Note: the game has been postponed to July 2. I'll leave this story up because I have no better story ideas and love that poster.
There's no thousand-word write-up today. There's no need. We've had that conversation. We all know what happened yesterday. And we all know what's at stake: a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League and a bit of chrome.
What's not at stake is the Canadian championship in any true, moral sense. Outside of the tight circles of Toronto FC fandom and Vancouver Whitecaps hatedom, everybody knows who the real victors are. Vancouver has had the trophy snatched from their grasp by the Metcalfe Street thugs. Even if Vancouver comes up short in this third leg, they'll be hailed as champions by anyone who considers the field of play superior to the rule of bureaucrats. We speak sometimes of "playing for pride" when a game means nothing. Well, this is the opposite. Pride has already been won.
As far as I'm concerned, the Vancouver Whitecaps are Canadian champions for 2011, and when they return to Empire Field I'll be addressing them as such. Nothing the Canadian Soccer Association can do will take that away. What's left is the Champions League berth, but also the redemption of a trophy that the CSA has summarily disgraced. By their actions yesterday, the Canadian Soccer Association tarnished the greatest soccer championship in the country. By a victory, the Vancouver Whitecaps can redeem that and ensure that the titular champions are also the true winners.
That's it. There's no more to be said. Just win. Just fucking win.