The Vancouver Whitecaps of Major League Soccer (MLS) made their annual trip over to the Island on March 16 to take on the Vikes in an exhibition showcase game for Victoria soccer fans. The announced 2 600 fans enjoyed a windy affair between the ‘Caps and the Vikes.
The Whitecaps certainly looked like pros on Saturday as they dealt the Vikes a thorough beat-down in front of a hometown crowd. The Vikes had their chances but failed to make good on several opportunities. The bigger, stronger Whitecaps squad was in control for the majority of the game.
One bright spot for the Vikes was the play of Thomas Mallette. The Vikes centre-mid provided a spark all game. Mallette was the one of the few Vikes standouts who consistently made life difficult for the Whitecap players. His stature only made him that much more noticeable on the pitch. Standing well shorter than the majority of the other players on the pitch, Mallette brought energy and intensity to the Vikes side. With several scoring chances and a handful of creative tackles, Mallette gave the Vikes a fighting chance.
Although the ‘Caps side was playing primarily their reserve squad, notable roster spots went to superstars Camilo Sanvezzo and Omar Salgado. The Victoria fans were treated to a veritable bevy of speed and skill. It took 35 minutes to open the scoring when Sanvezzo received a pass at the top of the 18 and blasted the shot bottom corner. Less than two minutes later, Whitcaps player Erik Hurtado went in solo and beat two Vike defenders before squeaking the shot past Elliot Mitrou, Vikes keeper.
At the half, the Vikes faced a 2-0 deficit and looked tired. The speed and skill of the Whitecaps was too much to handle this afternoon at Centennial Stadium. The ‘Caps added an insurance goal in the 77th minute when Tom Heinemann buried a rebound off a long-range effort by midfielder Russell Teibert. Despite the loss, the Vikes put in a good showing at their next sets of games in the Keg Spring Cup from March 23–24, placing second in the tournament.
As the Vikes battled some of B.C.’s finest university programs, the ‘Caps faced Houston Dynamo on March 23, losing 2-1.
Hugo Wong and Elaine Vallis took the photos. If you’re curious how they did it, check out Wong’s blog about sports photography.