PEORIA, ARIZONA – Arizona United SC came back from a two-goal deficit to stun a shorthanded Whitecaps FC 2 side in the dying minutes, 3-2 on a hot Wednesday evening at Peoria Sports Complex.
Daniel Haber and Fatawu Safiu provided the scoring for Vancouver, before United SC midfielder Luke Rooney tied the match with two second-half goals, setting up the scene for an added-time game-winner from Chris Cortez.
Sean Melvin made eight saves for WFC2, including one on a penalty kick to momentarily stall Arizona’s furious comeback.
Missing a number of WFC2 players who featured for the first team in last night's opening win in the CONCACAF Champions League, head coach Alan Koch made seven changes to his lineup from Friday’s 1-1 draw at Colorado Springs, including the insertion of Deklan Wynne at left back, and Thomas Sanner up top – both making their first starts of the season. Michael Baldisimo made his professional debut, as he and Whitecaps FC U-16 teammate Joel Harrison came off the bench for a young Vancouver side that also featured two teenage starters.
On a soupy night after the region was slammed by torrential rain earlier in the week, Whitecaps FC 2 weathered the early storm from the home side, led by Melvin’s steady goalkeeping as he stopped five first-half shots from the United SC attack.
Arizona’s last attempt before intermission – a Rooney aerial volley from long distance that Melvin caught with both hands – triggered a quick counter from WFC2. Will Seymore, wearing the captain’s armband for the evening, slipped a through ball to Haber, who then made a nifty cut to the left to evade United SC goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski, before calmly connecting on his sixth goal of the season for the 1-0 halftime lead.
Safiu doubled the ‘Caps lead on 54 minutes on a brilliant solo effort. After receiving a long outlet from Jackson Farmer, the Ghanaian winger took on a pair of Arizona defenders while working his way toward the middle, then blasting in from 17 yards for his fourth goal of the year.
Arizona then went on the comeback trail when Rooney’s shot through traffic found the net, cutting the Vancouver lead in half in the 65th minute. United SC appeared poised to draw level when Rooney drew a foul inside the box five minutes later, but Melvin smothered the ensuing penalty attempt from Long Tan, who played for the ‘Caps in the 2011 and 2012 MLS seasons.
The home side got their equalizer in the 78th minute as Tan found Rooney trailing on the break for a clear shot on goal. With the hot and humid weather taking its toll on the young ‘Caps, United SC were able to complete the comeback in added time with Tan playing setup man again, this time for Cortez.
Despite the loss, Whitecaps FC 2 remain atop the Western Conference with a 10W-5L-6D record, while Arizona United SC improve to 6W-8L-6D.
45’ – VAN – Daniel Haber (Will Seymore)
54’ – VAN – Fatawu Safiu
65’ – AZ – Luke Rooney (Daniel Antunez)
78’ – AZ – Luke Rooney (Long Tan)
90’+6’ – AZ – Chris Cortez (Long Tan)
Shots: AZ 29 - VAN 11
Shots on Goal: AZ 11 - VAN 5
Saves: AZ 3 - VAN 8
Corners: AZ 2 - VAN 7
27’ – VAN – Deklan Wynne
42’ – AZ – Brock Granger
71’ – VAN – Fatawu Safiu
Arizona United SC
1.Carl Woszczynski; 31.Adam West, 2.Uchenna Uzo (26.Peter Ramage HT), 21.Julian Ringhof, 4.Brock Granger (5.Daniel Antunez 57’); 10.Luke Rooney, 8.Blair Gavin © (6.Miquel Timm 73’), 35.Matheus Silva (12.Christian Silva 82‘); 9.Chris Cortez, 17.Tyler Blackwood (11.Sam Garza 62’), 29.Long Tan
Substitutes not used
13.Jordan Stagmiller, 14.Tony Cascio
Whitecaps FC 2
40.Sean Melvin; 63.Kadin Chung, 41.Jackson Farmer, 54.Elliot Green, 62.Deklan Wynne (42.Jordan Haynes 64’); 65.Matthew Baldisimo (73.Joel Harrison 90’+1’), 58.Will Seymore © (20.Deybi Flores 66’); 45.Giuliano Frano (75.Michael Baldisimo 82’), 56.Daniel Haber (61.Terran Campbell 80‘), 49.Fatawu Safiu; 57.Thomas Sanner
Substitutes not used
53.Mark Village, 50.Sahil Sandhu
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 email@example.com or call 604-484-7862.