It is always great when the Vancouver Whitecaps play Toronto FC.

The games are usually entertaining, there are a lot of great storylines and the memes and Twitter battles about Vancouver vs Toronto are fun. Toronto may not be a direct rival for the Whitecaps but it feels like they are.

It is safe to say Whitecaps fans are basking in the schadenfreude after this win.

What we learned from the first half

The Whitecaps were very dangerous on the transitions. With the tenacity of Ryan Gauld and the pace of Fafa Picault and Ali Ahmed plus the return of Brian White, every transition felt like a goal waiting to happen.

It is also worth crediting Alessandro Schöpf. As a left wing-back, he made some good passes and looked very comfortable on the ball.

For the second straight match in a row, Vancouver scored within the first 10 minutes. Former Whitecap Deybi Flores decided to help out his old club. He waited too long to make a pass but White pounced on it and beat Sean Johnson cleanly. Once a Whitecap, always a Whitecap. Agent Flores was reporting for duty.

After White’s goal, he and the rest of his team continued to press. They were forcing turnovers and made life difficult for the Toronto backline and Johnson.

I’ll admit it, I didn’t think much of Picault other than attacking depth when he signed. But that is three goals in three starts for him. He had five with Nashville SC last season. Schöpf found the ball from the throw-in and he displayed great footwork and an even better cross to Picault.

Guess we should start calling Picault Lisan Al Gaib.

It was an exquisite half from the Whitecaps. However, there were a couple of moments where TFC almost got back into it. DeAndre Kerr hit two posts shortly after Flores stole the ball from Cubas and later, Kerr got a great chance after a really poor back pass from Ranko Veselinovic. Fortunately, Yohei Takaoka bailed him out and deserves a free steak from Veselinovic.

But could Vancouver maintain the lead and have a strong second half? Well…

What we learned from the second half

Toronto FC came out quick in the second half. But they couldn’t muster a grade A chance on Takaoka. For most of the half, Takaoka mainly grabbed the ball in the air.

It also helped that the Whitecaps continued their strong defensive performance from the first. Veselinovic even bailed out Laborda for making a bad pinch in the 63rd minute but he took a foul to stop Kerr from getting a shot.

Laborda, Veselinovic and Bjorn Inge Utvik were composed, especially in the box. Their tackles were perfectly timed and their clearances were perfect. Laborda even made a smart tackle on Federico Bernadeschi late in the half.

When there was nothing left to cling onto, the Whitecaps held on to themselves and the lead.

Takaoka didn’t have a busy game but he came up huge when the Whitecaps needed him. He made a huge save on Prince Owusu in stoppage time to preserve the clean sheet. Boy, ain’t no way boy he made that save. But Takaoka did and that might be his best save as a Whitecap.

Oh yeah, the attack continued to cook. Just like in the first half, each transition looked dangerous. Ryan Gauld AKA The Flying Scotsman went full steam ahead on the breakaway and reached his station: a goal. All aboard!

This was a nice goal from Veselinovic. It was just a beautiful flick on Ryan Raposo’s corner. I thought Picault got a touch on it first but it turns out he didn’t.

This was by far the best Whitecaps performance of the season. There were a few nervy moments but it was a resounding win by Vancouver. This tells us one thing: The Whitecaps are a fun and good soccer team.

Stat of the match

With his goal on Saturday night, Gauld has hit 25 goals and 25 assists across all competitions as a Whitecap. He is the first player of their MLS era to do that.

What was said

Schöpf was the first to speak to the media.

“It was a great game from all of us, we played very well…I think we were the way better team,” he said on the win.

The Austrian international was asked about playing wingback vs midfielder. He said he is comfortable no matter where he plays.

“I always strive to do my best, I have more space and can provide more speed,” he said. “It’s a different style to play…you need to watch out and play simple.”

Veselinovic talked about his goal. He was happy to score but it wasn’t his main priority.

“That’s something I wanted to improve this season…but my main job is getting clean sheets,” said the Serbian defender.

Veselenovic talked about starting the second half well.

“We talked about it at halftime and made sure not to make bad clearances and that’s what we did,” he said.

Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini gave another post-match conference to remember. After last week’s win over the Portland Timbers, he gave a memorable quote.

I asked him if the win over TFC tops Florence, his wife and socialism. He said this win would be hard to top and it was Florence at night. Sartini also said that the thing about socialism is that they never stop trying to achieve the utopia they dream of. In this case, that utopia is trophies for the Whitecaps.

At the time of this writing, the Whitecaps are on top of the Western Conference. Sartini was asked about that.

“It’s beautiful,” he said. “”I’m thinking about quitting my job and resigning so I can say we were first when I did!…but we deserve it. But at the same time, it’s gonna get harder…Teams will look at us with a different outlook…so what we need to do is keep winning.”

He also had a message for the doubters of the Whitecaps and took a bit of a shot at the eastern media bias in Canada and across MLS.

“We showed we are the best Canadian team and we have been for the past two to three years,” said Sartini. “I don’t know why we have to remind everyone. Maybe we need to remind the Canadian media and OneSoccer.”

It was funny because after he said this, Alexandre Gangué-Ruzic of OneSoccer (And TheThirdSub and its podcast) was next to ask Sartini a question.

Best of Twitter

Best I was wrong

Props to Caleb Wilkins of The Third Sub for admitting he was wrong about Picault. His article on Picault was about how he wasn’t a fan of the signing. Picault has been unreal to start the season and while his crazy shooting percentage isn’t sustainable, it was great to have his pace in the attack. At this rate, who knows how many goals he will score. I was like: “Ok, sure, whatever,” when Picault signed but he has clearly got my attention now.

Also, I keep forgetting he is 33 because he runs like he is 23.

Best cracked Aviators

John Herdman was clearly outclassed by Sartini. Expected goals were 2.16 to 0.63 in favour of the Whitecaps according to FotMob.

There weren’t many high-danger chances for Toronto and the ones they did have were on the mistakes by the Whitecaps. Passing the ball to Bernadeschi and hoping he does something magical isn’t the best strategy. It’s very reminiscent of the South Park Underpants Gnomes business plan.

Step one is Pass it to Bernadeschi. Then step two is three question marks. Finally, step 3 is profit!

Right now, TFC looks more or less the same team as they did in 2023. It’s still early in the season but they have to find ways to create chances because relying on the Italians. (Lorenzo Insigne is currently out with a hamstring injury)

But for Whitecaps fans, they get the drink the tears of the TFCArmy and I’m sure they are delicious.

Best Fafantastic

Yeah, Picault deserves a long run of games with the way he has been playing. He’s been like a nice fresh cup of coffee in the morning, exactly what was needed.

Best They See Me Rollin’ They Hatin

Picault showed up at BC Place in this Vespa. Maybe he couldn’t afford gas even with his MLS salary. Riding the Vespa was good for the environment anyway.

Best signs of improvement

Perhaps Schöpf at wingback should be a thing from now on. He looks way more comfortable, completes his passes and looks better defensively.


The Whitecaps are not only first in the Western Conference but they are second in the Supporters Shield race with a game in hand. How about those Whitecaps? At this point, they have to try and make a run at the Supporters Shield.

The Galaxy visit BC Place next Saturday as the fourth and final game of the Whitecaps’ homestand. The Galaxy have started strong and it will be a battle of first and third in the Western Conference. Kickoff is at 7:30 pm.

Let’s see if the Whitecaps can keep the good times rolling.