My son is an avid soccer player, has been in an organized league for four years now. Vancouver has a team, the Whitecaps, in the USL, one down from MLS. As a promotion, the boy’s team was invited to a match, some of them to march out with the players, some to play a mini-game at half-time. I went along and took the camera.

The Whitecaps draw four or five thousand to Swangard Stadium; there are stands only on one side; the other has trees, very pleasing to the eye.

Vancouver-Atlanta USL soccer game at Swangard Stadium, Burnaby

Here’s a shot from the kids’ game at half-time.

Children’s soccer game

I’d actually rather take pictures of the people in the stands than the players; which meant shooting across the field.

Spectators watch the action at Vancouver-Atlanta USL game

Still, the players’ faces are interesting too.

Hot action an a Vancouver-Atlanta USL soccer game

And I have to say, the game was damn entertaining. The visitors took two leads and Vancouver equalized both times. The goals, it must be admitted, were mostly scrambles and rebounds rather than cannon-shots from range, but still.

I actually managed to capture the winning goal, by Vancouver in the 88th minute. There was a high, soft corner from the keeper’s left; you can see the ball.

The winning goal sequence in a Vancouver-Atlanta USL soccer game

The keeper got his hands on it, but in a crowd. The ball came loose, maybe due to contact, and the visitors were heavily outnumbered in front of their own goal in the scramble; that was the game.

Goalmouth scramble in a Vancouver-Atlanta USL soccer game

The keeper was pissed enough, claiming he’d been fouled, to get a yellow card from the referee, who was a woman by the way. I dunno, there was contact for sure but she had good position on the play.

I do love pointing the big ol’ telephoto at sports.



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From: Giacomo (Aug 13 2008, at 00:39)

If the keeper stops the ball and holds it with two hands, nobody is technically allowed to challenge him; however, if he doesn't hold it firmly, then the challenge is allowed. To avoid problems, the convention referees follow in practice is that "as soon as the keeper touches the ball with two hands, nobody is allowed to touch him" -- it's less troublesome than judging if the ball is hold firmly or not. This ref probably went for the more literal interpretation, and judged that the ball was still loose, whereas the keeper would have liked the "standard" interpretation.

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From: Alexander Repty (Aug 13 2008, at 02:40)

Yup, that is definitely a foul on the goalkeeper. Vancouver's number 12 may not attack the goalkeeper in such a manner within the 6 yard box by the goal, so the goal should not have been given.

It's really good to see though that football ("soccer") is starting to draw crowds in North America. I wouldn't have expected such a large number of visitors at a 2nd league match.

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From: Antone Roundy (Aug 13 2008, at 05:59)

From the title to this post, I was expecting to see alpha male gorillas wiping out on their surfboards.

Soccer is good too thought...

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From: Marc Kubischta (Aug 13 2008, at 10:18)

I haven't seen a post about your telephoto lens before. I recognized your 21mm pancake but I don't recall anything about a 200mm. Is it a prime? Your composition is consistently excellent.

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From: Brent Marykuca (Aug 13 2008, at 15:16)

Hey, that's ME in photos #4 and #5! (Green shirt and sunglasses, front row of section K.) It was my first Whitecaps game (and my daughter's). If you're willing to share the full-res images, it will make a neat surprise for my wife (Stella, ex of Schema). If so ping me at ongoing at marykuca dot com.

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August 12, 2008
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