VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The Vancouver Whitecaps go for a third win in five tries Wednesday in Minnesota but still have some work to do to prove to the experts that they’re a team on the rise.
The Whitecaps sit 517th on the latest global club soccer rankings produced by FiveThirtyEight. Vancouver sits wedged in between Scottish premiership side St. Mirren, and second division Braunschweig from Germany.
Six teams from North American soccer’s second tier, the USL Championship, are ranked higher than the Whitecaps, including noted power houses Phoenix Rising, Louisville City, and Orange County.
The ranking certainly offers room for improvement but is a far cry from former CEO Paul Barber’s proclamation that Vancouver would be a top-25 club in the world when the Whitecaps entered Major League Soccer 10 years ago.
But, like the stock market, the numbers are ever changing. The Whitecaps have seven points from their first four games including a 2-0 win over Montreal Saturday at their temporary home base outside Salt Lake City.
Vancouver goes after a third win of the season in Minnesota Wednesday night in just their fifth game on the MLS schedule. A victory and the ‘Caps could sit as high as second place in the Western Conference standings by Thursday morning.
The team also spent more money on transfer fees than any other professional club in North and Central America in 2020. Vancouver last qualified for the MLS playoffs in 2017.
Continued COVID-19-related border restrictions have wreaked havoc on the Whitecaps’ operations too. The club played just four home games at BC Place in 2020, finishing last season based in Portland while shifting to a new home in Utah this spring.
English Premier League champions Manchester City are the top-ranked team in the FiveThirtyEight global rankings. Former Whitecap Alphonso Davies’ Bayern Munich side sits second.