Soccer Bowl '79

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Soccer Bowl '79
Soccer Bowl '79.png
EventSoccer Bowl
DateSeptember 8, 1979 (1979-09-08)
VenueGiants Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
Man of the MatchAlan Ball
RefereeGino D'Ippolito (USA)

Soccer Bowl '79 was the championship final of the 1979 NASL season. The National Conference champion Vancouver Whitecaps played the American Conference champion Tampa Bay Rowdies. The match was played on September 8, 1979 at Giants Stadium, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. This was the second straight year that Giants Stadium hosted the Soccer Bowl. The Whitecaps won the match, 2–1, to claim their first North American championship.[1][2]


Vancouver Whitecaps[edit]

The Vancouver Whitecaps qualified for the playoffs by virtue of winning the Western Division of the National Conference with 172 points. The Whitecaps defeated the Dallas Tornado in a first round series, two games to none. The first leg was played on August 15, 1979 in Dallas. The 'Caps won the match, 3–2. The return leg was played in Vancouver on August 18, 1979 before 30,328 fans. The home side did not disappoint, delivering a series winning, 2–1, victory.

In the conference semifinal series they went up against a divisional foe that knew them well, the Los Angeles Aztecs. Game 1 of the series proved to be their biggest test yet. When regulation ended the teams were level at 2–2. After 15 minutes of scoreless golden goal extra time the teams moved on to an NASL shoot-out, which the Aztecs won, 2–1. With their backs against the wall in Game 2, the Whitecaps delivered a gritty, 1–0, victory to tie the series at one game apiece. The squads took a 10-minute intermission before returning to the pitch to play a 30-minute mini-game tie breaker. Vancouver won it, 1–0, sending 32,375 fans home happy and themselves into the National Conference finals.

In what would prove to be one of the most memorable series in NASL history, they faced the defending champion and number one seeded New York Cosmos. The first game was played in Vancouver on August 29, 1979 before 32,875. The Whitecaps top defense stymied the high powered Cosmos' attack to the tune of 2–0. The second leg was played at Giants Stadium on September 1, 1979, with 44,109 in the stands and millions more watching the nationally televised match on ABC. The affair was a dogfight that saw Willie Johnston level the score at 2–2 with a diving header the 85th minute to force extra time.[3]

The Cosmos won a shootout, 3–1, after neither team was able to break through in the 15 minutes of extra time. This tied the series at 1 game apiece, and set the stage for another 30-minute mini-game. In the mini-game each teamed thought they'd taken the lead, only to have referee Toros Kaibritjain wave off the goal. And so, after another scoreless 30 minutes, a shootout was again the order of the day. This time it however, it was Vancouver who would come out on top, 3–2, to win the National Conference title and earn a hard-fought, well-deserved spot in the Soccer Bowl.

Tampa Bay Rowdies[edit]

The Tampa Bay Rowdies' road to the finals, though not nearly as bumpy as Vancouver's, had its challenges as well. Tampa Bay qualified for the playoffs by virtue of winning the Eastern Division of the National Conference with 169 points. The Rowdies easily dispatched the Detroit Express in a first round series, two games to none. The first leg was played in the climate-controlled Pontiac Silverdome on August 15, 1979. The Rowdies won convincingly that evening, 3–0. The return leg was played at Tampa Stadium in the afternoon heat of August 19, 1979, before 27,210 fans. The Rowdies again proved to be too much for the Express, delivering a series winning, 3–1, victory.

In the conference semifinal series they went up against the upstart Philadelphia Fury, who had coolly swept the number one seeded Houston Hurricane out of the playoffs. On the evening of August 23, 1979, after four second-half goals, game 1 of the series ended level at 2–2. Following a scoreless overtime period, the teams moved to a shoot-out, which the Rowdies won, 2–0.[4] Game 2 was played on a hot and muggy Florida afternoon before 21,112 sweat-drenched fans, with national television coverage from ABC. Tampa Bay counter punched their way to a 1–0 victory on Steve Wegerle's goal and Željko Bilecki's save of a late penalty kick on August 23, 1979.[5] The win propelled them into the Eastern Conference finals.

