Left Coast By Design

Tag: Empire Field

Rainy Impressions of Empire Field

Yes, the beautiful game still gets played when the sky opens up. I just don’t suggest wearing denim if you’re going to sit and watch a match. It gets very cold. Quickly.

Empire Field

A Dark and Stormy Night – courtesy of Matt Boulton

But I’m hardcore.

Having benefited from the weather control machine the Whitecaps FC picked up during the MLS Super Draft, last night was the first night those of us sitting beyond the short reaches of the touchline canopy had the pleasure of enjoying precipitation. And although I had taken steps to stay warm in the rain, it provided for a cold evening. At least I had the foresight to bring a towel to dry off my seat.

What about the product on the field you ask? Well… lets just say that chemistry was not made with the introduction of H2O. I understand that the team is still trying to figure each other out. Being an expansion team is tough. And as such, I’ll cut them a fair amount of slack. But what I find tough is one specific thing.

I can’t stand the fact that Camilo goes to ground so easy.

After providing such a stellar effort in the second game, it seems he’s now busier looking to get the free kick than he is at fighting through some of the challenges he faces. In fact, I swear that Camilo gives up at least two or three goal scoring opportunities looking for the referee to give him a call. Don’t get me wrong – he’s a great player who exudes skill. But a great player dripping with skill that goes unused is nothing more than just a bit player in an eleven piece puzzle.

Beyond that, all things considered I’ve been happy with most results this season and maybe my frustration is just weather related.

Heck, I’m still trying to dry out and warm up.

First Impressions of the Whitecaps FC

Growing up in Vancouver as a player of the beautiful game, the Whitecaps (and by extension for a period of time, the 86ers) have always counted on me being a fan. I can’t say I’ve made it to as many games, having sporadically attended them when they played at Swangard Stadium, but I do remember attending one game when I was really young at Empire Stadium. So when the opportunity of becoming a seasons ticket holder for the inaugural season in the MLS presented itself, I spent money I didn’t really have and became one. Hurray for credit!

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Whitecaps FC – courtesy of RosieTulips

Unfortunately, I didn’t get an opportunity to attend the home opener against Toronto FC as I was in Vegas for a friend’s wedding – what a match to have missed! The ‘caps took it to the squad from the Big Smoke and triumphed with a 4-2 result under cooperative skies – all accounts had me hearing that Empire Field was the perfect venue for an ecstatic soccer crowd. So upon arrival for the second home match against Sporting Kansas City, I was pretty darn amped.

Presentation wise, the Whitecaps FC and Empire Field staff have done a tremendous job at outfitting the stadium. I would imagine they picked up a few pointers from the BC Lions past season, but mad props for putting together a welcoming venue – even the lineups for beer and food were manageable all things considered.

And then there was the match itself. Having grown up on the sport (played, officiated, and coached at various levels youth and adult), I have always understood that the result is not final until the last whistle is blown. Although the Whitecaps carried play for much of the first half, Sporting was able to notch a late marker during injury time to go up by one. Then early in the second half, two complete “brain farts” by the ‘caps set them down by three. Making matters worse, the traitor-some Teal Bunbury had scored those first two KC goals.

But as mentioned earlier, the match wasn’t over quite yet.

With head coach Teitur Thordarson (don’t make Teitur mad, you don’t want to see Teitur mad) sending in Davide Chiumiento and Nizar Khalfan late in the second, the substitutions began to go to work on what appeared to be a tired opposing back line. In the 73rd minute, Atiba Harris notched the ‘caps first goal of the day after Khalfan burned past the KC right back. Then in injury time, Camilo notched his first and second goals just a minute apart to tie the game. No word of a lie, I thought Empire Field was about to explode. I can’t begin to imagine what would have happened had Camilo been able to notch the hatty just a minute after that (his shot missed just high and wide).

I’ve seen comebacks before. But there’s something about the one I witnessed on Saturday that has me already jonesing for what may occur Wednesday night the New England Revolution. It was as close to magical as I can describe. In fact, if you weren’t there you missed something you’ll never see again.

So where will you be? Will you be with us at Empire Field? Buy a ticket, take the pledge, and make sure you’re in your seat before kickoff!

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