After picking up a last-minute win against conference rivals Real Monarchs SLC on July 2, fast-developing Whitecaps FC 2 (9W- 2L- 5D) travel to Edinburg, Texas to face Rio Grande Valley FC (6W-5L-7D) on Wednesday for the third match of their four-game road trip.
This will be the first-ever meeting between the two sides, as the Toros joined the league in 2016. With this being their only meeting this year, and both teams sitting in the top half of the table, the match promises to be a wild one-off showdown between two upstart Western Conference sides.
WFC2’S BRIGHT OUTLOOK
With the likes of 17-year-old Kadin Chung sitting on two assists so far this season, and 15-year-old Alphonso Davies breaking into the first team lineup for the Amway Canadian Championship, the youth of WFC2 have been a recurring highlight for the side this season.
Last weekend, another teenager got his name on the score sheet with an assist on Brett Levis’ last minute match-winner: Matthew Baldisimo. The WFC Residency product has featured in nine of the ‘Caps matches this season, and has been an innovative force in central midfield. With four starts in his 10 appearances, the 18-year-old has brought some much-appreciated energy, and continues to hone his skills alongside the likes of Ben McKendry and Marco Bustos in the middle of the pitch.
Baldisimo, who captained Canada at the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship tournament, also featured for the Whitecaps FC U-18 Residency in their 5-3 quarterfinal win over Sacramento Republic FC last weekend to advance to the USSDA semifinal on Thursday. (Catch the semifinal live at 6 p.m. PT on whitecapsfc.com.)
The ‘Caps also acquired some fresh blood just two weeks ago with the addition of striker Thomas Sanner to the USL roster. The Indianapolis native has made three appearances with the side since joining WFC2 after completing his degree at Princeton University. Coming on as a sub in each match, Sanner has been slowly building up his minutes with WFC2 and created his first scoring chance in last weekend’s match. In the 84th minute, the 22-year-old split two Monarchs defenders before firing a shot on goal, showing his ability up front for the 'Caps.
Both players have been displaying real potential in their first season with the side, and are likely to continue to cause opponent’s some trouble as they find their footing in WFC2’s lineup.
Sharing a first name and a birth year, Rio Grande Valley power pairing Jose “Memo” Rodriguez and Jose Escalante have provided energy and intensity up front for the Toros this season. The two 20-year-olds sit in first and second position in points for the Texas side, with Rodriguez sitting on 10 points (four goals, two assists) and Escalante at eight (three goals, two assists). Both have an eye for goal, vision for the play-making pass, and some grit to boot with a shared 29 fouls between them, making them a tough attacking line to break.
The two have not featured in a match together since June 26. Is this the weekend to see the two combine once again?
Following Wednesday’s match, Whitecaps FC 2 conclude their season-long four-match road trip with their first-ever visit to San Antonio FC on Saturday, July 16.
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.