by David Falk
Previously: EPLWA Road Trip: Wenatchee!
My Evergreen Premier League road trip to Vancouver was planned for one of the biggest league matches of the year when the Spokane Shadow visited Vancouver Victory FC in a late-season battle with title ramifications. The fun in advance was that I was able to get there on Tuesday night for a Thursday night match. That meant that all of Wednesday could be about exploring greater Vancouver.
I stopped by Fort Vancouver, Pearson Air Museum, downtown Vancouver and also part of the Columbia River waterfront. It was cool to see parts of the state I had never been to and also to give myself some context about the area where V2FC is springing up from. The weather was great and car trips to Camas (great historic downtown, theatre and looming paper mill) and Portland (yes, Voodoo Donuts. Yes, Gustav’s for German food and beer) were a fun addition to the Vancouver stay.
The Victory arrived in 2014 to bring elite adult soccer to Vancouver and Clark County. The club has made big strides in sponsorships, fan gear, attendance and competitive play. I looked forward to seeing McKenzie Stadium and taking in the sights of a V2FC home match.
Thursday July 10 was a sunny day. I arrived at the stadium to find a very nice venue with a large covered stand inset on a hill and another covered stand opposite it. The Victory were putting up sponsor sideboards and up in the distance I could see Muchas Gracias Mexican Food setting up a stand. Later, Victory owner Barrett Goddard took me on a tour and introduced me to the vendors. Nice, professional set-up.
The match was close. Vancouver felt like they didn’t play at their best. In the end the eventual EPLWA Champion Spokane Shadow took a 2-1 win. V2FC would finish third in their very first season. The match drew 425 fans. The Vanguard supports the Victory with chants and smoke (pyro.) This match featured a smaller group from them and there was no smoke.
It was a great trip to Southwest Washington. The soccer atmosphere was good, the food along the way was excellent, and there are plenty of places to see and things to do. Vancouver’s massive, industrial Columbia River waterfront might seem a bit distant and daunting, but it is worth exploring as well. Vancouver is a working class town with vibrant subcultures.