Striker Brian White rewriting Whitecaps’ history books

White has been a consistent producer since arriving in Vancouver

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As the Vancouver Whitecaps celebrate a half-century of soccer history, Brian White has carved out a spot in the club’s record book.

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Last Saturday, the New Jersey native scored in the 15th minute of the 1-1 road draw against the New York Red Bulls, the club that traded White to Vancouver on June 2, 2021.

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The goal was the striker’s 44th with the Whitecaps across all competitions, moving him ahead of Camilo Sanvezzo as the club’s leading scorer of the Major League Soccer era.

“I was very happy for him because he did it in his hometown, in front of his family and friends, and even against his former team that maybe didn’t believe in him a lot, so they traded him,” said Whitecaps coach Vanni Sartini. “Maybe that had even a little extra spice to put in the game.”

White has been a consistent producer since arriving in Vancouver. This year, the Whitecaps (5-2-2) are averaging two goals a game through their first nine contests. White leads the way in both goals (five) and shots (19).

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“I think I’ve always been confident how I can play and how I can perform,” White said. “It’s just a matter of being fit, being healthy and being in a good place mentally. I think I’m at that spot, so hopefully I can continue to work hard for the team and produce goals and assists and good performances.”

White will bring a four-game scoring streak into Saturday’s 50th anniversary celebration match against Austin FC (4-3-3), a squad that has surrendered just one goal in its last three outings.

“They became, if we compared them with last year, a much more fast team,” Sartini said. “That allows them to defend a little low, close to the goal, and then counterattack.

“We need to be extremely focused when we have the ball to maintain our structure. We’re always good, tactically, when we don’t have the ball. We have to be very good, tactically, when we have the ball too. If we lose the ball, they can be a threat.”

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More than 30,000 fans are expected at BC Place on Saturday, for the celebration of the club’s history that stretches back to the original Whitecaps of the North American Soccer League in 1974, through the era of the Vancouver 86ers at Burnaby’s Swangard Stadium, to the return of the Whitecaps in 2000, and on to the organization’s debut as the 17th franchise in Major League Soccer on Mar. 19, 2011.

The Whitecaps are expecting more than 50,000 fans when Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami CF visits BC Place on May 25. But Sartini has seen the home crowds double since the Whitecaps resumed play after the pandemic pause in 2021. This season, numbers have consistently topped 20,000, and the opportunity to set a new MLS-era attendance record on Saturday has special significance.

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“It was hard to bring it back people in the stadium,” Sartini said. “We worked a lot — through having good results, playing good football, trying to be as close as we can to our fans. And the response of our fans has been fantastic.

“The fans really love us. And with them behind us — it’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be easier, trying to win.”

AUSTIN FC (4-3-3) AT VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC (5-2-2)

Saturday, 7:30 p.m., B.C. Place (Apple TV, TSN)

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS — The Whitecaps’ first-ever match in the North American Soccer League was a 2-1 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes at Empire Stadium on the PNE Grounds on May 5, 1974.

CELEBRATING HISTORY — More than 110 alumni are expected to take part in Saturday’s pre-match ceremony celebrating the club’s history. Other festivities will include a street party. Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 7:15. Other 50th anniversary theme nights are planned through the season.

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reference: theprovince.com

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