For the second consecutive match, three first team players began the match in coach Rich Fagan’s starting XI, as he called upon Marco Bustos, Ben McKendry and Cole Seiler.
The ‘Caps came close to opening the scoring in the 17th minute when Nazeem Bartman found some space off some quick combination passing between Gloire Amanda and Marco Bustos, but his right-footed shot went high.
Vancouver’s golden chance to break the deadlock came 10 minutes before halftime. Bustos, the team’s scoring leader this season, dribbled neatly past a couple of Swope Park players before drilling a left-footed strike at goal that could only find the crossbar. The follow-up shot by Amanda came tantalisingly close as well before goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas made an acrobatic save to deny the Edmonton product and send the ball over the net.
But Vancouver’s missed chances proved costly.
A 64th minute foul conceded by fullback Deklan Wynne led to a free kick for Swope Park Rangers in a dangerous area just outside the Vancouver penalty box. Midfielder Kevin Oliveira bent in a ball that connected with forward Kharlton Belmar for his fifth goal of the season.
Vancouver goalkeeper and Victoria native Sean Melvin was the standout of the match, making five saves on the day, including a critical double save in the seventh minute of the match from point blank range to keep WFC2 in the game.
In added time Vancouver’s newest signee, New Zealander Myer Bevan, got the ‘Caps final chance of the game but his side-footed strike lacked the power to beat Swope Park’s goalkeeper.
Bevan’s strike was the last real scoring chance of the game as referee David Gantar blew the final whistle moments later to signal WFC2’s 1-0 defeat.
Fagan’s squad will have to move on quickly from this result as WFC2 return to Thunderbird Stadium this Saturday to host fourth place Reno 1868 FC at 3 p.m. PT. Ticket information is available at whitecapsfc.com/wfc2tickets.
Referee: David Gantar
65’ – SPR – Kharlton Belmar (Kevin Oliveira)
Possession: Vancouver 35.4% – Swope Park 64.6%
Shots: Vancouver 9 – Swope Park 14
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 3 – Swope Park 6
Saves: Vancouver 5 – Swope Park 3
Fouls: Vancouver 13 – Swope Park 14
Offsides: Vancouver 1 – Swope Park 2
Corners: Vancouver 2 – Swope Park 2
64’ – VAN – Deklan Wynne
73’ – VAN – Ben McKendry
85’ – SPR – Liam Doyle
Whitecaps FC 2
40.Sean Melvin; 63.Kadin Chung, 14.Cole Seiler, 33.Francis de Vries ©, 62.Deklan Wynne; 42.David Norman Jr (58.Will Seymore 75’); 54.Gloire Amanda (64.Thomas Gardner 75’), 30.Ben McKendry, 32.Marco Bustos, 50.Nazeem Bartman; 57.Thomas Sanner (45.Myer Bevan 60’)
Substitutes not used
53.Mark Village, 41.Dominick Zator, 48.Patrick Metcalfe
Swope Park Rangers
1.Adrian Zendejas; 58.Dakota Barnathan, 55.Amer Didic, 66.Liam Doyle, 44.Parker Maher; 42.Lebo Moloto (85.Felipe Hernandez 78’), 41.James Musa, 32.Christian Duke ©; 88.Kevin Oliveira, 47.Mark Anthony Gonzalez (24.Cameron Iwasa 75’), 31.Nansel Selbol (90.Kharlton Belmar 62’)
Substitutes not used
70.Darrin MacLeod, 43.Robert Mirosavic, 63.Louis Bennett II, 75.Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal