On Saturday, Whitecaps FC 2 battle their cross-border rival Seattle Sounders FC 2 at Langley’s McLeod Athletic Park for their second meeting of the season. Aside from the Cascadia rivalry, the players should find extra motivation in impressing the home supporters on our country’s 150th birthday.
With 14 matches under their belt, the young ‘Caps find themselves three points out of the final playoff spot in the tight Western Conference nearing the midway point of the 2017 season. Saturday’s match with S2 is an excellent opportunity to gain three points on a club sitting seventh in the West, five points ahead of the ‘Caps.
Head-to-head series deadlocked
Whitecaps FC 2 and Sounders FC 2 have an all-time series record of 3W-3L-3D, and by end of day on Saturday, the ‘Caps will be hoping to grab the bragging rights as the leader in the Cascadia series. In their last match-up, Vancouver put on a show offensively popping in three goals on route to a 3-0 victory at McLeod. Seattle native and former Sounders FC U-23 goalkeeper Spencer Richey manned the net for WFC2, recording two saves for one of his three clean sheets on the season.
Deklan Wynne returns
After earning the call to represent New Zealand at this summer’s FIFA Confederations Cup, right back Deklan Wynne is back and eager to help his club get a result. Over in Russia, All Whites head coach Anthony Hudson inserted Wynne into the lineup against the hosts, and versus CONCACAF Cup champions Mexico. In both matches Wynne played a full 90, hopefully instilling more confidence in the young defender’s game as he prepares to continue his pro journey with Vancouver.
What to expect from Seattle?
Seattle Sounders FC 2 visit Vancouver as a club looking for consistency after alternating wins with losses throughout June.
Keep an eye on Fort Worth, Texas native and first-teamer Zach Mathers. The Seattle midfielder is heating up with three goals in his last two matches. After only two goals in his first seven, Mathers now shares the team lead with five goals heading into July. S2 have potted a respectable 25 goals on the season, but have struggled to keep the ball out of their own net, conceding 32.
The ‘Caps backline will be spearheaded by Sem de Wit, who is the team’s leader or co-leader in five statistical categories with 38 clearances, 49 interceptions, 70 duels won, 6 blocks, and 32 tackles. Fellow centre back Francis de Vries, who had made four starts early in the season before suffering an injury, was available on the bench for the first time since April last week.
Be sure to bring your sunblock and shades as the forecast projects a hot sunny day in the valley, and some heated derby action on the pitch.