VANCOUVER, BC – With back-to-back first-half goals from Ben McKendry and Kyle Greig for Whitecaps FC 2, and a comeback for Real Monarchs led by Ricardo Velazco, Whitecaps FC 2 earned a 2-2 draw in their return to Thunderbird Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Having utilized no MLS players the last two matches, head coach Alan Koch’s side featured six first-team players in their lineup in Marco Bustos, Ben McKendry, Cole Seiler, Sam Adekugbe, and Kianz Froese, in addition to goalkeeper Paulo Tornaghi, who was making his season debut in the WFC2 net.
The ‘Caps got the scoring going in the 24th minute, with McKendry blasting a shot past Monarchs goalkeeper Eduardo Fernandez after a beautiful back heel from Kyle Greig to Brett Levis, and a quick pass from Levis up to the ‘Caps central midfielder. It was the second goal of the season for McKendry, who was making his first appearance since returning from international duty with the Canadian U-23 team.
Another WFC2 goal came just a minute later when Adekugbe made a quick run up the left flank and sent a low cross through to the top of the six-yard box for Greig. The striker got a foot to the ball before the SLC keeper could reach him, tapping the ball into the back of the net for his ninth goal of the season, giving the ‘Caps a two-goal lead.
Real Monarchs SLC would pull a goal back in right before the halftime whistle, with a quick shot from the team’s leading scorer Ricardo Velazco bending past Tornaghi’s arms and into the left side of the net.
In the 53rd minute, Velazco scored another bending goal into the top right corner for SLC, bringing the sides to an even 2-2 score early in the second half.
In the second half, Koch inserted inserted Alphonso Davies, Will Seymore, Thomas Gardner and Deybi Flores, who made his first appearance with the ‘Caps since recovering from a right abductor strain earlier this year. The energy off the bench soon translated into a free kick chance for the ‘Caps, with Fatuwu Safiu being taken down at the top of the box after some one-touch passing with Gardner up the pitch. Levis floated the free kick into the box, only to be headed out by the Monarchs back line.
Davies joined in on the attack in the 70th minute, with a burst of speed up the middle of the pitch. Levis latched onto a pass from the 15-year-old, and rocketed a shot just wide of the visitors’ net. Minutes later, Greig headed a Levis cross just wide of the net as well.
Having stayed relatively quiet for much of the latter half of the second, save for a few bursts of speed into the final third, SLC managed to hold off a determined ‘Caps side even through an added time onslaught from the home team as the match ended in a 2-2 draw.
With this result, WFC2 take a two-point lead at the top of the USL’s Western Conference, sitting on 22 points and a record of 6W-0L-4D, and with two games in hand over second-place LA Galaxy II. Real Monarchs SLC move to 3W-4L-4D.
The two sides meet again on Saturday, June 4 for Footy and Film Night at Thunderbird Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. with a movie following the match. Tickets can be purchased or redeemed at whitecapsfc2.com.
24’ – VAN – Ben McKendry (Brett Levis)
25’ – VAN – Kyle Greig (Sam Adekugbe)
45’+1’ – SLC – Ricardo Velazco (Kevaughn Frater)
53’ – SLC – Ricardo Velazco
Shots: VAN 8 - SLC 7
Fouls: VAN 22 - SLC 13
Saves: VAN 3 - SLC 1
Corners: VAN 2 - SLC 3
17’ – VAN – Sam Adekugbe
41’ – SLC – Kevaughn Frater
58’ – SLC – Ricardo Velazco
69’ – VAN – Deybi Flores
Whitecaps FC 2
70.Paolo Tornaghi; 63.Kadin Chung, 51.Sem de Wit, 14.Cole Seiler, 3.Sam Adekugbe (67.Alphonso Davies 59’); 30.Ben McKendry (58.Will Seymore 59’), 38.Kianz Froese (20.Deybi Flores 45’); 46.Brett Levis, 32.Marco Bustos (64.Thomas Gardner 59‘), 49.Fatawu Safiu; 47.Kyle Greig (56.Daniel Haber 72‘)
Substitutes not used
40.Sean Melvin, 41.Jackson Farmer
Real Monarchs SLC
1.Eduardo Fernandez; 2.Boyd Okwuonu, 3.Phanuel Kavita, 28.Chris Schuler, 18.Max Lachowecki; 27.Omar Holness (29.Danilo Acosta 70‘), 6.Alec Sundly (19.Tyler Arnone 77‘); 17.Andrew Brody, 15.Elder Torres (16.Frederick Amankona 85‘), 10.Ricardo Velazco © (7.Etiandro Tavares 83‘); 9.Kevaughn Frater (14.Colin Rolfe 59‘)
Substitutes not used
30.Connor Sparrow, 22.Darion Copeland
This year, every Tier 1 ‘Caps Club MLS membership includes three open tickets to WFC2 matches. Members can select their matches and theme days online through Account Manager. Information on theme days is available at whitecapsfc.com/wfc2/themedays.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-484-7862.