The 1979 Vancouver Whitecaps will go in as the Team of Distinction, 32 years after their Soccer Bowl victory, the NASL Championship. The Whitecaps defeated the Tampa Bay Rowdies 2-1 in the Soccer Bowl, before 66,843 fans at Giants Stadium in New York. However, there are those who will claim that the title was really won eight days earlier when the 'Caps' defeated the star studded New York Cosmos, in the semifinal, also played in New York.
In order to reach the final the team won the Western Division of the NASL's National Conference, then overcame the Dallas Tornado and Los Angeles Aztecs in the play offs before meeting the Cosmos in the National Conference final. The first game was in Vancouver with the Whitecaps winning 2-0 before 32,875 on goals from Trevor Whymark and Willie Johnston. They then had to travel to New York for the second leg, which ended with the Cosmos winning 3-2 in a shootout. With the teams tied at one game apiece a mini game was played which the Whitecaps won also in a shootout. In the final, against the Rowdies, two goals from Whymark clinched the title. The 1979 Vancouver Whitecaps were coached by Tony Waiters and the team in the final included Canadian internationals Bob Lenarduzzi, Bob Bolitho, Carl Valentine and Buzz Parsons along with Alan Ball, John Craven, Phil Parkes, Roger Kenyon, Ray Lewington, Kevin Hector, Whymark and Johnston.