Vancouver's Simon Becher: From MLS NEXT Pro to breaking an MLS record


Step aside, Cucho Hernández. The mantle now belongs to Simon Becher.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s striker, thanks to a 16-minute brace in Saturday night’s 5-0 home rout of 10-man CF Montréal, is now the fastest player in MLS history to score his first four goals – clocking in at 87 minutes of action (across three games). 

By comparison: Cucho, a Colombian international who stormed into the league last summer as the Columbus Crew’s club-record signing from English side Watford FC, reached that mark in 89 minutes of action.

Becher, with a Matchday 6 brace (and an assist) during his first-ever MLS start, has hit this milestone after mostly being a super-sub. He spent last year in MLS NEXT Pro before getting promoted to the first team in November, utilizing the league’s expanded development pathway to power Vancouver’s first win of 2023.

"To have the first team staff be able to come to all the games and give feedback, pull you up for trainings and then when you’re given an opportunity, you're more ready to take them when you're more comfortable," Becher said about making the jump from the second-year league. "So I think it was a huge year, at least for me, for growth coming out of college to adapt to the professional game, and I think that it was valuable."

Becher originally joined Vancouver’s organization as a mid-first-round SuperDraft selection (No. 16 overall) in 2022 after playing collegiately at both Holy Cross and Saint Louis. The former US youth international then became Whitecaps FC 2's top scorer last season with eight goals, adding four assists over 22 appearances.

Looking for simple play from their breakout striker, Vancouver head coach Vanni Sartini was left “satisfied” by the man-of-the-match performance.

"Simon did what we expected him to do," said Sartini postgame. "Very good in the box, fighting, doing very good things when he had to take less than two touches, being a little bit in confusion when he has to do more than two touches."

Perhaps an expanded role awaits Becher, who’s making the most of his chances with DP striker Sergio Córdova possibly sidelined through mid-May (hamstring). He’s also not the only former NEXT Pro player guiding Vancouver, as Ali Ahmed recorded 1g/1a against Montréal. The wingback, similarly, praised Becher’s breakout moment.

"We took a lot of the same steps together, both getting called up at different points last year, we both signed contracts, going to preseason and starting tonight," Ahmed said. "It’s just really special, especially to have him, somebody so humble, such a hard worker, works so hard every day. I think it's definitely a special night for both of us."

Vancouver, Becher and Ahmed have a quick turnaround up next, hosting defending MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield champions LAFC for a Concacaf Champions League quarterfinal leg-one match on Wednesday evening (10 pm ET).