MLS Soccer Vanni Sartini, the Italian coach behind the Vancouver Whitecaps miracle: from last place to the playoffs

“Vancouver seems like a different team compared to the last few years, but I didn’t know it was run by Mr. Bean!” This line from Will Ferrell, a hugely popular comedian and minority partner in Los Angeles FC, would be enough to convey the degree of popularity achieved by Vanni Sartini44-year-old Tuscan coach, creator of the The Miracle of the Vancouver Whitecaps in the MLS. Picturesque figure, lanky, but above all expert strategist.

vancouver on maps


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Taking over from Marc Dos Santos on August 27, the Italian coach inherited the Cinderella of the League – last in the West with a devastating balance of three wins, seven draws and seven losses – dragging it to the playoffs with a record march from 26 points in 14 games. The return to the fortress of BC Place Stadium after the exile forced by the pandemic, the impact of Vanni Sartini in the locker room and the far-sighted turn towards the 3-4-1-2 module are the main ingredients of the masterpiece of the Italian technician: having positioned the Canadian city of British Columbia on the maps of the soccer.

the strange way

The title of a song by Max Pezzali, who has always been a great lover of America and its surroundings, would be perfect to define Sartini’s career in the world of football. Assistant to Davide Nicola in Livorno and Bari after the apprenticeship spent at the Prato de Mezzana Calcio club, in 2015 Sartini responded to the call of the FIGC dealing with international relations at the Center for Studies and Research of the Technical Sector of Coverciano. The train passes a year later. and Vanni does not lose the coincidence: the American Federation entrusts him with the prestigious role of training the technicians. The field souvenirHowever, he is too loud, so Sartini joins the Whitecaps first as an assistant and then as an interim coach.

Klopp in florentine sauce

Vanni Sartini is not a guy to ZeroAZero because in addition to knowing how to do with the blackboard he is a character instead of not. From his motivational speeches in the locker room to that extreme form Kloppian from harangue the crowdfrom the sampling of grimaces in the technical area to the performances in the press room: all so viral to catch the attention of Hollywood stars. In addition to Ferrell also his partner in crime Ryan Reynoldsa ‘Caps fan and co-owner of the Welsh team Wrexham, was spellbound by the florentine volcanic.

Aside from the draw decision day against the Seattle Sounders who sanctioned the postseason qualifying Sartini said:

“I’m happy the playoff game is in two weeks, because tonight we’re going to get so drunk we won’t be able to play for a while.”

In two weeks -with the first round of the playoffs in a direct match against Sporting Kansas City scheduled for Saturday the 20th at 11 p.m. Italian time- you know who to cheer forhoping that Sartini’s gang will have sobered up by then…

The MLS CUP playoff bracket


Goodbye New England Revolution

New York City-Atlanta United (Sunday 21 21:00)

Nashville-Orlando City (Wednesday 24 02:00)

Philadelphia Union-New York Red Bulls (Saturday 20 20:30)


Goodbye Colorado Rapids

Portland Timbers-Minnesota (Sunday 21 23:30)

Sporting Kansas City-Vancouver Whitecaps (Saturday 20 23:00)

Seattle Sounders-Real Salt Lake (Wednesday 24 04:30)

Where to watch the MLS playoffs

Major League Soccer (MLS) 2021 playoff games will be broadcast on the DAZN streaming platform, with original commentary in English.

Special thanks to Max Cristina from mlssocceritalya point of reference for football fans abroad

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