Atiba Harris Empire Field
Bob Frid

Whitecaps FC wrap up Arizona preseason schedule with comfortable win

In their final training match of their second preseason camp in Arizona, Vancouver Whitecaps FC defeated local amateur side Arizona Sahuaros 6-1 on Saturday.

A first-half penalty by midfielder Terry Dunfield was following another strike by Long Tan before halftime at the Reach 11 Sports Complex in Phoenix, Arizona. Though the Sahuaros also found the back of the net before the break, the Blue and White secured a comfortable win with second-half goals by Atiba Harris, Nizar Khalfan, Omar Salgado, and Camilo da Silva Sanvezzo.

"It was a good performance, though we struggled a little bit at the beginning of the game," head coach Teitur Thordarson told "The Sahuaros came out and were very aggressive at the start of the game, but midway through the first half, we started to control the match. By the second half, we completely controlled the game and could have scored several more goals. It was good to play a game like this. We scored some goals and saw our attacking play a little bit more."

Thordarson played an experienced starting XI versus the Sahuaros, with Canadian international Dunfield opening the scoring from the penalty spot. After the home side equalized, former FC Tampa Bay striker Tan restored Vancouver's lead with the team's second goal, as Whitecaps FC took a 2-1 lead into halftime.

The 'Caps took control of the contest after the break, with experienced Major League Soccer campaigner Harris extending Vancouver's lead before substitute Khalfan made it 4-1. Two more substitutes in youngster Salgado and Brazilian trialist Sanvezzo added to the Whitecaps FC lead, as Vancouver proved too much for their amateur opponents in the second half.

Saturday's game concluded a schedule of five training matches during this second preseason spell in Arizona. This included games against MLS Western Conference rivals Chivas USA and LA Galaxy. "I was very happy with the games we played against the MLS teams down here," Thordarson said. "Though the results weren't always on our side, the games were good quality, and that was the important thing. Overall, it's been a great second camp here in Arizona for our team."

The 'Caps will have one more day of training in Arizona on Sunday before returning home to Vancouver on Monday and preparing for next weekend's Cascadia Summit at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Washington. Whitecaps FC will face MLS expansion cousins Portland Timbers on Saturday, March 5, at 4 p.m. PT before meeting Summit hosts Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday, March 6, at 3 p.m. PT.

Whitecaps FC scoring summary:
Terry Dunfield (penalty)
Long Tan
Atiba Harris
Nizar Khalfan
Omar Salgado
Camilo da Silva Sanvezzo

Vancouver Whitecaps FC (starting XI)
18.Jay Nolly; 34.Bilal Duckett, 4.Alain Rochat, 6.Jay DeMerit, 25.Jonathan Leathers; 19.Blake Wagner, 7.Terry Dunfield, 11.John Thorrington, 22.Shea Salinas; 9.Atiba Harris, 23.Long Tan