All posts by Chris Withers

screen-shot-2013-06-18-at-20847-pm-1200xx1435-807-22-0

Whitecaps Wednesday – Yet More MLS Expansion

Let me tell you a story about soccer, greed and spending outside your means.

Once upon a time, there was a league of soccer teams in North America called the North American Soccer League. (Nobody in 1968 had an imagination, more’s the pity. ) Despite a rocky start, the NASL accomplished quite a bit in a short time. In 1969, the league had only five teams, and an average attendance under 3,000. Only a decade later, the league’s heyday saw 24 teams compete before an average attendance of over 14,000. Five years after that, in 1985, the league was dead. Continue reading

Gershon Koffie assisted on two Whitecaps FC goals in their only defeat of the LA Galaxy: a 3-1 win last season at BC Place. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Preview: Whitecaps at Galaxy

Ah, the home-and-home. Beloved institution of NHL schedule-makers, now being adopted by the demented spider monkeys that determine the Major League Soccer schedule by, one assumes, flinging their faeces at team logos on the wall and seeing what sticks. The Vancouver Whitecaps take to the road this coming Saturday to face the Los Angeles Galaxy at the Stubhub Center before returning home next weekend for a rematch at BC Place.

Gershon Koffie assisted on two Whitecaps FC goals in their only defeat of the LA Galaxy: a 3-1 win last season at BC Place. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Gershon Koffie assisted on two Whitecaps FC goals in their only defeat of the LA Galaxy: a 3-1 win last season at BC Place. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

The Caps have a tall order this weekend. They have yet to manage a single point against the Galaxy on the road, being outscored by a dismal 12-2 in their five losses. This club, at full strength, could likely compete well with the Galaxy, but alas they will not be at full strength.

Continue reading

Nigel Reo-Coker makes a strong move to the edge of the box before feeding Pedro Morales for some late-second half insurance. The Caps won 4-1 over the defending Supporters Shield champ New York Red Bulls. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Whitecaps Wednesday – Musings On The State Of The League

As many of you know, I’m a member of the Vancouver Southsiders’ Board of Directors. As Director of External Communications, I’m responsible for responding to media requests we receive. Last week, I got an email from a young, aspiring journalist who was looking for a supporter’s perspective on the current state of the league.  Continue reading

The Cascadia Cup wears Whitecaps FC, Southsiders and Rain City Brigade scarves (and a Curva Collective shirt for good measure) as it looks over Vancouver, its home for the 2014 MLS season, from a piece of prime Stanley Park Seawall real estate. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

A Day With The Cup

The Cascadia Cup looks upon BC Place, its home for the 2014 MLS season, after Whitecaps FC won the trophy for consistent performance up and down the northwest corridor last season. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

The Cascadia Cup looks upon BC Place, its home for the 2014 MLS season, after Whitecaps FC won the trophy for consistent performance up and down the northwest corridor last season. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

One of the great traditions in all of sport is the NHL’s day with the Cup. After the Stanley Cup is won, each member of the winning team is granted one day to take Lord Stanley’s Mug wherever they choose. Want to have an ice cream party with the kids? Doug Weight did. Rather take it to a peeler bar with the lads? Messier beat you there. Here in Cascadia, we’re working on some traditions of our own surrounding the Cascadia Cup. This Cup, however, was created by fans, and it’s the fans that can request a day with it.

The Cascadia Cup is entering its eleventh season and currently makes its home right here in beautiful British Columbia. Contested by the three Cascadian clubs – the Vancouver Whitecaps, Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers – the Cup was purchased in 2004 by the supporters groups of those three teams and is awarded annually to the best team in the region. Vancouver’s nine points in Cascadia derbies (2W-1L-3D) was good enough to secure them their fourth Cascadia Cup victory. (Seattle and Portland, those suckers, are still stuck on three apiece.)

The Cascadia Cup wears Whitecaps FC, Southsiders and Rain City Brigade scarves (and a Curva Collective shirt for good measure) as it looks over Vancouver, its home for the 2014 MLS season, from a piece of prime Stanley Park Seawall real estate. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

The Cascadia Cup wears Whitecaps FC, Southsiders and Rain City Brigade scarves (and a Curva Collective shirt for good measure) as it looks over Vancouver, its home for the 2014 MLS season, from a piece of prime Stanley Park Seawall real estate. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Unlike most championship trophies, the fans are the keepers of the Cascadia Cup. If the Cup changes hands, representatives of the reigning champions’ supporters groups must turn it over to the winning team’s supporters, who then present the trophy to the team. After that, the supporter groups look after it, bringing it out for Cascadia games to rub in the faces of opposition supporters.

Pucked in the Head’s day with the Cup was a simple excursion through our fair city. We started at False Creek and wound our way through the downtown core to Stanley Park. It was a chance to get some great photos of the Cup, and show off some of the best of what Vancouver has to offer on a gorgeous winter day.

(A big thanks to the Curva Collective’s Zachary Meisenheimer, one of the Whitecaps FC supporters present for the handoff in Portland last season, for joining us, driving round the city, and tying those scarves & shirt so darned nicely for the pics!)

If you have an event that you want the Cup to be present for, get in touch with the Vancouver Southsiders at www.vancouversouthsiders.ca.

Between his amateurish YouTube video and this picture, Jason Kurylo has shed even the appearance of journalistic integrity. Oh well, what were you expecting from a fanboy blogger, anyway? Photo by Zach Meisenheimer for Pucked in the Head.

Between his amateurish YouTube video and this picture, Jason Kurylo has shed even the appearance of journalistic integrity. Oh well, what were you expecting from a fanboy blogger, anyway? Photo by Zach Meisenheimer for Pucked in the Head.

