After previously inducting Bob Lenarduzi in May, Andrea Neil in August, and Carl Valentine in September, Whitecaps FC added the late Dominic Mobilio to the prestigious Ring of Honour, and his whole family was there to accept the ring on his behalf.
The Curva Collective produced a tifo for the occasion, using the iconic image of Mobilio, and putting 170 goals, one for each of the goals he scored for Vancouver, through a hole where the ball would have been.
But the best tribute that could have been made was executed by the current crop of Whitecaps. They won the match. And better still, they did it with two goals from the run of play, something that hasn't happened since that June match in Philadelphia when the Whitecaps drew 3-3 with the Union.
No easy feat, especially against a side like FC Dallas. The Toros are renowned for their Vancouvering, a term they originated, but has since taken on a new life of its own as they have been saddled with the derogatory term. For those unfamiliar, we've included the official definition below.
VANCOUVERING, n. 1 to physically react to a severely disappointed moment. 2 to lay on the ground and bury one's face in one's arms in disappointment. ORIGIN first known usage by FC Dallas' Jackson Goncalves on Sunday, 24 April 2011, 1:10 PM, Empire Field, Vancouver, BC.
On Saturday night, the Hoops started late. It took them a whole 41 seconds to have a player bury their face in the ground. On this occasion, it was Blas Perez, who went up for the ball, didn't get his timing right, winning the ball, but sending it wayward.
What really got his spurs in a twist was that there was some brief after the action contact with Kendall Waston. Perez fell to the ground with perfect form, stretching out both his arms and legs to perform a perfect forward break fall.
After coming to a complete stop, the Captain took off the seat belt sign and Perez held his head in his hands, hoping to earn himself a penalty kick. But his reputation preceded him, and referee Ricardo Salazar let play continue. He even gave a goal kick to the Whitecaps for a Ryan Hollingshead foul on Russell Teibert.
As Perez' treatment continued in the Vancouver penalty box, he proceeded to rub part of the back of his head, but somewhat tellingly, he rubbed an area that never came into contact with Waston or anything else.
Perez, difficult to play against at the best of times, had a fantastic opportunity near the back post after he briefly slipped from Jordan Harvey's coverage. Unfortunately for the Panamanian, his effort went well wide. Perhaps he was still feeling the after effects of his earlier clash with Waston, or maybe it's time for Dallas to replace the magic sponge.
Andres Escobar got into the Vancouvering too, and after losing the ball to Matías Laba, he leapt up into the air, both arms extending as Perez had done before, and performed a lovely forward break fall, arguably the best of the night. His form was excellent.
And he even managed to recover quickly enough to send the ball forward, but once again the referee was having none of it. He blew for a Vancouver free kick, and got an earful from Perez for his trouble. Knowing how often referees reverse their decisions, we're not sure why players persist in continuing this ritualistic dance.
In the 8th minute, Pedro Morales lost the ball to David Texeira, got a foot on it, but then Texeira went tumbling. And while Morales did get a toe on the ball before he fouled Texeira, it was probably a rare case of a Dallas playing going down after legitimately being fouled. Of course, he did perform a theatrical roll to call attention to his plight. In fact, Morales' knee bothered him after the incident as Texeira caught him awkwardly in the mid-air somersault that led to the roll.
Not long after, Mauro Rosales had a beautiful effort, briefly laying the ball off to Russell Teibert before it was returned to him once he had gained some extra space. He then proceeded to run towards goal, at one point dragging four FC Dallas players with him, and then he threaded a lateral ball that might have suited Morales, but instead went to Sebastián Fernández, who put the ball just over the far corner.
And then it happened. There are many ways that we could dissect the goal. We could mention that from a Steven Beitashour throw-in, the Whitecaps strung together fourteen passes, a cross, and a loose ball from a foul that went uncalled. We could bring up the fact that nine players, everyone except for David Ousted and Kendall Waston got a touch in the effort.
But instead, we'll just say that Fernández's 14th minute effort was a long time coming. It was the Uruguyan's first goal since July, also a game-winning goal, and it came against Vancouver's next opponent, Seattle Sounders FC.
The cross came from Rosales, who picked out his teammate near the edge of the 6-yard box. And despite being marked by Je-Vaughn Watson, Fernández got on top of it to send the powerful header towards the near post. Dallas' goalkeeper, Raul Fernandez, got a fist on it, but there was too much power on the shot and it still found the back of the net.
It was a great cross and a great goal, but Erik Hurtado's efforts could have easily been lost in the celebration. When he received the ball on the penalty arc line, he had enough sense to hold the ball up, pulling in five Dallas players, and then sending it out wide to Rosales, which gave Morales and Fernández space in the box.
By the time Rosales had received the ball, he had four friendly targets in the box, three of which had space, and this was despite there being seven Dallas players with in the box with them.
A few minutes later, Morales and Rosales double teamed Moises Hernandez, winning the ball back. As Rosales went to the centre, Morales went right, Hurtado drifted right, and Fernández came in from the left. In effect, the Whitecaps had a four on three, though Dallas' reinforcements were close behind. Fernández wasted no time and made a bee line for goal, beating his namesake through the narrow gap between the goalkeeper and the near post.
After each goal, Fernández kissed his right wrist, which bore the names of Joaquin and Isabel.
