Whitecaps FC 2 open the 2016 USL season against Western Conference side Orange County Blues FC at Anteater Stadium on Saturday. Catch the action live at 7 p.m. on whitecapsfc2.com.
WFC2 are set to launch their second season within the USL. The roster is dressed with a number of returning players from the 2015 squad, all of which were able to participate in a full eight-week preseason, doubling the length of last year's.
“We’re excited,” states head coach Alan Koch. “It’s obviously one thing to play a full preseason, but it’s another to play a professional team for three points on the road. We’re playing the western conference regular season champs from last year in the very first game of the season, so that’s a challenge we’re excited to embrace.”
To make matters more interesting for this week’s match in Orange County, the young ‘Caps will have to face the reality of players being away on international duty.
“A number of the young guys are with the national team, Marco Carducci, Marco Bustos, Kadin Chung, and Alphonso Davies, so it will give us an opportunity to test our roster,” said Koch.
ORANGE COUNTY BLUES FC
Noteworthy returning players to the Orange County team that finished with a 14W-9L-6D record in 2015 include midfielder Didier Crettenand, who recorded seven goals and three assists last season. Also with the team is the 2015 USL Goalkeeper of the Year Brandon Miller, who was recently included in a list of young talents with potential to compete at the MLS level.
Strengthening the Blues FC back line will be defenders Andrae Campbell and Jack McCracken. McCracken started a majority of matches as the right fullback proving to be a vital piece in their defensive play. Campbell joins the team from Wilmington Hammerheads after clocking 1,938 minutes and adding a goal to the campaign.
The three matchups of 2015 set a precedent for the level of excitement that would surround the competition between these two teams.
In the first match, eight cards were handed out, including a red that left Vancouver shorthanded from the 33rd minute onwards. Orange County was able to capitalize with the man advantage resulting in a 2-0 loss for the ‘Caps.
The second game featured five goals in the first half. Unfortunately, Whitecaps FC 2 were not able to tie it up in the last ’45 leaving the match at a 3-2 win for Orange County.
The two sides traded goals in the third and final match of the season, resulting in a 1-1 draw. Although no team was able to pull ahead, there was action late into the game with two cards being handed out in the 90th minute.
It is fair to say that these two teams have created an intense rivalry, and we can expect to see a highly competitive opening match.
This year, every Tier 1 ‘Caps Club MLS membership includes three open tickets to WFC2 matches. Members can select their matches and theme days online through Account Manager. Information on theme days is available at whitecapsfc.com/wfc2/themedays.
Youth season passes are also available for $30 all in. For more information contact email@example.com or call 604-484-7862.