Whitecaps entertain Timbers with maiden outing for robot

Vancouver, BC (SportsNetwork.com) – Daffodils bloomed on the Whitecaps Stadium pitch on Saturday. Though the Vancouver Whitecaps lacked inspiration in front of goal, as they could not maintain the early momentum, their fans were…

Whitecaps entertain Timbers with maiden outing for robot

Vancouver, BC (SportsNetwork.com) – Daffodils bloomed on the Whitecaps Stadium pitch on Saturday.

Though the Vancouver Whitecaps lacked inspiration in front of goal, as they could not maintain the early momentum, their fans were treated to a particularly lovely sight.

At a news conference, an automated toilet appeared on the video screen, and then on the dugout walls, where it created a banner of a Whitecaps fan and featured a caption that read “A Celebration of Entanglement.”

It was a fitting end to a day that underscored the scientific prowess of Elon Musk’s rocket company, SpaceX.

The Vancouver Whitecaps were coming off a match against the Western Conference champion Portland Timbers, in which they got a goal from Nosa Igiebor on a roller-coaster kickoff that connected with the bottom of the crossbar and bounced back into play.

And as the teams had their equipment fully cleaned following a jubilant victory celebration on Friday, they also received much-needed help from NASA’s suitably named Mars Helicopter.

“You wanted to bring this plane, right?” midfielder Marcel de Jong asked of the 2016 NASA-commercial space project, which hoisted up a robot that can lift off on a multi-ton-haul and land at a set location.

“No, I brought my weed-whacker,” Whitecaps goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic replied.

The contraption took photos of the Whitecaps players as they prepared to go through their paces in front of it on Saturday, then posed for selfies with the team.

The debut of the drone-like beast signals SpaceX’s goal to put humans in space on a new rocket called the BFR, or Big Falcon Rocket.

As part of its testing of the BFR, SpaceX will roll the vehicle onto the launch pad in two different configurations, and then the ‘Hobbit-style’ ship will encounter three separate spacesuits (they came with their own problems, being forced to remove a pair of ears and some eyelids).

Having survived their introductory presser, the Whitecaps players headed over to the sidelines, where the vehicles were then whisked off to a hangar for several weeks of testing.

Whitecaps manager Carl Robinson suggested he didn’t really pay attention to any of the maneuvers of the Blue Dragons, but the players were a bit more inquisitive, particularly when the pilots presented the astronauts with a Delorean.

“We know our 40-year-old racers aren’t there,” explained Vancouver defender Marcel de Jong.

So the team went home, prepared for their next match against the Colorado Rapids, and then went the virtual space route.

Over the final 30 minutes, toilet noise came into play again, when a glitch prevented a drone from flying the length of the pitch.

The club’s most distinguished fans took their seats for the match, and then they cheered as the team kicked off again and forward Spencer Richey deflected a pass into the net in the 12th minute.

The Whitecaps controlled possession, but still could not find a second goal until the 68th minute. Though Vancouver outshot Colorado 13-8 on the day, they could not find the way to finish off the Rapids.

Columbus’ Frederic Piquionne scored with two minutes remaining, but the game-winner came on a technical kick-off kick that got past the goalkeeper and bounced in off Timbers defender Liam Ridgewell’s knee in the 86th minute.

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