VANCOUVER, BC – Cascadia rivalry matches are known for dynamic goals and acrobatic saves, and Sunday was no different.
Whitecaps FC 2 (4W-7L-4D) defeated Timbers 2 (5W-7L-2D) on Father's Day by a score of 3-2, behind a pressing frontline and timely plays by goalkeeper Spencer Richey.
Head coach Alan Koch's starting lineup, featuring seven Canadians and seven Homegrown players, was the aggressor out of the gate, with striker Caleb Clarke and midfielder Brett Levis penetrating the box early and often.
The Blue and White got a golden chance in the 17th minute when centre back Christian Dean advanced a high outlet pass to a releasing Ben McKendry along the left flank, but T2 goalkeeper Jake Gleeson got to the ball before the 'Caps could inflict damage.
Levis got through the Timbers 2 defence in the 23rd minute when Ian Christianson found him inside the box, but Gleeson was again there to meet the attack.
The visitors threatened before halftime as striker Fatawu Safiu ripped a shot from distance in the 38th minute, but was stopped by WFC2 goalkeeper Spencer Richey, who made a flying save and got a hand on the top-left corner attempt.
The home side was not going to be denied for too long, as they came out of the intermission firing. They got on the scoreboard in the 47th minute when Clarke's shot was parried away by Gleeson, but McKendry was there to clean it up.
In the 53rd minute, Clarke made things happen again for WFC2. Attacking inside the box on the left side, the Richmond, BC native got to the byline before feeding Marco Bustos, who calmly slotted the ball in past Gleeson. It was the first goal of the season for the Homegrown midfielder.
True to the nature of Cascadia derby matches, this was going to be tightly contested. Timbers 2 cut the lead in half in the 71st minute with a patient buildup that resulted in captain Blair Gavin putting through a high left-foot strike past a diving Richey.
First-team right back Ethan Sampson joined the attack in the 80th minute. Substitute Sahil Sandhu got the first touch on the play off a corner kick, but the midfielder was blanketed by T2 defenders. Sampson rushed into the picture and blasted a rocket to put the 'Caps up 3-1.
Sampson's goal turned out to be crucial as T2 striker Kharlton Belmar found the net right in the dying minutes.
However, it was too little, too late for Timbers 2 as the officials blew the final whistle, making the third home win for the 'Caps official.
It was fitting that Sampson's score was the game-winner against T2, as he also played a major role in the Cascadia rivalry earlier in the MLS season. The Homegrown player played 88 minutes to help Whitecaps FC earn a scoreless draw at Portland last month.
With the win, WFC2 are now just one point behind Timbers 2 for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Whitecaps FC 2 visit Orange County Blues FC at Anteater Stadium on Saturday, June 27. They are back in town to host Cascadia rival Seattle Sounders FC 2 at Thunderbird Stadium on Saturday, July 4.
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.
48’ – VAN – Ben McKendry
53’ – VAN – Marco Bustos (Caleb Clarke)
71’ – POR – Blair Gavin (Fatawu Safiu)
80’ – VAN – Ethen Sampson
89’ – POR – Kharlton Belmar
Shots: VAN 14 – POR 16
Saves: VAN 5 – POR 2
Corners: VAN 2 – POR 3
8’ – POR – Fatawu Safiu
45’+2 – POR – Andy Thoma
77’ – VAN – Ethen Sampson
Whitecaps FC 2
39.Spencer Richey; 27.Ethen Sampson, 41.Jackson Farmer, 22.Christian Dean, 55.Chris Serban; 45.Tyler Rosenlund, 56.Ian Christianson; 30.Ben McKendry (47.Jovan Blagojevic 86'), 32.Marco Bustos (50.Sahil Sandhu 72'), 46. Brett Levis (49.Mackenzie Pridham 81'); 34.Caleb Clarke (51.Billy Schuler 76')
Substitutes not used
24.Marco Carducci, 48.Victor Blasco, 54.Craig Nitti
90.Jake Gleeson; 12.Jeanderson, 44.Harrison Delbridge, 47.Rennico Clarke (85.Steven Evans 46'), 28.Andy Thoma; 26.George Fochive, 27.Nick Besler, 52.Blair Gavin, 32.Schillo Tshuma (55.Brent Richards 64'), 30.Kharlton Belmar, 49.Fatawu Safiu
Substitutes not used
29.Justin Luthy, 38.Matt Rose, 40.Tim Payne, 73.Santiago Biglieri, 84.Seth Casiple