AFTN’s Vancouver Whitecaps End Of Season Awards – 2016 (Part Two)

AFTN’s Vancouver Whitecaps End Of Season Awards – 2016 (Part Two)

We brought you Part One of our 2016 AFTN awards on Tuesday, covering the first dozen categories. Today we bring you the final 12 awards.

Don’t agree with some (or all) of our choices? Great! Let us know who would have got your votes in the comments below.

And don’t forget you can also catch up with our choices from previous years:

2011 awards / 2012 awards / 2013 awards / 2014 awards / 2015 awards



WINNER: GARRET KUSCH ON MEXICAN PITCH INVADER (Canada v Mexico 25/03/16) – Well we never thought we’d be giving this award to Vancouver Whitecaps’ team chiropractor! But how could you not after his stunning takedown of a Mexican fan who invaded the pitch after Mexico’s 3-0 win over Canada in the World Cup qualifier at BC Place? What an amazing tackle. A gore Rhino would be proud of in WWE. He also maybe had a new client after it all as well.

Runner-up: Kendall Waston on Dairon Asprilla (at Portland 22/05/16) – We should probably give a nod to an actual Whitecaps player too and when it comes to big tackles this season, Kendall Waston was at the forefront of them. We could have gone for his sliding tackle that won the ball and broke the foot of Gyasi Zardes down in LA in August, but instead we’re going to go for his flying tackle on the Timbers’ Dairon Asprilla after the final whistle had sounded down in Portland. It was a great challenge. Won the ball nice and clean! Did he hear the final whistle? Who knows? Who cares?! Well DisCo did of course with their subsequent ban, but it just adds to the rivalry and niggle between the two teams and that’s excellent in our book (that’s AFTN’s Big Book of Being A Dirty Bastard btw).

2015 winner: Matias Laba (at Montreal 12/08/15)
2014 winner: Matias Laba (Home v Dallas 4/10/14)
2013 winner: Nigel Reo-Coker (at San Jose) {new award that year}



– No one miss wins the award this season, but an astonishing seven chances that went a-begging. All in the same game. Erik Hurtado’s performance against New York Red Bulls brings home the award. Seven shots, none of them on target, including a couple of absolute horror misses. And not for the first or last time during the season. It left you wondering just how many mirrors had poor Erik broken. He started to put the ball in the net again soon after. Is the curse broken? I guess we’ll find out next season, but we already have our suspicions as to the answer, but if the Cubs can do it, then who knows?

Erik Hurtado Miss Vancouver

2015 winner: Kekuta Manneh (at San Jose 03/10/05)
2014 winner: Darren Mattocks (Lifetime Achievement award)
2013 winner: Nigel Reo-Coker (v Columbus) {new award}



WINNER: THE FABIAN ESPINDOLA CLUSTERFUCK – When it rains, it pours, and for the ‘Caps this was a shitstorm. Hailed by Carl Robinson as “another piece of the puzzle”, it turned out the Argentine forward was actually a piece for a completely different jigsaw altogether. One that wasn’t to be found in Vancouver. The ‘Caps had courted him for two years we were told. He’d be a difference maker and the ideal replacement for Octavio Rivero to revitalise the season. It seems no-one bothered to ask Espindola if he was ok with all that. He wasn’t.

He didn’t want to uproot his family, including his newborn baby, for a short term deal in Canada and refused to come. Then the spin kicked in. We were told he was sought after by a Mexican side instead, who came in with an offer Vancouver couldn’t refuse. So off he went, the ‘Caps made a profit (which was considerably more than many thought), and the goalscorer hole remained in the squad and was never filled, costing the Whitecaps a playoff place. Who says midseason trades never work out?

Fabian Espindola

2015 winner: Playoff blanks
2014 winner: The Camilo Saga
2013 winner: Jun Marques Davidson’s headbutt against Philadelphia
2012 winner: Failure to beat TFC in three games
2011 winner: The Empire grass pitch debacle



WINNER: THE CONTINUING GOALSCORING WOES – Octavio Rivero leaving was the right decision. Six months too late, but right none the less. Masato Kudo was brought in during the offseason and, horror injury aside, didn’t do what it said on the tin. Blas Perez was also brought in as depth, and was then hardly used. But we did have Erik Hurtado…

The Whitecaps now head into the third straight offseason saying that the priority is a striker. After three straight years of that you would think that the message would be simple – spend some money to get a proven goalscorer and then your never-ending search may be over for a while.

The biggest disgrace is that something wasn’t done in the summer when Rivero left. Even a short term plug to save the season.

They tried with Fabian Espindola, but as covered above, we all saw what a clusterfuck that ended up being. Then we got Giles Barnes instead. A good MLS player, but also one who had barely scored in the league outside of Houston. He added two goals in the final game of the season and that was it. Two memorable, Cascadia Cup winning goals, but still, too little too late.

