Vancouver Whitecaps FC Reserves best FC Edmonton 4-2 Tuesday at Thunderbird Stadium

Four first-half goals carry 'Caps to victory over NASL outfit

VANCOUVER, BC   Vancouver Whitecaps FC Reserves bested North American Soccer League (NASL) side FC Edmonton 4-2 Tuesday on a sunny afternoon at Thunderbird Stadium.

The two Western Canadian squads opened with a fierce back and forth battle in the first half, with all six of the game's goals scored before the halftime whistle. 

Second-year winger/striker Kekuta Manneh notched a first-half brace for Whitecaps FC, while teammates Erik Hurtado and Sebastian Fernandez chipped in with a goal apiece. FC Edmonton would also answer in the first half with two goals from recently acquired British striker Tomi Ameobi.

"It was nice to see the energy and enthusiasm from a lot of young players out there," said Whitecaps FC assistant coach Gordon Forrest. "We're trying to think about the playing style from a club perspective: keeping possession, playing quick, attacking quick and when we don't have the ball working really hard to get it back. I think a lot of that was shown from the players out there, so we're very happy with the performance."

The 'Caps struck first in in the fourth minute. Hurtado intercepted a pass from Eddies keeper John Smith, beat the first defender before cutting the ball to an open Fernández, who easily tucked it under Smith. 

FC Edmonton would respond five minutes later, as Hanson Boakai made a dangerous run down the left of the box towards goal. He then sent a short cross to find Ameobi, who headed the ball into the back of the net to tie the game at one. 

Less than a minute later, Manneh gave the 'Caps their second lead of the match. The Gambian showed his poise in front of goal, after receiving a ball from Fernandez he calmly made a quick move to his left before unleashing a shot into the back of the net.

In the 17th minute, Manneh would again play a big role for the Blue and White. This time he was the distributor, as he made a run down the left side of the box before sliding a quick pass into Hurtado, who buried the ball into the bottom corner. 

The Eddies would again answer back as through Ameobi, who scored his second goal of the afternoon in the 26th minute to cut the ‘Caps lead to 3-2.

The back-and-fourth action continued late in the first half. In the 40th minute, midfielder Nicolas Mezquida sent in a cross from the right side, which was flicked on Fernandez. The ball would fall to a sprinting Manneh, who hit it first time into the bottom corner to put Vancouver up 4-2.

In the closing minutes of the first half, Whitecaps FC had some nervous moments in front of goal but defender Christian Dean, who started at left back but moved to the middle once Carlyle Mitchell left the match with an injury, deflected a shot off the goalline to keep the lead at two going into the break. 

The ‘Caps slowly built their attack to begin the second half, but were caught in a counter attack in the 57th minute as Fordyce struck a ball headed for the bottom corner. However, Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi made a diving save to steer the ball wide of the post.

The second half closed out with both sides creating several chances. Hurtado continued to push forward, while substitute Sam Adekugbe showed his pace on the left side of the pitch. But both keepers came up with big saves when called upon as the match ended in a 4-2 victory for Whitecaps FC. 

Vancouver's first team is back in action this Saturday when they host Colorado Rapids at BC Place. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. PT.

Whitecaps FC season tickets start at the prorated price of just $312 and single-match tickets start at $22, subject to applicable fees. The 'Caps also offer a flexible range of ticket products, including half-season tickets ($244), 5-packs ($149), student season tickets ($199), and a youth soccer half-season ticket ($100). For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.

Scoring Summary
4' - VAN - Sebastián Fernández (Erik Hurtado)
9' - EDM - Tomi Ameobi (Hanson Boakai)
10' - VAN - Kekuta Manneh (Sebastián Fernández)
17' - VAN - Erik Hurtado (Kekuta Manneh)
26' - EDM - Tomi Ameobi (Daryl Fordyce)
40' - VAN - Kekuta Manneh (Nicolás Mezquida, Sebastián Fernández)

Match Stats
Shots:  Vancouver 9 - Edmonton 6
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 6 - Edmonton 3
Saves: Vancouver 1 - Edmonton 2
Fouls: Vancouver 13 - Edmonton 25
Offsides: Vancouver 3 - Edmonton 1
Corners: Vancouver 4 - Edmonton 2

Cautions
42 - VAN - Erik Hurtado
55' - EDM - Milton Blanco
78' - VAN - Nicholas Prasad
89' - EDM - Frank Jonke

Whitecaps FC
77.Paolo Tornaghi; 27.Ethen Sampson (51.Nicholas Prasad* 45'), 24.Carlyle Mitchell (3.Sam Adekugbe 33'), 16.Johnny Leverón, 22.Christian Dean; 36.Bryce Alderson, 37.Mitch Piraux*; 19.Erik Hurtado, 29.Nicolás Mezquida, 23.Kekuta Manneh (38.Kianz Froese* 68'); 7.Sebastián Fernández (32.Marco Bustos* 45')

Subs not used: 44.Marco Carducci, 30.Jordan Haynes*, 52.Ali Musse*

*Whitecaps FC Residency

FC Edmonton
23.John Smits (21.Tyson Farago 45'); 2.Mike Banner, 5.Albert Watson, 12.Kareem Moses (25.Marko Aleksic 83'), 22.Michael Nonni; 19.Hanson Boakai (7.Horace James 67'), 8.Ritchie Jones (6.Edem Mortotsi 81), 10.Milton Blanco, 16.Daryl Fordyce; 13.Frank Jonke , 18.Tomi Ameobi (9.Sadi Jalali 81')

Subs not used: 24.Thomas Shores*, 20.Carlos Patino*,

* FCE Academy players