USA Tour 2011: All about the Whitecaps
- 10 June 2011 11:26
- Posted by Emily Brobyn
City's second stop of the summer tour will be the west coast of Canada to face the new boys of Major League Soccer, Vancouver Whitecaps, on Monday 18 July.
The Blues have a history with the Whitecaps, having played them twice in the Eighties, as well as player connections in Academy graduate Terry Dunfield and striker Atiba Harris, Micah Richards’ cousin.
Although the British Columbia team are MLS new boys they played their first pro game on 5 May 1974. They improved on that 2-1 home defeat by San Jose Earthquakes, and in 1979 beat Tampa Bay Rowdies for the title.
The Caps thus became Vancouver’s first professional sports team to win a major North American championship and thousands took to the streets to celebrate.
A move to a new stadium, BC Place, and a name change to the 86ers when they switched to the Canadian League, saw the club win four titles in a row from 1988 and go a record 46 matches undefeated.
But as the CSL went the same way as the NASL, the 86ers became members of the American Professional Soccer League and during the 1990s enjoyed mixed fortunes.
The new millennium brought further change. They reverted to being Whitecaps before the arrival of current owner Greg Kerfoot, whose vision for the club involves investing in youth development.
It was confirmed in March, 2009 that the Caps would become an MLS team, with the club making their debut at Empire Field before moving back to a renovated BC Place.
Current CEO is former Tottenham Hotspur executive Paul Barber. Head coach Teitur Thordarson has recently been replaced by Tom Soehn.
President Bob Lenarduzzi lined up for Caps when they met City in 1980 and 1981
The Canadians beat Malcolm Allison’s side 5-0 and 2-0 in those games, and Lenarduzzi hopes for more of the same.
He says: “This international match is a great opportunity for us to compete against one of the biggest clubs in world soccer.
"Whitecaps FC have enjoyed a long history of playing top clubs in friendly matches. I remember playing against Manchester City at the old Empire Stadium in 1980 and 1981.
"We won both of those matches then, and I look forward to making it a third victory over City this summer."