Dallas almost pulled one back in the 33rd minute. As Michel struck the ball with a cross, Texeira stood in an offside position, which was neatly spotted by the linesman. However, Perez was onside, and he was the one who ultimately received the ball and would have scored, if not for Texeira.
Now, it's debatable whether or not Texeira was interfering in the play. He was certainly a legitimate target for the cross, but he moved back onside before the ball reached Perez. Whatever your thoughts on the matter, the goal was called off. Had it counted, the Whitecaps would have faced a far different proposition than the two-goal lead they enjoyed.
In the 36th minute, Waston intercepted a long ball meant for Texeira, but as the Costa Rican went up for the ball, Texeira, while still on the ground, wrapped his arm around Waston's leg, grabbing the inside of his thigh, and tried to yank him back down. It was a dangerous foul, but seemed to go unnoticed by the referee.
Dallas continued to press, and late in the first half, Texeira had the ball in the penalty arc, but Laba got there just in the nick of time with a textbook slide tackle to put his body in front of Texeira's shot. Before Texeira knew what had happened, Laba had sent the ball harmlessly away from goal, to be collected by a teammate.
In the second half, FC Dallas manager Óscar Pareja brought on Tesho Akindele for Ryan Hollingshead. The 22-year old striker was born in Calgary and grew up in Denver, but he hasn't competed internationally since suiting up for a Canadian U17 side back in 2009. He is eligible to be capped by Canada, the United States, or through his father, Nigeria.
Watson earned himself a yellow card in the 60th minute for a dangerous play near the touchline. As Jordan Harvey had positioning, Watson came in with the late, cleats up challenge, raising his leg over the ball, presumably in an attempt to shield it. But he landed his right foot on Harvey's upper thigh, getting the man and making no attempt to play the ball. Usually, they give a red card for that kind of offence, but this time, he got off lucky.
It was a masterful performance by the Whitecaps, with Fernández, Hurtado, and Rosales each having their best ever game in a Whitecaps shirt. With upcoming games against Seattle, San Jose, and Colorado, the Whitecaps couldn't ask for better form.
Even the substitutes, Darren Mattocks, Kekuta Manneh, and Medhi Ballouchy paid off handsomely for the home side, with Mattocks getting involved, holding up the play as Hurtado had before him, and Manneh making the wise decision to take the ball to the corner rather than make a run at goal late in the game.
Before our very eyes, the boys are turning into men, and the coaching staff couldn't have been prouder.
And though Fernández's 94th minute caution will rule him out of next week's action, the Whitecaps will head into that game with their heads held high, brimming with confidence, and feeling like they can take on the world. And what more could you ask for?
After the final whistle, Pareja bypassed his counterpart Carl Robinson and made a bee line for Martyn Pert. We're not sure what this was about, but it may be spill over from the clubs' previous meeting in Dallas, where Pert and one of Pareja's assistants were ejected from the game for talking the ear off the fourth official.
With Vancouver's win and Toronto's loss earlier in the day, the Whitecaps moved three points ahead of their eastern rivals in the race for the Champions League spot, though the Reds do still have a game in hand.
Later in the evening, Portland scored two late goals in San Jose to steal the points and hold Vancouver to a one point advantage in the Western Conference.
By the time the Whitecaps play again, Portland will already have had a chance to go ahead of them in the table when they play host the Earthquakes on Wednesday.
But no matter the result, the Whitecaps will have plenty to play for on Friday night when they visit the Emerald City. A victory over the Sounders would erase any gains Portland might have made in the interim, and complete the Quest for La Quinta by winning the Cascadia Cup for a record fifth time.
The match may not have been scheduled at a convenient time, 7:00 PM on a Friday, but we hope you'll join us all the same.
Man of the Match: Sebastián Fernández
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
14' - VAN - Sebastián Fernández (Mauro Rosales, Erik Hurtado)
18' - VAN - Sebastián Fernández (Mauro Rosales)
Shots: Vancouver 8 - FC Dallas 11
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 3 - FC Dallas 2
Saves: Vancouver 2 - FC Dallas 1
Fouls: Vancouver 16 - FC Dallas 15
Offsides: Vancouver 0 - FC Dallas 4
Corners: Vancouver 3 - FC Dallas 5
60' - DAL - Je-Vaughn Watson
78' - VAN - Kendall Waston
90'+4' - VAN - Sebastián Fernández
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 33.Steven Beitashour, 40.Andy O'Brien, 4.Kendall Waston, 2.Jordan Harvey; 15.Matías Laba, 31.Russell Teibert; 30.Mauro Rosales (23.Kekuta Manneh 82'), 77.Pedro Morales (8.Medhi Ballouchy 88'), 7.Sebastián Fernández; 19.Erik Hurtado (11.Darren Mattocks 67')
Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 3.Sam Adekugbe, 16.Johnny Leverón, 29.Nicolás Mezquida
1.Raul Fernandez; 23.Je-Vaughn Watson, 17.Zach Loyd, 24.Matt Hedges, 3.Moises Hernandez; 91.Andres Escobar, 28.Victor Ulloa (23.Kellyn Acosta 81'), 31.Michel, 12.Ryan Hollingshead (13.Tesho Akindele 45'); 7.Blas Perez, 9.David Texeira (5.Jair Benitez 65')
Substitutes not used
18.Chris Seitz, 6.Adam Moffat, 25.Walker Zimmerman, 26.Danny Garci