VANCOUVER, BC – Whitecaps FC 2 put on a thrilling show on Fan Appreciation Day but a late rally from the Austin Aztex (10W-15L-3D) resulted in a 3-2 loss in the regular season finale at Thunderbird Stadium on Sunday. Brett Levis recorded a brace in his second match back from injury but it was not enough as the 'Caps finished their inaugural USL season with an 8W-14L-6D record.
The 'Caps started on the front foot with Caleb Clarke, Sahil Sandhu and Tyler Rosenlund getting shots from up close in the opening 15 minutes but Aztex goalkeeper Cody Laurendi was equal to the task each time. The home side appeared to have broken through on the counter attack shortly after when Brett Levis played the ball forward to a sprinting Victor Blasco, but the Spanish midfielder's goal was called back as he was called offside.
Vancouver had their best chance of the first half in the 35th minute when Rosenlund dribbled into the box, drawing Laurendi off his line before feeding Clarke for a shot at the empty net, but Aztex centre back Sergio Campbell was there to clear the ball off the line with his head. Just four minutes after, a pair of WFC2 defenders joined the attack when Christian Dean placed a cross neatly into the box but Jackson Farmer's header into the bottom-right corner of the net was timed perfectly by a diving Laurendi and the teams had to settle with a scoreless draw at halftime.
It did not stay that way for too long after the break. In the 47th minute, Brett Levis took matters into his own hands when the Saskatoon native dribbled into the middle and blasted a 25-yard strike into the top-right corner that left the goalkeeper helpless.
Just 10 minutes after, Levis went to work again, winning a battle for a loose ball against Aztex defender Lance Rozeboom on the right side then beelining into the box before calmly slotting the ball into the net with his left foot for a 2-0 lead.
The visitors would not go away, however. After receiving the ball from a throw-in on the left side, Aztex midfielder Romain Gall worked his way towards the box and looked to be sending the ball across to the far side before shooting the ball directly into the net just inside the left post, cutting the WFC2 lead in half to 2-1 in the 66th minute.
In the 73rd minute, Gall found space in the left corner of the 18-yard box and launched an attempt but WFC2 goalkeeper Spencer Richey dove right to get his fingertips on the ball. Shortly after, Rocha managed to dispossess Will Seymore inside the WFC2 box, allowing Sainey Touray to get a shot at goal. Richey stopped the initial attempt but Rocha was there to put the rebound in for the 80th-minute equalizer.
The Aztex were not through. On 85 minutes, the visitors caught the 'Caps on a counter attack, resulting in a go-ahead goal coming in the form of a Kris Tyrpak header, set up by a looping ball from Mozzi Gyorio.
The 'Caps battled until the final whistle, even finding the net when Mackenzie Pridham put in a rebound off an initial shot from Jovan Blagojevic, but the official had ruled the attacking side offside.
Despite the loss, it was overall a successful first season for Whitecaps FC 2, who saw 13 Residency graduates suit up for the side. In addition, 17 Canadian players laced their cleats for WFC2, accounting for 24 of the 38 total goals.
NEWS AND NOTES: Marco Bustos served a one-game suspension due to yellow card accumulation... The team stayed after the match to meet and greet with the fans, signing autographs and giving away the jerseys off their backs... A handful of Vancouver Whitecaps FC players were on hand to cheer on WFC2, including Sam Adekugbe, Tim Parker, Kianz Froese and Kekuta Manneh.
47' – VAN – Brett Levis
58' – VAN – Brett Levis
66' – ATX – Romain Gall
80' – ATX – Tony Rocha
85' – ATX – Kris Tyrpak (Mozzi Gyorio)
Shots: VAN 13 – ATX 11
Saves: VAN 2 – ATX 5
Corners: VAN 3 – ATX 4
40' – VAN – Andre Lewis
49' – VAN – Will Seymore
59' – ATX – Mikey Ambrose
Whitecaps FC 2
39.Spencer Richey; 50.Sahil Sandhu, 41.Jackson Farmer, 22.Christian Dean (64.Thomas Gardner 60'), 42.Jordan Haynes; 45.Tyler Rosenlund ©, 58.Will Seymore; 25.Andre Lewis (63.Kadin Chung 60'), 46.Brett Levis (51.Billy Schuler 70'), 48.Victor Blasco (49.Mackenzie Pridham 77'); 34.Caleb Clarke (47.Jovan Blagojevic 85')
Substitutes not used
24.Marco Carducci, 62.Deklan Wynne
66.Cody Laurendi; 19.Max Gunderson (15.Bryce Taylor 74'), 24.Sergio Campbell, 25.Lance Rozeboom, 3.Mikey Ambrose; 8.Andres Cuero, 16.Tony Rocha; 18.Kris Tyrpak (12.Drew Yates 88'), 10.Mozzi Gyorio (2.Ryan Roushandel 90'), 9.Romain Gall (17.Brendan King 88'); 21.Trevin Caesar (20.Sainey Touray 63')