THE WHITECAPS HAVE BEEN QUIETLY RISING FOR YEARS.
Real Salt Lake is a trendy pick to win the Western Conference. Their humiliating defeat to LAFC made them less sexy. There's a team in Southwest Canada who has been playing good soccer since 2012.
The Vancouver Whitecaps have been in the playoff four times from 2012 to 2017. Martin Rennie led the Whitecaps to their first postseason. Current boss Carl Robinson has created an attacking philosophy in Vancouver when he was hired in 2013.
Vancouver can't be labeled as trendy. They're the underground kings of MLS. The Caps don't get the mainstream publicity like their cross-country rival Toronto FC. The soccer nerds realized their quiet success for some time.
Three games is enough to climb on the Whitecaps. You want to look cool when they're in first place in the West, right. To sound cool, mention Costa Rican Internatinal Centerback Kandall Waston.
Watson and fellow center back Aaron Maund patrolled a two man backline for Vancouver to attack a disicipled Montreal defense in their home opener. The first half was a defensive standoff. The possession was even with 51% to 49% going to the Impact.
The highlight of the first stanza was Kendall's bicycle kick save to prevent a goal. Alphonso Davies was on the summit in the second half. Davies assisted on a header goal from Kei Kamara and scored his first MLS goal.
Don't mention Canadians how great Alphonso can be. They're cautious of the hype like we are with Christian Pulisic. Acknowledging Vancouver's emerging into another great Canadian club will get you street cred.
The Whitecaps shown they could send waves of attack letting Davis free to run. The avalanche began on Montreal's offensive left side through the Impact's turnovers. Brek Shea substituted for Davies in the 81st minute. Shea was in Alphonso's position. Those who watched the match saw the promise of Davies and the disenchantment of Brek.
Vancouver got an immediate test of a big club reputation going down to Houston. The distance and the heat gave way to a hostile Dynamo attack. The Whitecaps only took seven shots all game. Alphonso couldn't get out of his defensive third.
Watson was a presence fending off Houston's crosses for a goal. 45% of the ball was on the Dynamo's attacking third throughout the match. New Zealand International goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic kept Vancouver safe from embarrassment and a 2-1 win.
Brek Shea subbed for an injured Marcel de Jong in the 36th minute. His promise of American Soccer brilliance came on a counterattack created by him on a through ball. Brek's 49th minute goal looked worthy of being in Europe. He couldn't create beauty on a cold and rainy night at Stoke.
Vancouver completed their 2,770.6 mile introduction tour at a disaster in Atlanta. The Vancouver diehards' main attraction, Kendall Watson, got a red card in the 13th minute. The showcase of Southwestern Canada's soccer sensations was halted by the Five Stripes high priced high flyers and a bad lost.
The Los Angeles Galaxy will welcome Vancouver to the Whitecaps' intimate settings this week. The LA headliners wont be there: The Dos Santos Brothers and Joan Pedro. Other important Galaxy star like Perry Kitchen, Chris Pontius, and Michael Ciani might not be available. Vancouver's soccer legend Kendall has international duties.
Los Angeles teams needs stars to win and get noticed. Seattle is old. Real Salt Lake and Mike Petke barely made the playoffs last year.
The West is as wild as last year. The Vancouver Whitecaps may be in first place again with a huge following due to the Whitecaps being a great team.