VANCOUVER, BC – Whitecaps FC 2 (6W-8L-5D) hosted high-scoring Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (10W-6L-1D) at Thunderbird Stadium on Wednesday and matched their firepower, earning an entertaining 2-2 draw behind stellar goalkeeping from Spencer Richey and goals from Marco Bustos and Andre Lewis.
WFC2 did not wait long to get things rolling as Billy Schuler, Victor Blasco, and Lewis pressed on early but Colorado Springs goalkeeper Samir Badr was ready for the attack from the onset.
However, Switchbacks FC, who entered the match leading the USL with a 2.12 goals-per-game average, notched the opening tally in the 10th minute when centre back Josh Phillips capitalized on a well-placed corner kick from Shintaro Harada.
Blasco's aggressiveness paid off not long after when he rushed Badr into coming out of position and forcing the keeper to kick the ball straight into Bustos, who promptly slotted the equalizer into the wide-open net.
The 30th minute saw the Blue and White with a couple of glorious scoring opportunities. The first one came when Blasco sent a cross to Lewis, who touched the ball beautifully from the right byline to the middle where Bustos pushed the ball just inches wide right of the goal. On the following possession, it was Blasco and Bustos connecting, but Blasco's attempt hit the outside of the near post.
Ten minutes after, each side came up with defensive gems. First it was WFC2 keeper Spencer Richey who was unfazed by multiple screens from Switchbacks FC as he got down for the save on a Davy Armstrong shot through traffic. On the other end, it was Badr meeting an attacking Blasco. Schuler tried to put the rebound in but it was cleared off the line.
In the 45th minute, Diego Rodriguez was called for a foul after taking down Colorado Springs striker Saeed Robinson just inside the box. Aaron King took the ensuing penalty kick and put the visitors ahead 2-1.
Rodriguez nearly got one back in added time when he blasted a top-left corner attempt off a setup from Blasco but Badr was there to parry the ball away.
The back-and-forth battle continuted after halftime. Blasco, who got to the left byline at will in the evening, had his pass into the middle deflected by Badr's mitts, but Lewis was there to clean it up for the 'Caps as the match was knotted at 2-2 in the 50th minute.
Colorado Springs threatened again in the 67th minute when King looped a perfectly-timed pass to a releasing Nate Robinson, but Richey was there to snuff the attempt.
The 'Caps had chances late to pull ahead. In the 78th minute, Blasco pushed forward on the counter-attack and played the ball through to Bustos but Badr smothered the opportunity. In the closing minutes, centre back Craig Nitti's 20-yard free kick missed to the left of the goal.
The two sides proved to be evenly-matched as the game ended 2-2. With the point, Whitecaps FC 2 tie Orange County Blues FC for the sixth and final playoff spot with 23 points.
Centre back Will Seymore made his WFC2 debut. The versatile Oregon State University product, who incidentally was born in Colorado Springs before moving to Soham, England, subbed in at halftime for Rodriguez and got his foot on several of Switchbacks FC attacks.
The 'Caps outshot the vaunted Switchbacks FC offence 23-11, while both keepers came up with big saves. Badr finished the match with six saves for the visitors, while Richey collected five of his own.
WFC2 travel to Merlo Field to face Timbers 2 this Sunday, July 19, looking to extend their three-match undefeated streak. The 'Caps are then back in Vancouver on Friday, July 24, when they host Tulsa Roughnecks FC at Thunderbird Stadium. Tickets can be purchased online at whitecapsfc.com/wfc2/wfc2tickets or at the gate.
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. 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 email@example.com.
10’ – COL – Josh Phillips (Shintaro Harada)
18’ – VAN – Marco Bustos
45’ – COL – Aaron King (Penalty kick)
50’ – VAN – Andre Lewis (Victor Blasco)
Shots: VAN 23 – COL 11
Saves: VAN 5 – COL 6
Corners: VAN 3 – COL 4
44’ – VAN – Diego Rodriguez
73’ – VAN – Ben McKendry
Whitecaps FC 2
39.Spencer Richey; 27.Ethen Sampson, 54.Craig Nitti, 18.Diego Rodriguez (58.Will Seymore 45'), 55.Chris Serban; 45.Tyler Rosenlund, 30.Ben McKendry; 25.Andre Lewis, 32.Marco Bustos, 48.Victor Blasco (47.Jovan Blagojevic 79'); 51.Billy Schuler (49.Mackenzie Pridham 75')
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
23.Samir Badr; 5.Jamie McGuinness (12.Mike Seth 75'), 17.Kareem Smith, 2.Josh Phillips (34.JJ Greer 45'), 30.Kley Bejarano; 21.Shintaro Harada (25.Jordan Burt 64'), 6.Davy Armstrong, 13.Kevin Durr (8.Rony Argueta 53'); 11.Saeed Robinson, 18.Aaron King, 7.Nate Robinson
Substitutes not used