The Los Angeles Galaxy are winners. They are the class of the Major League. They have five Anschutz Cups, four league Championships, two U.S. Open Cups, and a Champions' Cup to grace their cabinet. But that's the past. In the here and now, Vancouver are the class of the league.
Successive victories over Chicago, Orlando, and Portland was enough to raise expectations. But Los Angeles is unlike any other side that the Caps have faced. This is Galaxy. Drawing against them at home is often seen as an achievement. And that makes Vancouver's comprehensive two goal victory over them all the sweeter.
Kekuta Manneh returned to the line up after serving a one-match suspension, and if you hadn't noticed up until this point, it now reads "Kekuta" instead of "Manneh" on the back of his shirt.
Kendall Waston was a beast at the back, hurling himself into the breach, winning headers, and making his presence known. It'll be some time before the Galaxy get over the nightmare that is Vancouver's number four.
On the whole, it was a good performance by the officials, not great, but good. For example, in the 30th minute, Octavio Rivero was battling with Todd Dunivant and Baggio Husidic. Rivero was able to slide the ball to the incoming Nicolás Mezquida, but Dunivant fouled Mezquida. The referee decided to play the advantage.
Rivero and Tommy Meyer converged on the loose ball, and it deflected off of Meyer and fell to Mezquida, who was offside. The linesman immediately flagged Mezquida as being offside. Rivero was absolutely disgusted with the decision, but it was the right one.
The problem is that no advantage ever materialised, so it still should have been a Vancouver ball. Mezquida had been fouled earlier. But instead, Los Angeles got to take the free kick.
The Galaxy were forced to make a first half substitution after Mika Väyrynen went down with looked like a right calf injury. Robbie Rogers replaced him in the 40th minute.
Pa Modou Kah was booked for grabbing Juninho's shirt, and boy did he get his money's worth. He got a handful of the Galaxy man's shirt and dared him to drag all 175 lb. of him.
Ten minutes after the break, Pedro Morales spotted Kekuta Manneh's run and sent a perfectly timed through ball to the Gambian, who naturally headed straight into the box, and fired home his first goal since that fateful night in Seattle when the Caps completed La Quinta by winning the Cascadia Cup for the fifth time.
But he did one better tonight. For his celebration, he tucked the ball under his shirt and ran towards the sidelines, where Jordan Harvey was waiting. Earlier in the day, Jordan and his wife Kimberly announced that they were expecting their first child, a daughter. Manneh's celebration just goes to show how tightly knit this group really is.
With just over a third of the match to go, Los Angeles manager Bruce Arena threw caution to the wind. Off came left back Todd Dunivant, and on came forward Edson Buddle. Now of course, that wasn't as reckless as it might sound. Robbie Rogers was able to take on Dunivant's old role, which left Buddle free to move up.
Octavio Rivero was eager to see his name back on the score sheet. After going the whole match against Portland without finding the back of the net, he officially ended his goal scoring drought at 156 minutes when he pounced on the rebound from a Mezquida shot.
It was an easy one, but he still had to bury it, and more importantly, he was in position to strike when the ball slipped past Jaime Penedo's fingers. Rivero was the Player of the Month for March, and he's begun April with a goal against the Galaxy.
It was just what the Whitecaps needed. Though they had been the better side, the two-goal advantage gave them some breathing room. Los Angeles would have to push up, but Vancouver could now afford to concede.
But David Ousted was not interested. Los Angeles hadn't seriously challenged him yet, and he was in no mood to concede.
And how's this for a blast from the past? Ivor Evans, the Fiji Flash, was in attendance. Like Mattocks, Evans had a bit of physical streak, but as a midfielder, he scored 47 times in 221 matches for Vancouver.
When a club like the Galaxy comes to town, you have to raise your game. It's no coincidence that they've won three out of the last four Anschutz Cups. This team means business.
But the Whitecaps took it to the Cup holders from the first whistle. Pedro Morales had what could easily be described as his best match of the season. Russell Teibert, whose efforts as a holding midfielder often get overlooked, may just have played the finest match of his still young career. And even the substitutes got involved.
It was as complete a team game as we have ever seen from this club. Everyone, from the man who wears the armband right on down to Erik Hurtado's four minute cameo, everyone did well tonight. Well, at least the ones wearing white.
With the way Vancouver's playing, it's going to be tough for Mauro Rosales and Gershon Koffie to find their way back into the starting eleven. And you can add Cristian Techera's name to that list as soon as the t's are crossed and the i's are dotted on his transfer.
The Caps have not exactly convinced against Chicago, Orlando, or Portland. There were faults in their game. They found a way to win, but there were issues. None of those were present against Los Angeles. If Vancouver can play like this against the Galaxy, there's no reason that they can't play like this against anybody.
With a mid-week game against Columbus on Wednesday, and a trip to San Jose on Saturday, we wouldn't be surprised if there were a few changes, but they will be of the tactical variety. After a performance like that, nobody's going to be losing their spot on merit.