Gloire Amanda - at OC 2017 white kit
Liza Rosales/Orange County SC

Whitecaps FC 2 begin homestand against Orange County SC on Sunday

The boys in the Blue and White are back at UBC Thunderbird Stadium for a tilt with Orange County SC on Sunday.

Whitecaps FC 2 finish with four of their last five at home to close out the 2017 season, presenting an opportunity to showcase the team's young talent.

Solid goalkeeping

Whether it’s Spencer Richey or Sean Melvin, Whitecaps FC 2 have to be pleased with their options in goal. As displayed in Oklahoma City, Melvin can steal points on the road for a young squad. Standing 6-foot-4, Melvin has the height and reach you want in a goalkeeper moving forward. His saves success rate of 75% is better than Moise Pouaty's 68%, and Mitch Hildebrandt's 69.7% - the two are tied for the USL lead with 83 saves this season. 

Richey has also shown he’s more than capable of leading the charge between the pipes. The former Washington Husky has posted three clean sheets, and 47 saves in 15 appearances for WFC2. He also showed what he can do at the MLS level when called upon in the Canadian Championship semifinals against Montreal Impact. Richey made five stops including a penalty save on Patrice Bernier to preserve a 2-1 win for Whitecaps FC in the first leg in May before also starting the secong leg in Montreal. 

New face on the backline

Whitecaps FC 2 signed 19-year-old American centre back Danny Barbir on Thursday for the remainder of the 2017 USL season. The 6-foot-4 Barbir spent the last three years with English club West Bromwich Albion FC, making 16 appearances for their U-23, and U-21 sides, and will be available for selection this weekend.

Head coach Rich Fagan is looking forward to seeing what the young man can bring to the table.

Barbir, along with MLS SuperDraft selection Francis de Vries, first-teamer Cole Seiler, and Calgary product Dominick Zator make up the centre back rotation for WFC2 going into the last stretch of the season. Versatile Will Seymore has also manned the middle for WFC2 at times this year.

Orange County SC

OCSC arrive in Vancouver thick in the Western Conference playoff race. Sitting one point back of Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC with a game in hand, they’ll undoubtedly view Sunday's match as a must win. Their current run of form (1W-3L-1D) in the last five doesn’t inspire much confidence, but they did get the better of the Caps in SoCal on July 29.

Offensively, Irvin Parra, formerly with Cascadia rivals Seattle Sounders FC 2, leads the side with seven goals and six assists during his 2017 campaign, split between the two teams. In goal, Charlie Lyon is fourth in the USL with 76 saves in 26 appearances for OCSC.

Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. at Thunderbird Stadium. Don't miss it.