Whitecaps need better results to convert casual fans 0
Oct 27, 2013; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Russell Teibert (31) marks Colorado Rapids defender Chris Klute (15) during the first half at BC Place. (Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports)
The Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2013 Major League Soccer season finished in fine fashion this past weekend. Unfortunately, it was a bittersweet finish for the ‘Caps, who missed the MLS playoffs.
Here’s a look back at some of the good, the bad and the ugly from the season on and off the pitch.
How better to start than Camilo Sanvezzo winning the Golden Boot in phenomenal fashion – a hat trick – in the final match of the season. Rookie sensation Kekuta Manneh introduced himself to MLS in exciting fashion, while Russell Teibert proved that Canadians can play in the league and develop through the team’s system. Winning the Cascadia Cup was a nice bonus this season.
Off the field, the Whitecaps scored a winner in a marketing campaign that “tattooed” the players’ faces with fans, scenery and monuments of Vancouver. It was a unique idea that caught the attention of many.
While winning the Cascadia Cup was nice, the ‘Caps failed to win something truly meaningful, like the Amway Canadian Championship, a trophy that has eluded Vancouver since before joining MLS.
Darren Mattocks boldly predicted he would score 20 goals in 2013; instead the speedy Jamaican got just three.
In the stands, the Whitecaps have been relatively stagnant. While the team continues to be one of the better-attended clubs in the league, increasing attendance in 2013 by over 2% to just over 20,000, the club still hasn’t caught up to their opening season attendance figures.
The Whitecaps did meet their 2011 sellout record of seven in 2013, up from five in 2012, but continue to fail at converting casual fans to regular ticket holders.
The Whitecaps say they want to model the club after Seattle Sounders FC — whose average attendance has grown each year. After starting at just over 31,000 in year one, the Sounders averaged over 44,000 five years later. Something is definitely missing and needs fixing in Vancouver.
Constant injuries to centre backs was a big issue this season, but missing the MLS post-season after a second half meltdown for the second straight year is not acceptable for a club that wants to be exceptional.
In 2014, the Whitecaps can only hope that the only ugly item of the list will be the cleaning bill for the party after they win MLS Cup.
Tyler is a freelance soccer reporter covering Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Canadian National Teams. Follow Tyler on twitter at @tylergreenfc.