There’s always games you look back on as the key ones in the course of a season. It may be because of a penalty, a sending off, a defensive mistake, battling road point(s), a stirring comeback or a stunning capitulation.
Vancouver Whitecaps 2 still have six games left of their USL regular season, with a first ever playoff campaign ahead. With just four points, and some games in hand, separating the top six sides in the Western Conference, it’s going to be a barnstorming finish to the season.
However things end up playing out for WFC2 in their remaining games, their 3-1 victory over Arizona United on Sunday, will be one of those matches they look back upon as a key point of their season.
Trailing 1-0 with six minutes remaining, the ‘Caps looked set to extend their winless streak to five matches at the worst possible time of the season. But up stepped super sub Thomas Sanner to hit a hat-trick in the dying moments with goals in the 84th, 87th and 94th minutes.
Those goals not only gave Vancouver a much needed three points, but they sent the young ‘Caps back into a share of the lead at the top of the Western Conference standings, tied with Sacramento Republic.
The two teams now meet next Saturday in California, in what is certain to be a cracker. Don’t miss it!
AFTN photographer Tom Ewasiuk was there to capture all the exciting action before, during and after the game and here’s his “Story In Pictures”, with a full Flickr slideshow at the end.[Also check out Tom’s website www.residualimagephotography.com for more of his photos and work].
WFC2’s new home away from home – McLeod Stadium in Langley
Kyle Greig leads the teams out
WFC2’s starting XI
The ‘Caps thought they’d got off to a dream start when Daniel Haber chipped the keeper three minutes in but it was called back for offside
But it was Arizona who took the lead in the 17th minute when Tyler Blackwood pounced on a poor pass from Sem de Wit to fire home the opening goal
Marco Bustos had two bites at the cherry to get the ‘Caps level but Carl Woszczynski’s face kept Arizona in the lead at half time
With the wind in their favour, Arizona pushed for a killer second but Spencer Richey produced a couple of big stops
Then a key game changing moment in the 58th minute when Blair Gavin doesn’t retreat at a free kick, Ben McKendry kicks the ball off him, and the referee shows the Arizona player his second yellow card of the game
Stupid from Blair Gavin (never trust a man with two first names) and the ‘Caps fans let him know it
The ‘Caps smell blood and push hard for the equaliser, putting the Arizona defence under a lot of pressure
With Daniel Haber missing a sitter from just a few yards out, which no-one can believe!
Bit with time running out, Thomas Gardner shows some amazing footwork to create a chance for nothing, which Thomas Sanner finishes to tie things up at 1-1 in the 84th minutes
To the delight of the Southsiders
Three minutes later and Sanner gets a chance to make it two, but Carl Woszczynski; comes up with a huge save
But the rebound falls to Sanner who buries it high into the net to give WFC2 the lead
As Arizona push for a late leveller, Vancouver hit them on the break and Kyle Greig sets up Thomas Sanner on a two on one breakaway
And the rookie coolly slots home to grab his first professional hat-trick and only the second of his career
A beautiful sight!
You can see all of Tom’s photos from the game HERE and in our full Flickr slideshow below: