Much to do in new Whitecaps campaign
Season two for Vancouver Whitecaps FC nears with their first MLS match of the calendar year kicking off in 10 days. It's a new beginning where everything is fresh and exciting. More importantly, no matter how poor the team fared last year, they officially start 2012 undefeated.
With a look ahead to the brand new season, here's what should be on your Whitecaps bucket list:
Home opener versus Montreal Impact FC
The inaugural home opener last year against Toronto FC was unforgettable. Eric Hassli scored the first-ever Whitecaps goal, before adding a second later on while one-time TFC player Dwayne De Rosario scored the league's 8,000th goal. In the end, Vancouver won the exciting match 4-2 and everyone went home entertained. This year, the 'Caps open their season against long-time rival and new expansion side Montreal Impact on March 10. Judging from the heated pre-season meeting between the two teams in Orlando, Fla. last week, expect this year's 'First Kick' to be bigger and better.
Trying to fit a road match into your budget can be difficult, but when it comes to stadium location, city, team and supporters, you can't beat Seattle and Portland. Seattle will wow you with its fantastic crowd of 36,000 dressed in green and holding scarves high, while Portland offers another unique look at the supporter's culture with the always-impressive Timbers' Army. Oregon's lack of a sales tax is an added bonus.
Sitting with the Southsiders
Speaking of supporters, take in a match with Vancouver's own Southsiders. It's a unique viewing experience filled with songs, drink and good times. According to Southsiders president Chris Deal, the group is "the heart and soul of the stands at BC Place." Go for the full experience, starting with the pub, the stadium march, match and post-match festivities. All in all, it will lead to an unforgettably turbo-charged adventure.
See David Beckham and Thierry Henry play
Last season, both superstars missed their team's respective matches in Vancouver, but it's unlikely they won't show again this time around. If they're absent though, at least you can see Beckham's fancy underwear ads scattered throughout the city, so that's a bonus.
Portland Timbers on Oct. 21
Vancouver's only home date with their expansion cousin and Cascadian rival could have huge playoff ramifications. A loss at that point in the season could be disastrous for the 'Caps. A must see.
Amway Canadian Championship versus FC Edmonton on May 9
A Division 2 side isn't as glamourous as say L.A. or New York, but it's a game that almost guarantees seeing the home side win.
I'll enjoy this season of football, and with this to-do list, hopefully you'll have fond experiences as well.
Listen to Tyler Green on TEAM 1040 every Sunday at 9 p.m. He also co-hosts the Whitecaps pre- and post-game show. Follow him on Twitter @tylergreen1040.