Ryan Raposo says he felt 'goosebumps' as the Vancouver Whitecaps made a winning return to BC Place.
After 539 days of having to play in neutral territory due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Whitecaps finally walked out in front of their home fans on Saturday. The Canadian side delivered, coming from 1-0 down to beat LAFC 2-1.
During that period away, 22-year-old Raposo turned out 30 times for the Whitecaps but, incredibly, this was the first time he's played at BC Place in front of supporters. It didn't take long for him to realise what he'd been missing out on.
“Coming out for the warmups, I had goosebumps right away,” the winger said after Saturday's match (via MLSsoccer.com). “We’ve kind of gotten used to playing away [and] kind of forgot what it's like to be home.”
Saturday's win, which came courtesy of second-half goals from Brian White and Scottish midfielder Ryan Gauld, extended the Whitecaps' unbeaten streak to eight matches, tying the club record.
Vancouver now have another eight home games to look forward to between now and the end of the season. Manager Marc dos Santos says his side will be making up for lost time as they look to close the three-point gap between themselves and the playoff places.
“We had to win our fans back, you know we have a [big] job to do to win the fanbase back because we've been far from them, we've struggled,” said Dos Santos. “So the win is important just to get them back.”
After scoring his first goal for the club late on to win the match, Designated Player Gauld spoke of the importance of sending supporters home happy.
“To play here in front of the fans for the first time at this stadium was a really good feeling," he said. "I know all the boys have missed playing here in front of the fans. So to get the opportunity to do it today was brilliant, so hopefully we sent them all home happy.”
Next up for the Whitecaps is a Canadian Championship clash against Canadian Premier League side Pacific FC before hosting Real Salt Lake at the end of August.