In the 17 games from July to October after Rivero left, half the season, the ‘Caps were kept off the scoresheet in nine of them, including a killer spell of six games from seven in August and September. That in itself is a disgrace and a huge reason the team are now away relaxing with their families.


2015 winner: MLS scheduling
2014 winner: Late “fans”
2013 winner: Losing the Voyageurs Cup by not having a man on the post
2012 winner: Sekeres and Price for reaction to “Fuck You Dallas” chant
2011 winner: TV coverage



WINNER: THE STANDARD OF REFEREEING – I’m just going to have to keep this in place every year now it would appear. How can it be getting worse? Do I even need to say any more about it and the moronic DisCo? The thing that baffles me most out of it all is that PRO haven’t been done under the Trade Descriptions Act, as they come across as an unprofessional shambles. Well depending on who you are and what team you play for.

David Ousted v PRO refs

2015 winner: The standard of refereeing (for the triple crown!)
2014 winner: The standard of refereeing (back from the dead!)
2013 winner: Transparency of rules
2012 and 2011 winner: The standard of refereeing



WINNER: THE CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL ENDING – Shock. Horror. Disbelief. Incredulity. All apt words to describe the feelings emanating from BC Place after the closing seconds of the Canadian Championship final in June. As big a WTF moment as you’re likely to get as a Whitecaps fan. Hopefully.

It had been a fantastic performance from Vancouver. Two goals up on the night after second half strikes from Nicolas Mezquida and Tim Parker to overturn Toronto’s first leg advantage. The seconds were ticking down, but youthful enthusiasm seemed to get the better of the team and they kept surging forward looking for another. But with seconds remaining, back to back Voyageurs Cup looked be heading to Vancouver. Then a hopeful ball was played into the box, David Ousted came to collect it, got into a muddle with Kendall Waston, the ball spilled, and Will Johnson was on hand to fire home the 95th minute Cup winner. Stunner.

Wow. Devastating stuff, which the ‘Caps never recovered from. They only had three wins in MLS for the remainder of the year. It hurt hard.


2015: Pa Modou Kah collecting medal on a hoverboard
2014 winner: Nigel Reo-Coker’s wanking gesture on national TV
2013 winner: Three goals in 140 seconds in Caps v Portland match
2012 winner: Darren Mattocks aerial goal in Toronto
2011 winner: Eric Hassli’s double jersey sending off celebration



WINNER: KEI KAMARA – We thought about giving this award to Fabian Espindola as well, but the biggest loss of the season was Kei Kamara. Or was it? The ‘Caps are still adamant that they were never in the mix to bring the striker to Vancouver, which begs the other question of “why the hell not?” in that case.

Was Kamara ever going to be heading to Vancouver? Did the ‘Caps show interest? Was a trade for Octavio Rivero in the works? All we know is that Kamara was told that he was coming here and he was open to coming here (we have seen DMs from him telling someone that). Was someone giving him wrong info to drive up his value? That we’ll never know for certain, but if the ‘Caps had moved and opened the purse strings, who knows what we’d all be looking forward to this coming weekend.

Kei Kamara Vancouver Whitecaps

2015 winner: Dario Zanatta
2014 winner: The missing link – a new striker (sound familiar?!!)
2013 winner: Alain Rochat
2012 winner: John Carew
2011 winner: Robbie Savage



WINNER: DAVID OUSTED – “If you want to fight on a football pitch, how about fighting on a fucking Saturday” – The hands down winner. Everything was just so right about this one and it was so hard to disagree. Ousted’s training pitch clash with Pedro Morales was a fantastic thing to see play out. It was just a shame it took so long to come to a public head. It did light a fire under Morales at least, as his cracker against Portland then showed. Certainly doesn’t appear to be much love lost between the pair. Very different characters. I know which one I prefer to have at the club.


2015 winner: Russell Teibert – “It’ll be a match up with 11 men, all humans”
2014 winner: Andy O’Brien – “They keep chanting my name for some reason. I don’t know why it is!”
2013 winner: Nigel Reo-Coker’s comments on Dallas’ divers
2012 winner: none awarded
2011 winner: Tommy Soehn – “It doesn’t take much to turn a team around”



WINNER: ALL THE “WE’RE A YOUNG TEAM” TALK – Whenever things go wrong for the ‘Caps, or mistakes are made, a few lines are trotted out on a regular basis. One of those is that the ‘Caps are a young team. It’s also been said that the ‘Caps have the youngest squad in MLS. One the one hand, the likes of the former 15-year-old Alphonso Davies, and young guns like Marco Bustos, Marco Carducci, and Kianz Froese, certainly take down the average age of the squad considerably. All well and good, except for the fact that the last three don’t really get MLS minutes.