The Vancouver Whitecaps have seen an impressive run of play from young Canadian forward Russell Teibert. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Whitecaps Preseason Roundup

Hi. Remember me? I'm Chris Withers. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Hi. Remember me? I’m Chris Withers. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Hi, I’m Chris.

You may remember me as that guy who used to write things on this site from time to time before inexplicably going away for several months!

I’m back now, having dusted off the ol’ keyboard, and I have opinions about the Whitecaps that I will be relaying to you presently.

(Note: Mr Withers is not only a snazzy dresser and the co-founder of PitH — he’s also pretty active as the Director of External Communications of the single largest Whitecaps FC supporter group there is. So much so, in fact,  that he appeared on a recent episode of From the Backline podcast to discuss the Southside experience.) Continue reading

Camilo scored on a spectacular side scissor kick to pull Vancouver Whitecaps FC even with the Portland Timbers in MLS action October 9, 2013. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Is O Magico’s next act a disappearing one?

Camilo scored on a spectacular side scissor kick to pull Vancouver Whitecaps FC even with the Portland Timbers in MLS action October 9, 2013. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Camilo scored the MLS goal of the year on a spectacular side scissor kick on October 9, 2013. Now rumours swirl of his impending exit from Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

Ugh. I typed that headline five seconds ago and now I hate myself. NO. The answer is no. Probably no. Ok, the answer might be no, and I would almost certainly say definitely no if we hadn’t been burned before by the Whitecaps. There. You will find no buried ledes here.

As one would expect concerning the MLS Golden Boot winner, rumours have been swirling recently regarding the impending transfer of Camilo Sanvezzo to various locales. Look, up in the sky, it’s a transfer offer from Rosenborg, it’s a transfer offer from Tigres… NO! IT’S A TRANSFER OFFER FROM QUERÉTARO! Continue reading

Whitecaps’ Revolutionary Hiring Process Culminates In Appointment of Carl Robinson

It's official — Carl Robinson has received the bump up from Assistant Coach to Head Coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club. Photo courtesy of Whitecaps FC.

It’s official — Carl Robinson has received the bump from Assistant Coach to Head Coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club. Photo courtesy of Whitecaps FC.

This morning, Vancouver Whitecaps FC ended a protracted search for a new manager and settled on Carl Robinson as the 15th head coach in club history. Well-liked by his players, the former assistant coach under Martin Rennie brings a wealth of experience at both the highest levels of English soccer, having played in the Premier League for both Portsmouth and Sunderland, and the lowest levels of Canadian soccer, having spent several years at TFC.

More snark (and press conference video) after the jump. Continue reading

Whitecaps Residency Continues Cascadian Dominance

A young Caps fan celebrates amid the smoke after Vancouver drew level in the first half of Saturday's U-18 tilt. Photo by Chris Withers.

A young Caps fan celebrates amid the smoke after Vancouver drew level in the first half of Saturday’s U-18 tilt. Photo by Chris Withers.

In their last home games of 2013, the Vancouver Whitecaps Residency sides took to the pitch at Coquitlam’s Percy Perry Stadium on Saturday in front of perhaps 200 spectators, and handed the visiting Portland Timbers a pair of losses. The U-18 squad overcame an early blunder to win 3-2, while the U-16′s rode a pair of Dario Zanatta goals to a 2-0 victory.

It was an inauspicious start for Vancouver, and especially goalkeeper Nolan Wirth. Early in the first half, a Timbers attack died when a foul was assessed to one of their forwards. Wirth shooed his teammates away, opting to take the free kick himself from just outside his own 18-yard box. Instead of clearing the ball up the field, however, he tried to kick the ball across the field to left back Sam Adekugbe. The cross was easily picked off by the Timbers player – who must have blended into the turf, or something – and he had acres and hours to roll the ball in for a 1-0 Portland lead. Continue reading

Whitecaps vs RSL Game Recap

Chris’s recap of this game comes in photo form. Some viewers have suggested that it’s just him being a big poopy pants. Others argue that his take on things is somewhat irregular.

Whichever side of the bowl you sit on, we at Pucked in the Head humbly warn you that the image is completely safe for work, it’s just… well, it’s more appropriate for break time than a board meeting, let’s just say that.

Bran muffin anyone?

Continue reading

Whitecaps FC midfielder YP Lee dashes forward during first-half action of a 2-2 tie versus Chivas USA. Photo by Jason Kurylo for Pucked in the Head.

How unlucky is “The Unluckiest Fan”?

Long-suffering Southsider Duncan Nicol has gone a loooooong time — and even longer road trips — without seeing a Whitecaps FC away win. Photograph by: Jenelle Schneider, PNG , The Province

It’s Saturday morning, and Norwich City is being so drastically outplayed by Tottenham that I just can’t bear to watch anymore. I haven’t seen something get hammered this efficiently on Canadian television since This Old House went off the air. It’s so bad that I would rather do math problems. In Friday’s edition of The Province newspaper, Whitecaps beat writer Marc Weber did a fantastic piece chronicling the misfortunes of one Duncan Nicol. Duncan, a passionate Caps fan who can often be found pitch-side with his camera at home games, has been to an incredible TWENTY away matches for Whitecaps FC. To date, he has not seen a win. The title of the piece was “The Unluckiest Fan.” This got me thinking: how unlucky is Duncan? Anyone who watches Vancouver with regularity knows that they are shit on the road. And not just any shit, we’re talking about the kind of intense coiler that Sigi Schmid drops pre-game after his 37th pie.

Continue reading