LOS ANGELES, CA – Just when it looked like Whitecaps FC 2 would suffer their first defeat of the season, the young ‘Caps (2W-0L-2D) stormed back from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw against Western Conference leaders LA Galaxy II (2W-0L-4D) at the StubHub Center on Friday.
Head coach Alan Koch fielded a lineup mixed with regulars from the opening three matches, along with several loans from the first team. Eight starters returned from the last match against Sacramento Republic FC on April 10, while Marco Bustos and Erik Hurtado made their first USL appearances with WFC2 this year. Goalkeeper Spencer Richey wore the captain’s armband and manned the net in his second appearance of the season.
The first half was an even affair, with the ‘Caps on the front foot in the beginning with a shot on goal from Daniel Haber and a series of dangerous forays down the left wing from Alphonso Davies and left back Brett Levis.
Not to be outdone, the Galaxy turned up the pressure in the final 10 minutes of the first half. Richey made a pair of big saves to keep the ‘Caps level, first denying a chance from Adonis Amaya in the box on 34 minutes, then sprawling to keep out a Jack McBean free kick after it hit the crossbar on 42 minutes.
Despite Richey’s heroics, there was nothing he could do to keep out another free kick just before halftime. This time it was Galaxy first team winger Jose Villarreal striking a curling left footed shot to give LA a 1-0 advantage going into the break.
WFC2 headed into the second half with hopes of erasing their one goal deficit, but that quest got tougher for the ‘Caps when LA were awarded a questionable penalty kick on 55 minutes. McBean stepped up to take it and slotted it in to double the lead to 2-0.
But Koch’s side were not about to go down easy and were inspired by a pair of second half substitutes.
With 20 minutes to go, Erik Hurtado sped down the right flank and looped a far post cross to Fatawu Safiu. The Ghanaian was calm on the finish, roofing a shot into the back of the net to cut the deficit to 2-1.
Then just five minutes later, Safiu turned provider. After cutting into the middle, the tricky winger played a brilliant through ball to striker Kyle Greig, also on as a substitute. The “Midwest Macho” would not waste his chance, scoring his team-leading third goal of the season to level the match at 2-2.
A competitive match led to a heated confrontation between the two sides in the 83rd minute. After a scuffle near midfield, Galaxy midfielder Byram Rebellon came charging in and was shown a straight red card by referee Issam Ashkar.
With a man advantage, the ‘Caps looked to take all three points. However no more goals would come as WFC2 secured a hard fought point on the road.
The ‘Caps continue their run of three straight road matches on Wednesday when they travel to Kansas City to take on Swope Park Rangers for the first time. Kickoff will be at 5 p.m. PT live on whitecapsfc2.com. WFC2 return to Thunderbird Stadium on May 4 to face Tulsa Roughnecks FC on Attack of the ‘Caps Clones Night.
45’+1 – LA – Jose Villarreal
57’ – LA – Jack McBean (penalty kick)
70’ – VAN – Fatawu Safiu (Erik Hurtado)
76’ – VAN – Kyle Greig (Fatawu Safiu)
Shots: LA 8 – VAN 5
Shots on goal: LA 3 – VAN 4
Corners: LA 5 – VAN 0
42’ – VAN – Alphonso Davies
44’ – VAN – Cole Seiler
68’ – LA – Alejandro Covarrubias
84’ – VAN – Fatawu Safiu
84’ – VAN – Erik Hurtado
83’ – LA – Byram Rebellon
LA Galaxy II
31.Clement Diop; 36.Oscor Sorto (47.Nathan Smith 45’), 72.Lee Nishanian, 69.Jeffrey Payeras, 29.Josh Turnley; 65.Jaime Villarreal, 52.Byram Rebellon, 57.Alejandro Covarrubias, 5.Jose Villarreal (40.Raul Mendiola 61’); 73.Adonis Amaya (15.Ariel Lassiter 61’), 32.Jack McBean
Substitutes not used
54.Bennett Sneddon, 48.Ryo Fujii, 51.Ethan Zubak, 62.John Neeskens
Whitecaps FC 2
39.Spencer Richey; 63.Kadin Chung (55.Chris Serban 78’), 51.Sem de Wit, 14.Cole Seiler, 46.Brett Levis; 20.Deybi Flores (58.Will Seymore 34’), 30.Ben McKendry (45.Giuliano Frano 62’); 56.Daniel Haber, 32.Marco Bustos (47.Kyle Greig 67’), 67.Alphonso Davies (49.Fatawu Safiu 62’); 19.Erik Hurtado
Substitutes not used
24.Marco Carducci, 41.Jackson Farmer
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.
Youth season passes are also available for $30 all in. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-484-7862.