VANCOUVER, BC – Can it get any better than a Cascadia rivalry match under the bright lights?
Whitecaps FC 2 (5W-8L-4D) look to make it three derby wins in four weeks when they host Timbers 2 (6W-8L-2D) at Thunderbird Stadium on Friday evening (tickets are available online and at the door).
The young 'Caps are brimming with confidence after toppling one of the top teams in the Western Conference when they defeated rival Seattle Sounders FC 2 over the weekend.
On the other side, T2 come in after an impressive 3-1 home win versus Arizona United SC last July 2.
We have two old rivals neck and neck in the playoff race on a collision course.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Here are the subplots.
STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
One of the strengths the young Blue and White squad have is the depth in the striker position. By now, fans are familiar with Caleb Clarke's exploits but Billy Schuler (pictured) has also had a strong season. In fact, Schuler set up two of WFC'2 three goals last weekend.
WFC2 head coach Alan Koch also has a number of options on the back line, particularly at fullback where the likes of Jordan Haynes, Chris Serban, and first-teamers Ethen Sampson and Christian Dean are all fine options.
Dean, a natural centre back who played left back last weekend, has made eight starts for WFC2 and may be called upon again. He was named to the bench of the USL Team of the Week on Tuesday after scoring his first professional goal against S2.
BLASCO'S BREAKOUT GAME
Victor Blasco scores twice in just over a minute to secure a late win
If it's offence that Whitecaps FC 2 need, then they need not look further than Victor Blasco.
The 21-year old Spaniard, named USL Player of the Week on Tuesday, detonated late versus Sounders FC 2.
The former FC Barcelona Academy player slotted in two goals in 90 seconds in the final minutes to pull off the Cascadia rivalry upset, with Schuler playing the role of set-up man in both scores.
It's the breakout game that fans had been waiting for, and with an important match this weekend, it could not have come at a better time.
T2 are looking to avenge their 3-2 loss at the hands of WFC2 just three weeks ago, so they have all the bulletin board material they need.
Just one look at the standings gives the 'Caps motivation as they are a point behind T2 with both squads on the outside looking in the playoff race.
Stakes are high. Can Whitecaps FC 2 make it three straight wins in Cascadia rivalry matches?
We'll find out on Friday night at the 'Bird.
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