie – Not the finished product yet, and not as good as many make out, but has developed well in the middle this season. Needs to work on his shooting.
AFTN’S WHITECAPS TO WATCH :
WINNER: CALEB CLARKE – Looks like he might be something special.
2nd: Ben Fisk – Already a fan favourite.
3rd: Long Tan – Will be interesting to see if he can go on and build on this season’s development or if he has peaked.
WHITECAPS GOAL OF THE SEASON :
WINNER: ERIC HASSLI v SEATTLE (11/6/11) – Kel Surprise. Nuff said.
2nd: Davide Chiumiento v New York Red Bulls (10/9/11) – Beautiful turn, flick up and volley.
3rd: Camilo v Portland (20/8/11) – So many could have made this position but we went for this one due to the lovely turn inside before the shot.
WHITECAPS GAME OF THE SEASON :
WINNER: v KANSAS CITY (2/4/11 – Empire Field) – That stirring three goal comeback, with two stoppage time goals, was one of the most exciting endings I’ve ever witnessed. Empire was literally shaking. I could watch those last three minutes on a loop.
2nd: v Toronto (19/3/11 – Empire Field) – The home opener provided not only the best team performance of the season, but a football atmosphere I never thought I’d experience in Vancouver.
3rd: v Seattle (11/6/11 – The Clink) – The atmosphere, the comeback when it looked like we’d thrown it all away, THAT goal. That’s what derbies are all about.
COACH OF THE YEAR :
WINNER: COLIN MILLER – Best win record of them all!
2nd: RICHARD GROOTSCHOLTEN – Built up a great Residency team and now the U18’s are looking strong in the USSDA.
3rd: TEITUR THORDARSON – Would he have turned it around? We don’t think so, but at least it wouldn’t have felt as bad with some charisma in charge.
Footnote – Tommy Soehn finished below the buses that took the fans down to the Seattle and Portland games.
BEST AWAYDAY :
WINNER: PORTLAND – The friendly welcome will never become tiring. Add in a great matchday atmosphere, a double header with the Reserves and the wonderful Oregon coast to stay at, and you’ll always have a winner.
2nd: VICTORIA HIGHLANDERS – A trip I never made, but am assured by those that did that this is an epic trip not to miss in future.
3rd: SEATTLE – A pain in the ass with the pre and post match regulations for away fans but Hassli’s goal and the overall atmosphere helped to override this.
MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT :
WINNER: THE EMPIRE GRASS PITCH – The loss of reputation and goodwill by that temporary pitch disaster will long be remembered.
2nd: Finishing Bottom – No team has the right to success. No team deserves it. Our history, and pre-season bravado, makes us expect better than a last placed finish though.
3rd: No Away Wins – A lot of teams struggle on the road but to secure no wins whatsoever was pitiful. Fans spent thousands to watch some of the worst Caps displays of the season.
DISGRACE OF THE SEASON :
WINNER: TV COVERAGE BY SPORTSNET – The station disrespected the Whitecaps and MLS by treating them as second class citizens compared to their baseball coverage. Why bid for the rights to the games if you’re going to delay them and treat the sport terribly? Even worse when you consider that the channel is the official media partner of the Caps.
2nd: Giving Peter Vagenas Wes Knight’s Shirt Number – The jersey was still warm FFS. A completely pointless act that late in the season, in what appeared to be nothing more than a kick in the teeth to both Wes and his fans.
Joint 3rd: Uniglobe – They shouldn’t have been given the Cascadia away ticket allocation to handle in the first place, but once they got it they fucked it up big time for many, ourselves included.
Joint 3rd: PNE Security – Some of the guys were alright, but my worst overall security experience in 28 years of watching live football around the world.
HERO OF THE YEAR :
WINNER: JOE CANNON – For not being afraid to speak his mind and tell some home truths. Putting $1000 behind the bar at Oscars as a thank you for the fans was something you don’t see from many professional footballers these days.
2nd: Peter Schaad – The voice of the Caps has had to travel to watch all those away performances. Poor Pete. We owe him a scotch.
3rd: Martin Rennie – He’s given us some hope and something to look forward to next year. No pressure then!
