SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA – Whitecaps FC 2 (8W-11L-5D) are in the hunt for crucial points in the Western Conference playoff race when they visit Arizona United SC (8W-13L-1D) at Scottsdale Stadium on Saturday. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. PT live on whitecapsfc2.com.
This fixture in the desert rounds out a month-long road trip for WFC2, as well as the overall away schedule for the club's inaugural season.
While the 'Caps are already guaranteed to finish the August road swing with at least an even win-loss record, thanks to earlier wins in Tulsa and Seattle, head coach Alan Koch's side have their eyes set on stealing three more road points as they find themselves outside the playoff picture with only three matches left after this weekend.
United SC are four points behind WFC2 but have two more matches in hand to make ground. With two sides in urgent need of points, Saturday's matchup promises to be another hard-fought and entertaining affair.
WFC2 striker Caleb Clarke enters Saturday carrying a three-game point streak, having assisted on goals by Victor Blasco and Marco Bustos in the first two matches of the trip, and scoring one himself in last week's loss at Timbers 2.
The goal at Portland was the Richmond, BC native's first since June 27. While Clarke has been effective in getting his teammates chances, WFC2 are dangerous when the young striker is finding the net. Look for him to assert his presence early to get himself or his teammates looks.
LEWIS BACK FROM INTERNATIONAL DUTY
An integral part of the WFC2 attack is expected to be back after a one-game absence as midfielder Andre Lewis returns from a recent call-up to the Jamaican U-23 national team.
Lewis' patience and ball control in the middle has allowed WFC2 to move fluidly into the attacking third. Blasco, Bustos, Clarke and substitute striker Billy Schuler have all benefited from the Jamaican's pinpoint passing and vision.
Lewis has also shown a knack for putting the ball in the net, scoring three goals in 10 appearances, most recently in the last WFC2 win on August 8 to earn him a bench selection to the USL Team of the Week.
"Andre has been getting better and better every game," Koch said about the talented Jamaican. "He provides a lot of energy and we missed him last week."
STOPPING LONG TAN
It's no secret that Chinese striker Long Tan makes the United SC offence go.
Tan has produced close to half of the team's total goal production, scoring 11 goals this season. Centre backs Craig Nitti and Jackson Farmer will have their hands full in covering the offensive-minded Tan.
Forwards Jonathan Top (three goals, two assists) and Dennis Chin (three goals, two assists), and midfielder Jose Cuevas (three goals, one assist) complement Tan well and will keep the 'Caps defence honest.
There is plenty of soccer left to be played with a three-match homestand on the horizon, but a win will go a long way in keeping WFC2 within striking distance of the postseason.
After Saturday, Whitecaps FC 2 will enjoy a bye week before returning to Thunderbird Stadium on Sunday, September 6 when they host defending USL champions Sacramento Republic FC. Tickets are available here.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.