A day after clashing for the first time in Major League Soccer, Vancouver Whitecaps FC reserves (0W-3L-2D) came from behind to earn a 2-2 home draw with West Division rivals LA Galaxy reserves (1W-5L-1D) in the MLS Reserve League on Sunday.
Long Tan struck twice in the second half for the 'Caps second string, as they overcame a two-goal deficit on a wet and overcast day on Bell Pitch at Empire Field. This after trialist Paulinho Le Petit and Hector Jimenez had scored for the Galaxy reserves.
Sunday's contest saw fit-again midfielder John Thorrington make a start against the Southern California outfit, with the former Chicago Fire man coming through a planned 20-minute run-out with no ill effects. He was then replaced by Alexandre Morfaw on 21 minutes.
It was the Galaxy reserves that had the better of the first half. Le Petit had the first genuine chance of the match on 29 minutes when he headed Paolo Cardozo's corner over the Whitecaps FC crossbar on 29 minutes. Two minutes later, Le Petit took advantage of a 'Caps turnover to score the game's opening goal with a fine finish.
Vancouver's response to falling came through a Tan header on 32 minutes and a Nizar Khalfan shot on 41 minutes - both of which missed the target. It meant LA's reserves had a one-goal lead at the break.
The Galaxy second string looked to have taken a seemingly commanding lead on 51 minutes when Jimenez took a pass from youngster Jack McBean before rounding 'Caps goalkeeper Jay Nolly and putting the ball into an empty net for 2-0.
Though two goals down, the 'Caps reserves began their fight back, with Residency product Ben Fisk playing a key role in the turnaround after coming on for Pete Vagenas shortly before the hour mark. It was the Canadian youth international's low cross that picked out an unmarked Tan at the far post to make it 2-1 on 60 minutes.
While LA's reserves were a constant threat going forward, Vancouver's reserves opened up their Galaxy counterparts for a second time on 71 minutes. Morfaw's fine through ball for Tan allowed the Chinese goalscorer to strike home his second goal of the match past LA goalkeeper Brian Perk.
With the reserve match level in the dying stages, LA had further chances through goalscorer Le Petit and a Cardozo free kick, while Perk was called into action in the 90th minute to stop a well-driven strike by Khalfan. In the end, both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils, with Whitecaps FC still in search of their first win in the Reserve League.
In charge of the 'Caps reserves on Sunday, assistant coach Colin Miller was pleased his side showed a fighting spirit to earn a draw. "I thought the first-half performance and spells of the second-half performance was disappointing from our side," Miller told whitecapsfc.com. "I had some strong words with the players at halftime, and thankfully, we got a positive response. There were some real pluses in today's game. Young Ben Fisk came on and changed the game with his enthusiasm and his quality, so that was pleasing. I also thought young Russell Teibert did well for his first game at left fullback."
Whitecaps FC reserves will now look forward to two Reserve League games versus their two Pacific Northwest rivals next month. They host Seattle Sounders FC reserves at Burnaby Lake West Field #1 on Tuesday, August 9, before travelling to Oregon to meet Portland Timbers reserves on Sunday, August 21.
31' - LA – Paulinho Le Petit
51' – LA – Hector Jimenez (Jack McBean)
60' – VAN – Long Tan (Ben Fisk)
71' – VAN – Long Tan (Alexandre Morfaw)
Shots: Vancouver 8 - Los Angeles 15
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 3 - Los Angeles 5
Saves: Vancouver 3 - Los Angeles 1
Fouls: Vancouver 11 - Los Angeles 10
Offsides: Vancouver 6 - Los Angeles 4
Corners: Vancouver 1 - Los Angeles 2
33' - VAN – Greg Janicki
86' – VAN - Alexandre Morfaw
Vancouver Whitecaps FC reserves
18.Jay Nolly; 8.Wes Knight, 3.Bilal Duckett (35.Derrick Bassi 89'), 14.Greg Janicki, 31.Russell Teibert; 12.Jeb Brovsky, 11.John Thorrington (27.Alexandre Morfaw 21'), 33.Pete Vagenas (30.Ben Fisk 58'), 13.Michael Nanchoff (32.Caleb Clarke 76'); 16.Nizar Khalfan, 23.Long Tan
Subs not used: 24.Brian Sylvestre, 15.Philippe Davies
LA Galaxy reserves
24.Brian Perk; 27.Bryan Jordan, 15.Daniel Keat (43.Drew Murphy 85'), 21.Dustin McCarty, 28.Ryan Thomas; 30.Paolo Cardozo, 8.Chris Birchall (73.Jeffrey Payares 45'), 16.Hector Jimenez, 36.Paulinho Le Petit; 25.Miguel Lopez (17.Adam Cristman 45'), 32.Jack McBean
Subs not used: 31.Kevin Guppy, 29.Kyle Davies