VILLAIN OF THE YEAR :
WINNER: TOMMY SOEHN – A man who split the fans. You either disliked him or loathed him.
2nd: Baldomero Toledo – The whistle blower who could have caused a Vancouver riot before the Stanley Cup series after his performance in the New England game. Surprisingly not as appalling yesterday!
3rd: Nevio Pizzolito – I’d spit in his eye, but he might get in first. Would have won the ‘Wanker of the Year’ category if we had one.
THINGS WE’D LOVE MLS TO CHANGE :
WINNER: THE STANDARD OF REFEREEING – You think you’ve seen some of the worst referees in the world, then along comes MLS.
2nd: More emphasis on the regular season – I’d personally go single table and get rid of the playoffs altogether. Not going to happen, so, if we’re going that way, we need less playoff spots, not more, or regular season is simply undervalued.
3rd: Games being called off if three or more players away on international duty – It’s common sense and would actually add to the spectacle and quality of the league. Fully recognizing CONCACAF international dates would also be the way forward.
QUOTE OF THE YEAR :
WINNER: TOMMY SOEHN – He doesn’t say much we want to listen to but he wins for this delusion: ”It doesn’t take much to turn a team around“
THE WILLIE JOHNSTON “DID THAT JUST REALLY HAPPEN” AWARD :
WINNER: ERIC HASSLI – For his double jersey sending off celebration.
Runner Up: Having to borrow jerseys from the fans in San Jose – and there we thought Los Angeles was the California home of all things Mickey Mouse.
THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY AWARD :
WINNER: ROBBIE SAVAGE – People raised doubts as to what someone of his age would bring to MLS and the Caps. As it turned out, his bite was just what we lacked in midfield. Koffie would have learned so much. Not sure how many games suspension he would have had mind you.
THE “PLEASE JUST SHUT UP” AWARD :
WINNERS: TV COMMENTATORS – They may have been super nice to the Southsiders on yesterday’s broadcast, but they were painful to listen to, when Sportsnet actually choose to show the game and not bump it for baseball that is.
HAIRCUT OF THE YEAR :
WINNER: ERIC HASSLI’S MOHAWK – He really should have continued to grow it in instead of the weird neck beard look he then went for.
THE MUSTAPHA JARJU “WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY” AWARD :
WINNER: THE EMPIRE GRASS PITCH – A pointless expense for a pointless game.
THE PAUL BARBER “TALKING OUT OF YOUR ASS” AWARD :
WINNER: PAUL BARBER – Cor blimey guvnor. He’s only been and gone and won the award we’ve named after him. Full of gusto, and what proved to be false hopes, before the season started. He’s great at responding to emails from supporters, I’ll give him that. Unfortunately when he addresses criticisms there’s always apprently more people saying the opposite to the criticism being levied.
FAN CHANT/SONG/BATTLE CRY OF THE YEAR :
WINNER: BOOM! – Not exactly a song or a chant, but the hissing and the boom at Joe Cannon’s goal kicks have been a hoot with the BC Place roof. I doff my hat at whoever came up with that one.
THE “PLEASE STOP MY SIDES ARE ACHING” AWARD :
WINNER: THE PDL GAME v NORTH SOUND SEAWOLVES – You’re not going to get many games where you can chant about secret police, orphans and Nicolae Ceausescu. You had to be there…
THE “PREPARATION H” AWARD :
WINNER: MUSTAPHA JARJU – If he hasn’t got hemorrhoids from sitting on cold benches then he’s definitely going to have splinters up his highly paid ass.
BROMANCE OF THE YEAR :
WINNERS: TOMMY SOEHN and PETER VAGENAS – Those after match embraces are just so touching.
AWARD FOR HAVING THE BROWNEST HANDS :
WINNER: PAUL BARBER – No surprise since he’s been polishing a turd all year.
THE SCUM OF THE YEAR AWARD :
WINNERS: MONTREAL IMPACT – we should just call this the Montreal Impact award since they’ll win it every year.
SONG TO SUM UP THE SEASON :
So many to pick from, but we’re going with one that summed up most of our Saturday evenings…
WINNER: “NATIONAL SHITE DAY” BY HALF MAN HALF BISCUIT – Click HERE to hear it.
Mon the Caps.