VANCOUVER, BC – Whitecaps FC 2 (3W-7L-4D) took to the Thunderbird Stadium pitch in front of a lively crowd of both humans and canines, but it was LA Galaxy II (7W-5L-1D) that came out with a 2-0 win on Sunday.
It was the first-ever Bark at the 'Bird as fans brought their dogs to enjoy a fine day of soccer, but WFC2 saw their undefeated home streak come to end at five matches.
Head coach Alan Koch's starting lineup, featuring seven Canadians, was first tested in the 14th minute when Galaxy II midfielder Andre Auras blasted a shot from distance but 'Caps goalkeeper Marco Carducci was there to protect his net.
Centre backs Craig Nitti and Diego Rodriguez, starting together for the first time, were solid for the home side, repeatedly thwarting efforts from Los Dos in the opening minutes. Left back Jordan Haynes also made his presence felt in the 29th minute when Galaxy II got into scoring position with smooth passing along the right flank, but the Peterborough, Ontario native was there to clear the threat.
Spanish midfielder Victor Blasco gave the 'Caps a good chance on the 31st minute with a brilliant individual effort, only to see his attempt from the right corner of the 18-yard box parried away by Galaxy II goalkeeper Clement Diop.
In the 40th minute, the 'Caps aggressiveness was rewarded when Marco Bustos, making his home debut for WFC2, found an attacking Ian Christianson inside the box and the midfielder earned a foul from Ariel Lassiter. Unfortunately for Whitecaps FC 2, striker Caleb Clarke's penalty attempt bounced wide left of the goal.
The match did not remain scoreless for much longer as Galaxy II made WFC2 pay on a counter-attack when Kainoa Bailey found his attacking partner Travis Bowen for a header to put the visitors ahead just before halftime.
It did not appear to be the 'Caps day when Nitti was called for a handball while attempting to block a Galaxy II shot inside the box in the 60th minute. Midfielder Ariel Lassiter gamely cashed in on the penalty kick, beating Carducci on the bottom-left corner of the target.
Blasco and Brett Levis provided the 'Caps with chances the other way, but neither was able to solve the stout Los Dos defence for the afternoon. Striker Billy Schuler, who found the net in the first meeting with Galaxy II last month, tried to provide instant offence from the bench, but his right-foot strike from 20 feet was again met with resistance by Diop. Clarke had another glorious chance in the second minute of added time, but the striker from Richmond, BC saw his shot hit the right post as he could not extend his two-match home-scoring streak.
While fans and their furry companions went home entertained, the final whistle signified the 'Caps first loss at Thunderbird Stadium in their inaugural USL season. Los Dos notched their 22nd point of the year, tying them with Sacramento Republic FC for third in the Western Conference.
Next week is Father’s Day and dads get in for free with a purchase of another ticket as the ‘Caps take on Cascadia rival Portland Timbers 2 on Sunday, June 21.
Come and see the next generation of Whitecaps FC stars as USL arrives in Vancouver. WFC2 matches are a unique and affordable experience for fans, families, students, and supporters. Season Tickets start as low as $118, with prorated prices available. Flex packs are also available to fit your schedule – get seven tickets to use any way you want, to any matches you want. For more information on all WFC2 ticket options, call 604-484-7862 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
44’ – LA – Travis Bowen (Kainoa Bailey)
60’ – LA – Ariel Lassiter (Penalty kick)
Shots: VAN 11 – LA 11
Saves: VAN 3 – LA 6
Corners: VAN 4 – LA 5
17’ – VAN – Chris Serban
70’ – LA – Travis Bowen
84’ – VAN – Tyler Rosenlund
Whitecaps FC 2
24.Marco Carducci; 55.Chris Serban, 54.Craig Nitti, 18.Diego Rodriguez (51.Billy Schuler 77'), 42.Jordan Haynes (41.Jackson Farmer 58'); 45.Tyler Rosenlund, 56.Ian Christianson (30.Ben McKendry 72'); 48.Victor Blasco (49.Mackenzie Pridham 72'), 32.Marco Bustos, 50.Sahil Sandhu (46.Brett Levis 63'); 34.Caleb Clarke
Substitutes not used
39.Spencer Richey, 47.Jovan Blagojevic
LA Galaxy II
41.Clement Diop; 66.Joe Franco, 44.Daniel Steres, 72.Lee Nishanian, 67.Dave Romney; 46.Ariel Lassiter (57.Alejandro Covarrubias 63'), 63.Andre Auras, 49.Adrian Vera (59.Elijah Martin 77' (48.Ryo Fuji 81')), 65.Jaime Villareal; 58.Kainoa Bailey (73.Adonis Amaya 67'), 50.Travis Bowen (32.Jack McBean 72')
Substitutes not used
64.Nicholas Shackelford, 53.Bradely Diallo