After using his 'Caps Points through the 'Caps Club Loyalty website, Matthew Lo had the opportunity to be a reporter for the day and cover the inaugural Whitecaps FC Alumni Match vs. Whitecaps FC 2 at BC Place.
WOW! Even though I’m typing this up hours after the fact, I still can’t believe that I got chosen to be the match day reporter for the Whitecaps FC Alumni vs. Whitecaps FC 2 (WFC2) match. But, after entering a draw through the Caps Club Loyalty website and winning the experience, here I am doing a write-up on the match and giving you, the reader of this here article on said website, a blow-by-blow (or play-by-play, depending on how you want to look at it) description of what went down. After all, seeing as how I’m technically playing reporter for the day, I need to keep a professional look, here!
Before I go into anything further with a breakdown of what happened on the day, there’s a certain bunch of people I need to thank for allowing me to do this: Bianca Bertelli, Jason McBride and the whole fan services group of my favourite sports team, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, for giving me the opportunity to write an article for the team website. So, thanks a million! Enough of the small stuff. Let’s get down to business, shall we? Good.
Now, with this being the appetizer for the main attraction, Whitecaps FC vs. Philadelphia Union, you probably think there would be only a few people around to see both games. Well, 1,200-1,500 people showed up for this little function (estimated figure, but then again, who’s counting?) As I got comfortable after being talked to and given a pen and using the back of my entry letter as my so-called “canvas” to write up my notes for the game, I thought, ‘Hmm… I hope there will be a good time had by the crowd.’ Well, I got a lot of entertainment for the five dollar ticket, mind you, but you don’t have to take my word for it, as I’ve got the play-by-play of some of the best events of the game.
In the first half, I was just getting comfortable in the press box when Billy Schuler of WFC2 (or as the supporters groups call them, the “thundercaps”) came in on a pass from Caleb Clarke. Jay Nolly, he of the last three years of the D2 team and the inaugural year of the MLS era, dove in for a save. But then, Schuler went around and scored, giving WFC2 a quick 1-0 lead on the day. Of course, little did myself, Jason, and the fans know that it would be the start of a figurative bloodbath!
Once Schuler got the goal scoring started in the first minute, the goals were all coming from the young guns. Case in point being two minutes after the first goal, Clarke scored on a header via a Jordan Haynes cross, resulting in a quick 2-0 lead for WFC2.
In the 12th minute, a WFC2 foul led to a free kick for the alumni just outside their penalty area, and a perfect range for a direct shot. John Catliff stepped up and stroked it, but it was just above the net, leading to a goal kick.
WFC2 just kept on coming with chances galore, and scored two more goals; the first from Schuler after a beautiful give and go with Brett Levis, and the second from Ben McKendry who capitalized off a Jay DeMerit mistake. When the smoke cleared from the first half, WFC2 were firmly in control with a 4-0 lead.
From what I saw in the first half, I had two men of the match: one from each team. For WFC2, I chose Schuler because of his two goals, and for the alumni, Tiarnan King was giving the young players fits with his trickiness.
In the second half WFC2, who were confident and smelling blood after their four goal explosion, started right where they left off. Victor Blasco got things going with a shot in the second minute, but substitute goalkeeper Srdjan Djekanovic stopped it clean. Djekanovic also stopped a Mackenzie Pridham cracker from distance. But no matter what the alumni did, the younger players kept coming and coming. However, the alumni wouldn’t give up.
The game got rough for a bit when Niall Thompson tried to head in a cross. Spencer Richey went off his line and punched the ball away, but both players collided and Thompson was bloodied for his efforts.
Later on Andre Lewis ripped a powerful shot in the box, giving the younger players a 5-0 lead. Lewis, one of Vancouver’s draft picks from last year, was making his return from an ACL injury, which as everyone knows, can be pretty tough.
Finally, Pridham, after his first attempt was saved early in the second half and having a goal disallowed due to both a foul and offside call, scored from a Jovan Blagojevic pass to give WFC2 a convincing 6-0 win.
As for the overall man of the match, I would have chosen Schuler because of the two first half goals, and I’m sure everyone would agree with me on that one!
In the end, there were two real winners: the fans who were there and BC Children’s Hospital, where all of the money from the ticket sales was going to. In my opinion, I think everyone from players to fans deserve a pat on the back.
To end this write-up, I would definitely like to say thanks again to the fan services team for giving me the opportunity to play reporter for the day. As for me, I leave you with my favourite pump up phrase I write on my Facebook before every home game:
See Y’all In The Southside!
Season Ticket Member and Southsider #13