On a beautiful Tuesday afternoon at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, BC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC reserves (1W-3L-2D) defeated their Pacific Northwest rivals Seattle Sounders FC reserves (7W-1L-0D) 2-1 to capture their first-ever MLS Reserve League victory.
In what was a relatively even match, Whitecaps FC reserves received some timely goals from midfielder Michael Nanchoff and halftime substitute Long Tan to defeat the Reserve League's West Division leaders.
Whitecaps FC assistant coach Denis Hamlett, who coached Vancouver's second string on Tuesday, was pleased with his side’s performance. "I thought it was a good game. I thought both teams came out and competed and played hard. We needed to set the tone early and I thought we did that," Hamlett told whitecapsfc.com. "I thought Michael Nanchoff played well and scored a great goal, and I thought the response after they tied it up was important off the goal from Long Tan."
Nanchoff opened the scoring in the 21st minute off a Davide Chiumiento pass into Sounders FC box that saw the attacking midfielder take a beautiful touch and strike a hard, left-footed strike off the far post and into the back of the net to give the 'Caps reserves a 1-0 lead. Nanchoff’s goal ignited an impressive performance that saw him make several dangerous plays throughout his 90 minutes of work. This included a similar opportunity that was pushed away by Seattle goalkeeper Josh Ford in the second half.
Whitecaps FC reserves played a strong side against their Washington State opponents, with club captain Jay DeMerit seeing his first bit of competitive action since the Nutrilite Canadian Championship final, second leg, at Toronto FC on July 2. The United States international looked solid in his 45 minutes of action, playing his usual aggressive style of defending that allowed Vancouver's second string to take a 1-0 lead into the break.
Yet, it was experienced Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Joe Cannon that led the team to victory on the day. Cannon was strong in goal the entire match, especially in the final ten minutes, as he turned away numerous Sounders FC opportunities to move the 'Caps up two places in the Reserve League's West Division standings. Cannon made four saves on the afternoon and used his aggressive personality to vocally direct his Vancouver teammates to victory in front of an appreciative crowd at Swangard.
After the restart, Seattle's reserves made three changes, which immediately paid dividends. Substitute Nate Jaqua equalized for the visitors after wonderful build-up play in the midfield saw fellow second-half substitute Miguel Montano send fellow midfielder Lamar Neagle in behind the Whitecaps FC defenders. Neagle then found Jaqua with a square ball through the Whitecaps FC box, and the Sounders FC striker deposited his finish over a sprawling Cannon to even the match at 1-1 in the 53rd minute.
However, Whitecaps FC quickly replied with their own offensive creativity, as midfielder Philippe Davies found forward Nizar Khalfan deep in Seattle's half of the pitch. Khalfan carefully examined his options before finding Tan with a through ball that he safely tucked past Ford to give the ‘Caps a 2-1 lead in the 57th minute.
In the dying stages, Seattle tried their best to earn a result, swarming Vancouver's box and firing a variety of shots at Cannon, including one that struck the post. After the dust settled and Whitecaps FC reserves regained their composure, the final whistle blew to secure the 'Caps their first Reserve League victory of the season and take three points of an undefeated Sounders FC reserves squad that failed in their attempt to capture the West Division title.
Whitecaps FC reserves will look ahead to a trip to Oregon and a match versus Portland Timbers reserves on Sunday, August 21. After completing their August fixtures, Vancouver's second string will have two more Reserve League games in early September before concluding their schedule in early October.
21' - VAN – Michael Nanchoff (Davide Chiumiento, Omar Salgado)
53' – SEA – Nate Jaqua (Lamar Neagle, Miguel Montano)
57' – VAN – Long Tan (Nizar Khalfan, Philippe Davies)
Shots: Vancouver 9 - Seattle 11
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 5 – Seattle 6
Saves: Vancouver 4 – Seattle 3
Fouls: Vancouver 11 – Seattle 8
Offside: Vancouver 3 – Seattle 6
Corners: Vancouver 7 – Seattle 1
34' - VAN – Jeb Brovsky
Vancouver Whitecaps FC reserves
1.Joe Cannon; 3.Bilal Duckett, 14.Greg Janicki, 6.Jay DeMerit (8.Wes Knight 45’), 31.Russell Teibert (27.Alexandre Morfaw 64'); 12.Jeb Brovsky, 13.Michael Nanchoff, 15.Philippe Davies, 20.Davide Chiumiento (23.Long Tan 45’); 17.Omar Salgado (30.Ben Fisk 88'), 16.Nizar Khalfan
Subs not used: 24.Brian Sylvestre, 32.Caleb Clarke, 35.Derrick Bassi
Seattle Sounders FC reserves
29.Josh Ford; 14.Michael Tetteh, 34.Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (4.Patrick Ianni 45’), 26.Taylor Graham, 16.David Estrada; 27.Lamar Neagle (35.Danny Barrera 64’), 30.Amadou Sanyang, 3.Brad Evans (32.Miguel Montano 45’), 22.Mike Seamon; 2.Mike Fucito, 13.O’Brian White (21.Nate Jaqua 45’)
Subs not used: 37.Bryan Meredith