VANCOUVER, BC - Looking to bounce back from a 2-1 loss last week, Whitecaps FC 2 are ready to face perennial heavyweight Sacramento Republic FC this Saturday at UBC Thunderbird Stadium. Kickoff is at 3 p.m.
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The 2W-2L-1D ‘Caps have only given up three goals in their past four games and are looking to shut the door on Republic FC team that hasn’t scored a goal in three straight games. Sean Melvin or Spencer Richey are the goalkeepers that Sacramento must beat if they want to end that streak and it won't be easy as the duo has combined for two clean sheets in the young season.
Up front, midfielder Ben McKendry leads all WFC2 players with 14 shots and 10 chances this season. What’s even more impressive than his offensive stats is the fact that only he and defender Cole Seiler have played in all 450 minutes in 2017.
Thomas Sanner is another player doing his part for the team. Sanner has nine shots and leads the team with two goals. Last year, Sanner made 17 appearances for Whitecaps FC 2, registering four goals, including a hat trick against Arizona United SC.
Defensively, iron man Seiler is having a standout season for head coach Rich Fagan. The 16th overall pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft has 22 clearances, 15 interceptions and an impressive 12 aerial dual wins in five appearances.
Right alongside Seiler, New Zealander Francis de Vries has been stellar for the ‘Caps. De Vries has a team-leading 31 clearances to go along with 12 interceptions and 12 duals won. Since going 29th overall in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, de Vries has emerged as a defensive stalwart for Whitecaps FC 2.
Looking back on last weeks’ game, there were some positives to come out of their loss to San Antonio FC that the ‘Caps can look to build off heading into Saturday's game with Sacramento. The ‘Caps controlled possession of the ball for over 50% of the game.
With a strong possession game against a team that is having a hard time finding the back of the net, the ‘Caps can frustrate Sacramento and then capitalize on their mistakes.
Sacramento Republic FC
Sacramento Republic arrive in Vancouver looking to recapture the momentum they had in 2016 and the beginning of this season. After finishing atop the West last year, Republic FC started 2017 red hot, winning their first three games in a row including a blowout win against Orange County SC.
The past three games however have been the opposite. They are currently on a three-game losing streak and, to add insult to injury, a three-game goalless drought.
Sacramento’s top players are looking to get back into top form and the ‘Caps are going to need to pay close attention to Republic FC forward Samuel Ochoa. Ochoa leads Republic FC with three goals, two assists and 11 shots in six appearances this season.
Another player who could give the ‘Caps problems Saturday afternoon is 2016 USL First-Team selection Danny Barrera. Barrera, a third-year midfielder, currently leads the entire USL with 18 quality chances.
Saturday afternoon's game will be the first of three in a row on the road for Sacramento who are hoping to turn their fortunes around and start their road trip off with a win.
Bark at the ‘Bird
Saturday is also Bark at the 'Bird when you can bring your dog to the match at Thunderbird! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to purchase your $5 dog ticket, with all proceeds going to Paws for Hope.