Vancouver and Toronto faced of in what was being billed the battle of the north at a 1pm game in BC Place this afternoon.  The battle of the frozen north would have been a better description, as the stadium was freezing due to the roof being unexpectedly open, a bold move given the winter we have had this year.

As it turned out the frigid ( for Vancouver ) temperature seemed to benefit the visitors, who had the most of the ball through out the game.  In fact neither team created any significant number of chances, and the game really only came to life after Brek Shea’2 70th minute sending off.  This was a result of a double yellow card, initially for a foul against Hagglund, but then for being mouthy to the ref.

Barely five minutes later Toronto had taken the lead through a Victor Vazquez header, and then four minutes later this was followed by a strike from Jozy Altidore.

Hopefully this was just a post CONCACAF Champions League hangover and the caps can return to winning ways on April 1 against LA Galaxy.

Highlights below.

March 11th and 12th saw the HSBC Rugby Sevens return to Vancouver, following last year’s successful inaugural outing. While the weather outside was not as cooperative, this did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm for the crowds inside BC Place.  By the end of the weekend the record attendance of more than 76,000 people had witnessed 45 games of fantastic rugby, seen a few upsets along the way, and helped Dan Norton celebrate equally the most tries ever in the tournament.

Day 1, saw the 16 team play in a series of group matches to determine the ranking for the second day of the tournament.  Despite few upsets on the day there were some memorable matches.

Highlights of the day included.

  • The USA, spurred on by the speed of Perry Baker romped home to a 52-0 victory over Japan.
  • Any time Fiji took the field the noise level went up a notch, there were more Fiji fans than for any other country excluding Canada, and they love their team.
  • Canada had an awesome first day, opening their campaign with a solid victory against Scotland, followed by another against Russia, however they were narrowly defeated by the All Blacks in the last game of the day.
  • The biggest upset of the day was Los Pumas of Argentina defeating Fiji 26-24 with a try and a conversion on the final play.
  • England and South Africa, the weekend’s eventual finalists both won their first games, before tying 12-12 in their first face off of the weekend.

Day 2 saw the start of the playoffs for the final rankings for the tournament.  The bottom 8 teams from Day 1 competing for the Challenge Trophy and the top 8 competing for the Cup.

Sadly for Canadian fans their run from the first day did not continue into the second day, with a solid defeat against South Africa in their first game of the day, and a narrower defeat at the hands of Argentina in the 5th place playoff.

South Africa then had a much harder task on their hands against the USA, in what was likely a battle of the two fastest teams on the tour. Tries by Rosko Specman and Philip Snyman, and a spectacular last minute intervention by Werner Kok allowed the Blitzbokke to advance by a narrow margin of 14-12.

England struggled a little in their match with New Zealand, and came out winners by 14-12, however, in a very unexpected display, they romped home by 40-7 over reigning Olympic champions Fiji.

While Wales saw off Samoa by 19-12 to win the Challenge Trophy, the best was saved until last, with England facing off against South Africa in the Cup Final.  South Africa opened the scoring, but England tied the game up with a try and conversion on the final play in the first half.  England opened up a little more space in the second half with tries from Dan Bibby, and then a second from the player of the tournament Dan Norton. This try took Dan to the top of the all-time try scoring leaderboard, tied with long time holder Collins Injera from Kenya.

Day 2 Highlights

Overall it was a great, but tiring experience, roll on 2018.

Aside from the action on the field there where some great fans in the stadium

 

An enthusiastic, if somewhat smaller crowd of just of 14,000 saw the Vancouver Whitecaps advance to the semi-final stage of the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions league on Tuesday night.  The Whitecaps ran out 2-0 winners on the night against the New York Red Bulls, to win the two-legs 3-1 in aggregate. The win sees the Whitecaps advancing to this stage of the competition for the first time in franchise history

The ‘caps had the better of the first half, with a lively start bringing about a goal for Alphonso Davies after only 5 minutes of play.

Red Bulls keeper Luis Robles was kept busy during the first half, pulling off a dramatic diving save at the 25 min mark.

The second half saw the Red Bulls see a lot more of the ball, and David Ousted was called into action to clear a controversial ball of the line, and also tip one over the bar to maintain the ‘caps lead.  Newly signed Designated Player Fredy Montero added to the lead with a nicely taken strike with around 15 mins left in the game vardenafil india.

