VANCOUVER, B.C. - It's been a long time coming, and there's been a lot of years of heartache along the way, but the Vancouver Whitecaps finally lifted their first Voyageurs Cup with a commanding 4-2 aggregate win over the Montreal Impact in the Amway Canadian Championship final second leg.
Goals from Octavio Rivero and Tim Parker saw Vancouver win 2-0 on the night, to become the 2015 Canadian Champions and secure a spot in next season's CONCACAF Champions League.
"It's great for the club," a jubilant Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson told reporters after the match. "It feels nice to win. We're trying to create something here at this club. People kept reminding me that we hadn't won it. Today, we made a little bit of history, which is fantastic, and hopefully it's the start of many.
"We've managed to win the Cascadia Cup two years in a row, which is great. But we haven't done this. It's a first step. Everyone wants success overnight. It very rarely happens. It's a process. With processes and young players come good times and bad times. [Tonight's a] good time."
Robinson had made it clear that the Canadian Championship was a key priority for the club and reaffirmed that position by fielding a very strong lineup for the match, making just one change from the side that beat FC Dallas on Saturday.
"I get reminded that we haven't [fielded] a strong team," Robinson added. "That winds me up a little bit because whoever I put in the team is a strong player. They wouldn't be at this football club if I didn't have faith in them.
"I take it as personal but I wanted to leave it in no doubt today. My team's in a good vein of form at the moment. The group are getting a little bit of chemistry and it was an easy decision for me."
It was a decision that paid full dividends, with the Whitecaps putting in a decisive display from the very first kick, much to Robinson's delight.
Vancouver went into the match in a strong position after scoring two away goals in the first leg in Montreal. It set up a tie that was theirs to lose and Robinson admitted to weighing up how to approach the game with his players.
"I didn't know whether to put a bit of pressure on them or try and take the pressure off them," Robinson said. "I challenged them. I said to them, listen, they don't come around too often games like this. We're at home, it's in our court, time to step up boys. And they certainly done that. Each and every single one of them. What a professional performance that was. I'm so bloody proud of them today."
With one piece of silverware now in the trophy cabinet this season, the Whitecaps are hoping to add some more before the end of the year and have their eyes on the Supporters' Shield, MLS Cup, Cascadia Cup and a quarterfinal place in the CONCACAF Champions League. And Robinson is hoping the Canadian Championship win will spur his squad on to further success.
"I've told them to enjoy it tonight because they deserve it," Robinson added. "The performance, the way we managed the game, the way we didn't get caught up in anything. I think it could have over boiled at times, but we didn't. For a group so young, they showed a lot of maturity tonight. We're still early stages. We're still building at this football club."