SAN ANTONIO, TX – Goalkeeper Spencer Richey stole the show, but Whitecaps FC 2 (9W-4L-5D) fell to a 2-0 defeat in their first ever match against USL expansion side San Antonio FC (6W-5L-6D) on Saturday.
The ‘Caps battled the Texas heat at Toyota Field as they faced a San Antonio team that came into the game on a five match unbeaten run. Head coach Alan Koch was without several of his regular defenders as centre back Cole Seiler was with the MLS squad in their home match BC Place, right back Kadin Chung was with the U-18s in their USSDA championship match, and left back Brett Levis suspended due to a red card in Wednesday’s match at Rio Grande Valley.
Despite the absences the defending proved valiant from WFC2, with an especially hard working shift from the back line, starting from the opening whistle with Sahil Sandhu, Sem de Wit, Jackson Farmer, and Giuliano Frano.
After a tentative first 15 minutes from both sides, the ‘Caps began to find their rhythm and had a chance to open the scoring on 20 minutes. On a long free kick curled in from Safiu, Marco Bustos was deemed to have been shoved over by defensive midfielder Miguel Salazar, thus awarding Vancouver a penalty kick. Kyle Greig stepped up to take it but was stopped on a fine low save from goalkeeper Matt Cardone, who was playing in net for suspended starter Josh Ford.
Not long after that, the men in black came back the other way with Carlos Alvarez cutting in and blasting a shot on goal, but it was saved by Richey.
The first chance of the second half nearly came for the home team as Alvarez played in a dangerous through pass, but Richey raced off his line to slide and clear the ball at the top of the box.
That would not be the last of Richey’s work. On 57 minutes the second year goalkeeper came up with a superb kick save to keep out a header from substitute Cesar Elizondo.
On 63 minutes, Richey made yet another outstanding kick save. However, seconds later the ‘Caps conceded a penalty kick. Rafa Castillo took it from the spot, and this time, there was nothing that Richey could do to keep it out of the net as San Antonio went up 1-0.
With eight minutes to go, another big moment for the Whitecaps FC Residency program came as Nicolas Apostol made his professional debut with WFC2, subbing on for Giuliano Frano. Four minutes later, Joel Harrison subbed on for Kianz Froese, marking his second USL match after debuting on Wednesday.
As the match wound down, Franck Tayou secured the win for San Antonio when he sprung onto a breakaway and slid in a second goal for a 2-0 final.
64’ – SA – Rafael Castillo (penalty kick)
90’+3 – SA – Franck Tayou
Shots: SA 23 – VAN 5
Shots on Goal: SA 9 – VAN 1
Saves: SA 1 – VAN 7
Corners: SA 8 – VAN 1
18’ – SA – Miguel Salazar
41’ – VAN – Kyle Greig
69’ – SA – Carlos Alvarez
76’ – SA – Sebastian Thuriere
77’ – VAN – Kianz Froese
90’ – VAN – Marco Bustos
San Antonio FC
0.Matt Cardone; 2.Milton Palacios, 15.Stephen McCarthy, 14.Biko Bradnock-Brennan, 20.Greg Cochrane; 28.Miguel Salazar (6.Sebastian Thuriere 23’); 10.Carlos Alvarez (24.Franck Tayou 73’), 16.Rafael Castillo (11.Daniel Garcia 89’), 8.Michael Reed, 18.Jason Johnson; 12.Taylor Morgan (5.Cesar Elizondo 55’)
13.Lee Johnston, 4.Sam McBride, 23.Fejiro Okiomah
Whitecaps FC 2
39.Spencer Richey; 50.Sahil Sandhu (65.Matthew Baldisimo HT), 51.Sem de Wit, 41.Jackson Farmer (57.Thomas Sanner 77’), 45.Giuliano Frano (66.Nicolas Apostol 82’); 58.Will Seymore, 38.Kianz Froese (73.Joel Harrison 86’); 56.Daniel Haber (62.Deklan Wynne 70’), 32.Marco Bustos, 49.Fatawu Safiu; 47.Kyle Greig
40.Sean Melvin, 68.Alan Camacho