If there was any doubt that Whitecaps fans have accepted Blas Perez as one of their own, it was put to rest yesterday.
Quick history lesson: In Perez’s four seasons with FC Dallas, he was enemy #1 among Whitecaps supporters. He was loathed for his gamesmanship and fans were not shy about sharing their feelings about him.
In a bit of a controversial move, Perez was acquired by the Whitecaps this offseason.
Our soccer writer extraordinaire, Rituro, wrote a scathing article on Perez’s antics.
Now, if Rituro wrote this article last October, he would have been heralded as a hero (I still consider him a hero for working the term ‘dark arts’ into the headline). Blasting Blas was a pastime for ‘Caps fans.
The problem? He wrote it yesterday, less than a week after a Whitecaps win, one that Perez helped contribute to.
Here’s the opening line from his article:
I don’t care if he drew the winning penalty against a hated rival, as he did on Saturday against the Seattle Sounders. I’m still not a fan of Blas Pérez.
Whitecaps management must have been somewhat concerned how Perez would have been received by the Whitecaps faithful. Good news on the front, because there’s a new enemy #1 for Whitecaps supporters and his name is Rituro!
Some of the best fan reaction I’ve seen:
The writer loves the Canucks and thinks guys like Burrows Bieksa and Kesler can do no wrong, yet lights up the Caps for a guy that’s one start into his career here. Awesome…
Not sure any of that is true…
Coming from the journalist who wrote ‘TOP 18 HOTTEST GUYS IN MLS.’
People know Vancity Buzz has more than one writer, right?
I appreciate his experience. His “antics” playing for Caps have been within the rules IMO.
Maybe he’s reborn! Give him a chance?
That’s just hurtful.
#thatrituroguy you’re out to lunch.
That just made me hungry…
Get over it…he’s one of us now and deserves our 100% support
waste of time. don’t read
Word of warning.
And the best one:
Is this guy f___ing serious…vancity buzz needs to stop commenting on sports because they have no idea what they are talking about. F___ing support your players man it doesn’t matter. You’re not gonna take diving out of soccer whether north Americans like it or not and it’s not a f___ing issue. Go in to the box defender makes a sliding challenge and you go down f___ing how it goes. Winning away from home against our rivals with 2 pks that’s f___in footy man watch any league in any country. Game has high emotion and of course the team who gives up the pk is gonna complain just like we would have if it wasnt called. You have had article after article about the canucks and caps that are just so far off and so classic vancouverite who’s never played a sport in their life. Seriously you guys need to sort it out.
We love our readers! =-)
To be clear: Rituro is a talented writer and I’m glad that he isn’t afraid to express an unpopular opinion.
Fans are going to fan, and we shouldn’t expect anything less. Perez is going to get the benefit of the doubt now that he’s wearing Whitecaps colours, just as he never got the benefit of the doubt when he was playing for the opposition.
Now that he’s a member of the Whitecaps, Perez will be appreciated for how hard he works and how he does whatever it takes to win. And he was certainly effective on Saturday.
“I thought Blas Pérez was one of the best players on the field,” head coach Carl Robinson told reporters. “I thought he was excellent in his hold-up play and brought leadership into the young team that we have.”
Here’s the penalty that Perez drew on Saturday against the Sounders:
Was it a dive? Does it matter? Both are interesting debates when you support a soccer team.
Diving/embellishment/simulation are a part of the game when it comes to soccer and every team in the world has an element of it. The question with regards to Perez is if he takes it too far.
I think you can make the argument that Perez helped this along, as he leans to his right as Chad Marshall comes in for the tackle. It’s hardly the worst thing you’ll see in a soccer game and not something I’d be terribly concerned with with regards to the reputation of the club. Furthermore, Marshall makes an aggressive move, going right through Perez to get to the ball.
I think that you can make a good case that the correct call was made. You’re allowed to protect the ball with good body positioning.
But is Perez reborn? Of course not. He’s the same guy that fans despised last year and it’s pretty hilarious that such vitriol is directed at anyone that dare say something negative about him now.
The larger issue at hand here is about fan loyalty. Whitecaps supporters showed it in droves yesterday.
When a guy like Perez is involved in anything remotely questionable, the opposition screams bloody murder.
Sounders fans were certainly doing that on Saturday.
— Stephen (@enloes) March 22, 2016
It's one thing to be 0-3, it's another when you're 0-3 because of Blas Perez. He's like the Ted Cruz of MLS. #SEAvVAN
— alejandro (@lejandrotho) March 20, 2016
Perez is one of those guys that you hate when he’s on the opposition, but love (tolerate?) when he’s on your team. Whether Whitecaps fans thought the call was borderline or not, they proved one thing: Perez is now ‘our guy’.