FENTON, MISSOURI – Brett Levis’ long-distance goal and Spencer Richey’s steady goalkeeping gave Whitecaps FC 2 a hard-earned 1-1 road draw against high-powered Saint Louis FC on Wednesday evening at World Wide Technology Park.
Jamiel Hardware scored a 61st-minute equalizer for Saint Louis FC, who brought forward an unrelenting offence in the second half but the young and fast-growing ‘Caps showed maturity and fortitude late to hold on and notch their 21st point of the season, tied for best in the USL.
Featuring six Canadians in their starting XI, Whitecaps FC 2 were calm in the face of the Saint Louis FC attack early. Edmonton native Jackson Farmer and centre back partner Sem de Wit were solid in the middle, while Levis and Fatawu Safiu charged up front along the left flank.
Business picked up in the 22nd minute as captain Kyle Greig’s header found Daniel Haber on the right side, but Saint Louis FC goalkeeper Mark Pais covered the angle well on the point-blank attempt.
The ‘Caps would capitalize off the ensuing corner kick when Levis gained possession of the ball after the initial play was broken up, then turned and carved a path to the middle, before launching a left-footed rocket from 25 yards to put Vancouver on the board in the 23rd minute.
The home side would try to respond on 30 minutes but Irvin Herrera, the reigning USL Player of the Week, would shoot wide of the far post on a side volley chance. Midfielder Brandon Barklage would get a look as well, off a setup from Hardware, but Richey dove right to keep Saint Louis FC scoreless heading into halftime.
Hardware would tie things up in the 61st minute. After receiving the ball in the Saint Louis attacking half, the Jamaican forward turned and had his first shot blocked by Farmer, but his second effort from just inside the box would get past Richey’s outstretched arms.
Richey would come up big five minutes later, getting his fingertips on opposing captain Chad Bond’s attempt from up close.
The home side, who entered the match with only one loss in their last seven matches, pressed forward and inserted English striker Jordan Roberts late, but the gritty ‘Caps defence came up with timely stops. Matthew Baldisimo and Sahil Sandhu came off Alan Koch’s bench to inject energy into the Vancouver midfield, while Richey provided the late heroics, denying Roberts’ last-ditch attempt in added time.
With the result, WFC2 improve to 6W-0L-3D atop the Western Conference, while Saint Louis FC move to 4W-3L-3D.
Whitecaps FC 2 now return home to Thunderbird Stadium on Sunday, May 29 for the Kids and ‘Caps Children’s Festival against Real Monarchs SLC. Tickets can be purchased or redeemed at whitecapsfc2.com.
23’ – VAN – Brett Levis
62’ – STL – Jamiel Hardware
Shots: STL 16 - VAN 12
Shots on Goal: STL 4 - VAN 6
Saves: STL 5 - VAN 3
Corners: STL 3 - VAN 4
21’ – STL – Sam Fink
25’ – STL – Brandon Barklage
45’+4’ – STL – AJ Cochran
45’+4’ – VAN – Will Seymore
90’+3’ – STL – Chad Bond
Saint Louis FC
1.Mark Pais; 2.Richard Dixon (23.Jordan Roberts 89’), 3.Sam Fink, 4.AJ Cochran, 6.Parker Maher; 8.Chad Bond ©, 14.James Musa, 15.Mike Ambersley (17.Jacob Bushue 80’), 7.Jamiel Hardware; 25.Brandon Barklage (18.Drew Conner 86’), 19.Irvin Herrera
Substitutes not used
24.Shawn Clancy, 9.Jeremy Lynch, 11.Charles Renken, 12.Tyler David
Whitecaps FC 2
39.Spencer Richey; 55.Chris Serban (63.Kadin Chung 82‘), 51.Sem de Wit, 41.Jackson Farmer, 46.Brett Levis; 58.Will Seymore, 45.Giuliano Frano (42.Jordan Haynes 76‘); 56.Daniel Haber (50.Sahil Sandhu 69‘), 64.Thomas Gardner (65.Matthew Baldisimo 63‘), 49.Fatawu Safiu (61.Terran Campbell 86’); 47.Kyle Greig ©
Substitutes not used
40.Sean Melvin, 54.Elliot Green
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.