To the Red Bulls credit they kept fighting to the end, but were unable to find the net.

Vancouver will now face Mexican champions Tigres, with the first leg away from home on March 14th, and the second leg at BC Place on April 5th.

A gallery of my favourite shots from the night are below:

The Seaquam Seahawks and GW Graham Grizzlies faced off on the second of two AA Varsity semi finals at BC Place on Saturday afternoon.

The Seahawks got the final 4 with a commanding 55-10 win over Nanaimo, with the Philpots proving once again to be a dominating force in the game.

The Grizzlies found their way to the tie through a five touchdown effort from QB Gabe Olivares , who ran three TD’s himself and passed for the other two.  The Grizzlies finally defeating the Windsor Dukes 34-7.

This game proved to be a very one-sided affair with the Seahawks running up a 20-0 lead at the half.  The Grizzlies proved to have more resistance in the second half, but ultimately the spoils went to the Seahawks, with a 26-7 win leaving them to face the Vernon Panthers in the final.

Images below:

 

The Hugh Boyd Trojans faced off against the Vernon Panthers in the first of two AA Varsity Semi-finals at BC Place this afternoon.

In this first of two AA semis however the Panthers proved too much for the Trojans, and ran out as comfortable 21-7 winners to advance to the finals against the Seaquam Seahawks.

My favourite shots from the game are below:

 

 

I had the pleasure shooting my first High School football game yesterday.  The Pipers of Argyle Secondary School were facing off against the Hugh Boyd Trojans in the AA Varsity Quarterfinals of the Subway Bowl at BC Place.

The team put in a great performance but ultimately came out on the wrong end of a 26-20 defeat.

It was a great game to shoot, with plenty of action at both ends.

Here is a gallery of my favourite shots from the game..

Despite a late goal from Nicolas Mezquida, the Whitecaps were generally outfought in a entertaining battle with San Jose.  The sell out crowd of 22,120 saw the visitors take an early lead through a controversial goal from Quincy Amarikwa.  While the home side did generate a number of chances towards the end of the half, they went into the break  on a 1-0 deficit.

The second half started with the same pace as the first and again San Jose profited with a great strike from Simon Dawkins finding the back of the net in the 60th minute.

The whitecaps largely dominated in the latter stages of the game, coming close a number of times.  The late strike by Mezquida, coming 4 minutes into added time was however too little too late to earn the home team any points.

Gallery below:

The Vancouver Whitecaps hosted Crystal Palace of the English Premier League tonight in an International friendly match.  This was the third and final game for Crystal Palace on their current North American tour.

Both sides started of the game a little tentatively, and given the nature of the game there were few hard tackles throughout the whole game.

There were few chances at either end in the first half, but the second half had a lot more action.  The Whitecaps took the lead in the 50th minute through David Edgar. A brace of goals from Frazier Campbell in a four minute spell saw the game swing the other way.  Vancouver never  gave in though, and were rewarded after 78mins with an equalizer from Kendall Waston. From that point on it was Vancouver who pressed and had several chances to net a winner.

Neither team managed to gain the advantage, and the score finished level at 2-2.

The Whitecaps came into the second leg of this tie looking to overcome a 1-0 deficit in order defend their Voyageurs Cup title, and secure a place in the CONCACAF Champions League.
The first half was a fairly unexciting affair with few chances at either end, however the second half changed all that with Vancouver getting the opening goal courtesy of a Mezquida header only two minutes after the restart.

The Whitecaps doubled the lead on the night 20 minutes later with Tim Parker beating the Bono in goal for Toronto.

After this the game got a little more frantic, with Toronto pressing for an away goal that would still see them Cup winners on the away goals rule.

After an excruciating 4 minutes of added time a defensive error for the whitecaps provided the opportunity and Will Johnson took no prisoners with a well converted shot. Johnson had to be helped from the field sustaining an injury for his efforts.IMG_4044

It was heartbreaking for the home team and fans, but was a reverse of fortunes for Toronto who suffered a similar last minute defeat the previous week at Orlando.

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Full Gallery below:

Final Score 2-1 Vancouver (2-2 Aggregate; Toronto FC win on Away Goals)

Attendance 19,376

Teams:

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