All hail the Vancouver Whitecaps!

And so it came to pass that the Vancouver Whitecaps would win the Voyageurs Cup.

Not without the inevitable angst and a few doubts along the way but, in the end, the Whitecaps were deserved winners over Toronto FC in the Canadian Championship final.

But there must have been more than a few Whitecaps fans who felt a shiver of trepidation when the starting lineups were announced.

The thought of Jake Nerwinski lining up against Lorenzo Insigne felt like a recipe for chaos on the right side of the Vancouver defence but, like all recipes these days, the preamble and promise did not live up to the taste test.

Nerwinski reduced the Italian to an ephemeral presence who was forced to drop deep to get into the action and, somewhere in Insigne’s subconscious, there must have been the ominous foreshadowing of games to come where teammates make all the wrong choices at all the wrong times.

Nerwinski and the whole defence were once again helped out by the tireless presence of Andres Cubas who, at one stage, seemed so intent on harrying TFC back toward their own goal that it didn’t seem impossible that he might force the ball into the back of the net with a tackle.

But everybody contributed. Dajome and Raposo did sterling work in the wing back roles (and Gressel gave a pleasing cameo of just how good his delivery can be) while White and Cavallini were a constant annoyance to the TFC backline.

The star of the show though was Ryan Gauld, particularly in the first half. The Scot ran rings around a lumbering Michael Bradley and helped create enough chances to push Vancouver to a bigger lead than the slender one goal they held at the break.

The second half turned out to be a salutatory reminder of the weaknesses this team still possesses.

The inability to build on a lead, the overwhelming desire to drop far too deep and the frustrating habit of misplacing even the simplest of passes when the pressure is on.

They bent but they did not break however and, while being forced to a penalty shootout was probably rough justice based on the tenor of the game as a whole, it is by far the best way to win (and worst way to lose) any important game of football.

Whether this game gives the team the self-belief it so clearly needs or turns out to be yet another false dawn remains to be seen.

But Tuesday evening was a reminder of why we go to the games, why we follow the team no matter how terrible they can be and why the reward of the good times is worth the endless risk of the bad.

Time for the Soccer Shorts player ratings!

Cropper-6, Dajome-6, Raposo-6, Nerwinski-7, Veselinovic-6.5, Blackmon-6.5, Teibert-6, Cubas-7, Gauld-7.5*, Cavallini-6, White-6.5 (Gressel-6, Baldisimo-5.5, Godinho-6 Ricketts-5)

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