#4) Two Move On:
Fans of the Vancouver Whitecaps knew that such a dismal 2011 campaign meant that changes would be afoot for the 2012 season. Some players were shipped out, more players were brought in, and of course, there were some hold-overs. Eric Hassli, without a doubt, one of the great ambassadors for the 'Caps and Davide Chiumiento were two of those hold-overs and tremendous fan favorites. By the end of July, however, neither would still be with the club.
Chiumiento was the first to go, as he returned to Switzerland on a transfer on July 11th. Chiumiento's departure was orchestrated so he could spend more time with his family, who live around that region. It was a blow the Whitecaps never really seemed to recover from, as Chiumiento was one of the best play makers on the squad. Worse yet, the 'Caps didn't get anything in return for the diminutive midfielder, just a locker stall to be cleaned out, a press release to be written up, and memories of great plays like this:
However, Chiumiento's departure was nothing compared to the 'Caps next roster move, made ten days later.
On July 21st, Eric Hassli, the club's first ever designated player in the MLS, the man who had been nominated for goal of the year, the man, who beyond a shadow of a doubt was the most popular player on the Whitecaps, was swiftly traded to Toronto FC for a pick in the 2014 superdraft, and an international roster spot.
On the business end, it made sense. Hassli had at one point gone through a 17 match goalless drought, and was being used as a late match substitute in most cases. Coupled with his high salary, the club simply didn't have the room for him anymore. Plus, they received a valuable international spot and a high pick from a club that has been perennially poor.
Still, Hassli's departure was a sad end to an enjoyable tenure with the club, and the Southsiders saluted him with an 'Eric Hassli' chant in the 29th minute of the next match.
3) The Arrival of YP Lee
Yes, I know, this isn't technically a 'moment.' However, the signing and play of YP Lee brought instant credibility to a squad desperately trying to prove they were better than what they showed in 2011. Lets talk about that signing; YP Lee reportedly gave up more money to sign with the 'Caps, citing the beauty of the city and his desire to experience a new culture as motivating factors. All of the sudden, the Whitecaps had a three headed monster of Jay Demerit, YP Lee, and Alain Rochat in the back half of the pitch.
The defense, which looked like swiss cheese in the 2011 campaign, was upgraded instantly and was the driving force behind the team for the entire season. Lee would go on to win Team MVP, and was easily the most consistent defender on the entire squad. Lee is currently pondering retirement, and was reportedly unhappy with the club's travel schedule. However, the club is desperately trying to lure him back, a no-brainer considering how important he is to the team.
The top two plays of the season are next! Any moments that have to be included? Let me know in the comments!