WFC2 is a young team. They’ve played a load of teenagers this past season and Alan Koch has done wonders with them. The MLS team though, they’re not so young. We’ve all been programmed to think that they are as an easy way to write of mistakes, losses, and failures (we hold our hands up to being guilty of this), but as the following tweet from Jeff Carlisle demonstrates, when you take the average age of MLS teams weighted on actual minutes played, the ‘Caps come in at 27.3 years old and are actually the 7th youngest side in the league, with three of the teams younger that us reaching the playoffs. So let’s just shut up talking about that “young team” angle for a while and look to the other, real reasons that the ‘Caps aren’t a successful side at the moment. And it’s not down to age and youthful inexperience.

2015 winner: Pointless journalism and click bait sites
2014 winner: People wanting the ‘Caps to open the upper tier
2013 winner: Media who can’t grasp concept of football decisions being made above the manager
2012 winner: Old media fuddy duddies who just don’t get football crowds
2011 joint winners: Poor TV commentators



ERIK HURTADO’S SILVER SURFER LOOK – We’re saying Silver Surfer to be kind. It was more the Granny look. I know Messi went with the grey hair later on in the year (copying Erik? His Copa penalty seemed to say so), but it’s just not right. Not right at all. Plus it just leaves yourself open to getting messages from Wayne Rooney. But all jokes aside, it takes some balls to pull off that look, so kudos to Erik for that and that’s why he’s picking up this year’s award.


2015 winner: Christian Dean’s Bride of Frankenstein streak
2014 winner: Russell Teibert’s Playoff special
2013 winner: Tommy Heinemann’s Werewolf look
2012 winner: Greg Klazura’s Shaven Locks
2011 winner: Eric Hassli’s Mohawk



WINNER: RUSSELL TEIBERT – So just what is Teibert’s worth to the Whitecaps right now? His guaranteed salary would say it’s $182,500. His agent deserves some massive kudos for getting that one for his client. On a footballing level, Teibert currently offers the Whitecaps some solid depth at times of need, but nothing more than that. He’s not a starter, but he’s on a starter’s salary. He also offers very little offensively and seems to have lost all of his attacking game, as we’ve discussed so many times before. That’s amounted to eight starts and 11 appearances in total in MLS this season. There’s been his injuries, but he is not a player worth his salary. The ‘Caps can get so much more, for so much less, and Teibert’s continuation at the club is blocking Ben McKendry’s pathway (who also offers much more in his game for a $52,500 salary). If Teibert wasn’t Canadian, he’d have been gone years ago. His salary and status smacks more of being a PR exercise than anywhere near his true worth. He may not count towards the salary cap (for now) but there’s no getting away from the clear fact that it’s a waste and he needs to move on for the best for both parties.


2015 winner: The ‘Caps ill thought out Cascadia Cup scarves
2014 winner: Nigel Reo-Coker
2013 winner: Darren Mattocks
2012 winner: Kenny Miller
2011 winner: The Empire grass pitch



WINNER: PETER WALTON – We had a few people in mind for this one, with Alexi Lalas making a late run for the award after a string off annoying appearances on commentary and various comment about American soccer of late, but we’re giving it to an Englishman instead, Peter Walton. Very fitting since the award is named after another one of his countrymen.

Now we’ll admit that Walton doesn’t have an easy time of it as the most annoying one of his clan since John Boy. The evening “good night” call around in that Waltons household must involve some sobbing. As the general manager of the Professional Referees Organisation (PRO), he gets the brunt of everyone’s abuse for the constant cock ups of his officials, but when he comes out and says that PRO have “better referees than the majority of countries around the world” then he’s talking out of his ass.
He’ll be hard pressed to find many that have watched the past season of MLS matches in agreement. In fact during the Whitecaps Champions League run, the chatter around how nice it was to have proper referees in games was rampant. And these are CONCACAF officials we’re talking about FFS! He’s made other comments around how it’s the players and managers that need to change and not his refs.

With all this in mind, he wins this year’s award and we’d like to dedicate the following song to him. Just change the name.

2015 winner: Those wanting the upper bowl opened
2014 winner: Omar Salgado and his string of apologies for his attitude
2013 winner: Darren Mattocks’ Jamaican TV interview
2012 winner: Media pundits disrespecting Caps achievement in reaching playoffs
2011 winner: Paul Barber


And that’s the end of our 2016 awards. Share your thoughts on the award winners below. Who knows what next year will bring? Hopefully more success for starters!

Authored by: Michael McColl

There are 2 comments for this article
  1. Cam at 13:00

    Techera a top 5 highest paid player ($350k-ish) and barely saw the field? Surely that’s a biggest waste than Rusty.

  2. Michael McColl Author at 13:45

    If it hadn’t have been for his goals and performances in the Champions League then he definitely would have been in with a shout, but he almost single-handedly got us through to the quarter finals.

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