Their opponent for this series was the Western Division winner, San Diego Sockers, whom the Rowdies had eliminated the previous year via the mini-game. The Sockers took game 1 on August 30, 1979 at home, by the score of 2–1. When the teams returned to Tampa, the pressure was squarely on the Rowdies' shoulders. In a match played under threat of cancellation[6] due to Hurricane David on September 2, 1979, and reminiscent of the previous day's Whitecaps-Cosmos tilt, 38,766 fans witnessed a 2–2 draw that needed a shoot-out to break the deadlock. Tampa Bay wasted no time converting their first three shots, while goalie Winston DuBose snuffed out all three Sockers' attempts.

The ensuing 30-minute mini-game had early drama as the diminutive Ivan Grnja scored in the third minute, just 27 seconds after entering the match as a substitute for the injured John Gorman. From there the Rowdies hung on the rest of the way for a 1–0 win, the American Conference title, and their second straight trip to the Soccer Bowl.[7]

Game summary[edit]

(match recap to come)[8]

Championship results[edit]

Vancouver Whitecaps2–1Tampa Bay Rowdies
Whymark Goal 12:37'
Whymark Goal 59:37' (Ball)
Van der Veen Goal 22:25' (Anderson)
Attendance: 50,699
Referee: Gino D'Ippolito (USA)[9]
Tampa Bay
GK 1 England Phil Parkes
D 7 Canada Buzz Parsons Substituted off 69:42'
D 4 England John Craven (c)
D 6 England Roger Kenyon
D 5 Canada Bob Lenarduzzi
M 2 England Ray Lewington
M 23 England Alan Ball
M 21 England Carl Valentine
F 11 England Kevin Hector
F 9 England Trevor Whymark
F 20 Scotland Willie Johnston
M 10 Canada Bob Bolitho Substituted in 69:42'
GK 22 Zimbabwe Rhodesia Bruce Grobbelaar
D 17 England Peter Daniel
M 8 England Jon Sammels
England Tony Waiters
GK 2 Canada Željko Bilecki
D 3 Scotland John Gorman Yellow card 85:07'
D 22 England Barry Kitchener
D 6 South Africa Mike Connell Yellow card 66:24'
D 21 England Manny Andruszewski
M 9 England Peter Anderson
M 5 Netherlands Jan van der Veen Yellow card 78:41'
M 8 Canada Wes McLeod
F 7 South Africa Steve Wegerle Substituted off 70:50'
F 20 Chile Oscar Fabbiani Yellow card 86:43'
F 10 England Rodney Marsh (c) Yellow card 33:37' Substituted off 78:37'
M 15 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Petar Baralić Substituted in 70:50'
F 23 Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Ivan Grnja Substituted in 78:37'
GK 1 United States Winston DuBose
D 16 England Farrukh Quraishi
M 12 United States Perry Van der Beck
England Gordon Jago

1979 NASL Champions: Vancouver Whitecaps

Soccer Bowl MVP:
Alan Ball (Vancouver)
Assistant referees:
United States John Davies
Canada Derek Smith

Television: ABC (Simulcast on CTV in Canada)
Announcers: Jim McKay, Paul Gardner


Overall Totals[11]
Statistic Vancouver Tampa Bay
Goals scored 2 1
Total shots 13 10
Shots on target 6 6
Saves 5 4
Corner kicks 7 8
Fouls 29 16
Offsides 1 4
Yellow cards 0 5
Red cards 0 0

See also[edit]


  1. ^ NASL. "NASLSoccerBowl - History - Past Winner". North American Soccer League.
  2. ^ NASL. "NASL 1968-1984 - Yearly Result". North American Soccer League.
  3. ^ "Reading Eagle - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 15 December 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "1979 NASL Conference Semifinal Highlights Philadelphia Fury v. Tampa Bay Rowdies". YouTube. Retrieved 15 December 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "NASL 1979 Playoffs: Tampa Bay 1, Philadelphia 0". YouTube. Retrieved 15 December 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Lakeland Ledger - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 15 December 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "St. Petersburg Times - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 15 December 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ Soccer Digest. May 1980. p. 24–33.
  9. ^ Soccer Bowl '79 Media Guide. 1979. p. 8.
  10. ^ "Photograph" (JPG). Retrieved 15 December 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ Soccer Digest. May 1980. p. 24.

External links[edit]