Kicking off the first match of the summer season, Whitecaps FC 2 (4W-7L-2D) return home to UBC Thunderbird Stadium this Saturday, June 24, 3 p.m. PT to host Oklahoma City Energy FC (5W-6L-2D) for the first time this year.
The team is back home after wrapping up a three-game road trip that saw the boys pick up a 1-0 win against Cascadia rival, Portland Timbers 2, before losing to Phoenix Rising FC 2-1, and again by the same score-line on a scorching evening in California against Sacramento Republic FC.
The ‘Caps currently sit in 12th place in the Western Conference while their opponents are tied for the eighth position on the table.
First rematch since 2016 conference semifinal
While this is the first time the teams face off this season with the second game scheduled for September, fans will recall last year’s Western Conference semifinal nail-biter at Thunderbird Stadium when the ‘Caps managed to defeat OKC by a score of 3-2. Striker Kyle Greig scored a goal off a Kadin Chung assist, and Spencer Richey recorded the win for WFC2.
Greig, who moved up to the MLS team in the offseason, scored his first goal for the first team in last month's Canadian Championship, and is looking to translate that success to USL play. He has started the last three matches for WFC2.
‘Caps squad depth to be tested
Rich Fagan and his technical staff will have some decisions to make leading up to the game with a number of players unavailable.
Notable absentees include fullback Deklan Wynne, who is currently away on international duty with New Zealand as they compete for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia.
Gloire Amanda, Terran Campbell, Patrick Metcalfe as well both Michael and Matthew Baldisimo are representing the Whitecaps FC U-18 Residency team as they compete in the group stages of the 2017 Development Academy playoffs being held in Indiana this summer.
Watch for Will Seymore, who's been one of the squad's leaders since joining the club in 2015, to man the midfield. David Norman Jr. is another option, as he looks to build on his case to climb up the ladder.
New acquisition Myer Bevan is available fresh off his performance in the FIFA U-20 World Cup. The New Zealand U-20 international was on the WFC2 bench for the first time last week and is itching to make his debut for the Blue and White.
Resilient opponents to keep an eye on
Oklahoma City players will be looking to return to winning ways against the ‘Caps. The Energy clawed their way back into their last game against Seattle Sounders FC 2, mounting a 2-0 deficit to draw even at 2-2, before a final-gasp goal by S2 stole all three points.
But the Energy FC offence remains a threat with Andy Craven and Alexander Dixon both currently tied for top scorer on the team with three goals apiece.
With only one win separating Vancouver and OKC and only three points separating sixth from 11th place in the West, this game could prove crucial later in the season to determine either team’s postseason USL run.
Don't miss it and be at the 'Bird on Saturday.