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  • Whitecaps playoff pedigree should be all the inspiration needed


    ccs-123494-140264016857_thumb.jpgIf the current crop of Whitecaps need to find any inspiration going into tonight's MLS playoff game in LA, then they need look no further than the proud playoff pedigree that the Caps have build up over the years.

    They're playing for a football club with a rich history, a successful history, and they have the chance to include themselves in that at the Home Depot Center.

    No matter the competition, no matter the Vancouver team name, the Club have delivered the playoffs.


    Whether you link the current Whitecaps with their NASL counterparts (we do), or whether you still refuse to do that and look back to the D2 days, the one constant is that Vancouver Whitecaps Football Club and the playoffs are happy bedfellows.

    A lot has been made of the fact that this is the Whitecaps first MLS playoff game. Should that really matter to a team that has only failed to be in the post-season five times in their 36 year playing history?

    I've only been watching the Whitecaps since 2008 and maybe I've been spoiled, but I'm used to having playoff games now, so no matter what League the team are in, and whether they're an expansion club or not, I fully expect them to make the playoffs every single year.

    And it's good to have those expectations and that pressure to succeed, or at least it should be.

    The past should be the inspiration and the catalyst to drive on the new breed and the MLS Whitecaps already have the one up on their NASL team-mates.

    The NASL Caps failed to make the playoffs in their first two year's of existence. It took them three years to get to the post-season and six to win the whole shebang.

    The MLS Caps have achieved the first step a year quicker. Let's see when they can deliver the Cup.

    The Whitecaps lost in the first round to Seattle in 1976, the first year they qualified for the playoffs, but the next year they made it to the Divisional Championship game (where they also lost to Seattle).

    In 11 North American Soccer League seasons, the Whitecaps reached the playoffs nine times.

    They only faced a Los Angeles side once in that time, defeating the Aztecs over two games and a shootout in their 1979 Soccer Bowl Championship run.

    After the NASL ceased operations in March 1985, the Vancouver 86ers rose out of the Whitecaps' ashes and laid the foundations for the Caps of today.

    A new name and new Leagues, but the playoff success and Championships still remained over 24 seasons at D2 level.

    The Caps only failed to reach the playoffs twice in those years and delivered four Canadian Soccer League Championships, two USL First Division Championships, four defeats in Championship games and a string of playoff victories, including seven other semi final appearances.

    That's a record to be proud of and that's a history to make sure the new breed honour by going out there, giving it their all and fighting to the end, whatever the result.

    All we can hope is that the Caps management have done their homework, explained the Club's history to the players and had the motivational chats from Bobby Lenarduzzi and Carl Valentine about playoff success of yore and, of course, the Soccer Bowl triumph.

    It may be looking hellishly unlikely that the Caps will get anything out of LA, but this is the type of game that heroes are made and history is written.

    Can anyone stand up and find their way into Caps folklore?

    We'll soon find out.


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