Caps Loss Signals End Of An Era

I was going to write this blog last night, but thought a day of reflection was better than just emotional rambling.

24 hours on and defeat still hurts, as the realisation that it’s now the domestic football offseason for Vancouver Whitecaps and their fans starts to sink in.

Yesterday didn’t just mark the end of the 2010 season of course, it also marked the end of an era. “Division 2” level football is no more for the Caps and Swangard Stadium is no longer the place we will all call home. Our spiritual home since our formation in 1999 has had its last curtain call.

It was a freezing cold early evening by the time things wrapped up. What more could make me feel like I was back at Bayview than losing the feeling in my toes?!

It was a weird feeling leaving Swangard in my Caps garb for what will probably have been my last time, barring any pre season friendlies that the Caps may decide to play there.

I’ll look at the goodbye Swangard aspect later this week in the blog. For now though I want to look at the season that has just finished and the League(s) we’re leaving behind.

The 2010 season can’t really be described as one of excitement. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that there is very little of positive note that we can really take out of it. Even this year’s Voyageurs Cup games were lacklustre due to our defensive strength and our attacking flaws.

The two Portland playoff games were the highlights for me. The first leg for the performance, the second leg for the trip down the I5.

Too many draws. Too many games where we didn’t have any attacking flair. Too many blanks. That’s pretty much the season in my eyes.

Don’t get me wrong. I couldn’t care less if we won every game 1-0 with only one shot on target. Just as long as we won. Which at the end of it all, we didn’t. I’ve watched enough bad football in my lifetime to know that the end result is really what matters. Well that and the fun you have cheering the team on in the process.

I’ll admit it. I went into yesterday’s match not even considering the fact that we wouldn’t beat the Islanders. The thought never entered my head as I made various plans for the final permutations. I thought a comfortable afternoon lay ahead but left Swangard feeling that we got what we deserved from the match – nothing.

Having watched today’s highlights, I’ve changed my mind on that one. That game was certainly there for the taking and we created more chances than it seemed we did to me watching it all unfold live. Oh for a decent striker on the field to finish just one of them.

Bill Gaudette had a tremendous game in goal against us once again. Top quality keeper that’s too good for D2 I feel. We didn’t pressure him enough but he was a rock with what we did throw at him.

I thought Caps reject Addlery’s first goal was a bit of a fluke, but having seen it again he placed that perfectly. He looked up quickly and saw Nolly off his line.

Poor play by Philippe Davies in giving the ball away for the second as we pressed for an equaliser saw the end of it as we went down to a 2-0 extra time loss in the semis and my dream of a third Championship final in my three years here were shattered.

End of the season. End of NASL/USL/USSF-D2, or whatever name you want to call the shambles of a League we’ve found ourselves in of late.

Those that know me or have read my blogs will know that I’m not a big MLS fan. Obviously that will have to change and I’ll have to ignore as best as I can all of the things about the League that annoys the hell out of me and pretend it’s really a proper football league after all. At least I’m going to be watching my Club in a League that has professionalism in some aspects.

No more shitty internet feeds of games, when Mr Buffering is all that we can talk about. No more games played on pitches where you can’t work out where the sidelines are becuase of the throwball markings. No visits to markets where they couldn’t get a football crowd of four figures out regularly.

Best of all though, the chance to take in around five away games with relative ease (all things considered, although still no half hour trips like I was used to!).

I love lower league and non league football. I will miss the smalltime of it all and the intimacy of the surroundings and feeling a real part of it all. No matter how hard we try, we will lose part of that in the move to the “major league”.

Onwards and upwards though. We can’t look back, only forward. MLS beckons. One era is over but another is just about to begin and I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say we wouldn’t miss it for the world.

Mon the Caps.

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