Batten down the hatches. Brace yourselves! It’s time for the Big 3 to get a mysterious case of Turfitis! Wait…what the? You mean to tell me that Frank Lampard, David Villa AND Andrea Pirlo are in Vancouver and could play this Saturday vs the Whitecaps? Let me just check something…nope, no flying pigs.
Alright then, so it appears as if all three of New York FC’s DPs could see action when the struggling expansion team takes to the field at BC Place this weekend. Since 2011, the turf at BC Place has often been subjected to scornful comments from both visiting players (pros signed by the Whitecaps would never openly disparage the turf they earn a living on) and fans. Thierry Henry refused to play on the surface at BC Place while others like David Beckham and Robbie Keane did so with an exasperated sigh. The reality is turf isn’t fun to play on, but suck it up Henry. You are (were) paid millions of green to kick a ball around. With Lampard, Pirlo and Villa all suffering from a myriad of injuries it seemed a given to myself and many others, that all three NYCFC DPs would get a mysterious case of Turfitis sometime during the week of Sept 21st.
With the backing of the Yankees and Manchester City, the New York expansion club entered the 2015 season with high hopes and were immediately greeted by the harsh reality of MLS. Sporting a record of 9-14-7, the Manchester City farm team is attempting a late season push to reach the playoffs. Will they make it? No, they won’t. For NYCFC to make the 2015 playoffs, they will need Giovinco to come down with a nasty stomach flu, Drogba to twist an ankle and Kaka to drop dead. So it is with this hope that NYCFC coach Jason Kreis, has brought the injury prone Big 3 to Vancouver, supposedly intending to risk their aging fragile legs on sketchy turf against the best team in MLS in a desperate attempt to earn 3 points.
The arrival of NYCFC in Vancouver means that the fanboying at BC Place on Saturday will be sickening. Which brings me to my main topic. Despite the fact that this match has been sold out (at 21,000) for the past 3 weeks, the Vancouver Whitecaps have refused to remove the tarps. Slow and steady growth is the Whitecaps motto, and while I disagree with this approach for Cascadia matches I whole heartedly support them this weekend. If the Whitecaps open more seats to the public they would sell almost instantly. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they could sell out the lower bowl. But why would the front office want 6,000 Chelsea and Juventus fanboys screaming like tweens at a One Direction concert in attendance? They don’t and neither do I or any true fan of the Vancouver Whitecaps. Vancouver is a strong soccer market and the Whitecaps are beginning to benefit from this fact. Building loyal, true fans is key. Some might argue that several thousand of those 6,000 fanboys might discover a passion for local soccer and could in turn become Whitecap fans. Maybe, maybe not. I’m sad to say that a sickness exists in many North American footy youth. I have had the misfortunate of meeting far too many youngsters who simply refuse to give MLS any credit. They have blinders over their eyes and they refuse to examine even the basic history of North American soccer to see how far it has come against such long odds and where it is going. It is with this unfortunate reality in mind that I fully support the Vancouver Whitecaps reduced capacity policy and especially the players on the field. So cheers everyone. Let’s hope the ‘Caps lay a serious beating on the demon spawn of Manchester City and the Yankees.