S2 made their second trip of the season to Thunderbird Stadium on a sweltering Saturday afternoon, for the third of (at least) four meetings between the Cascadian rivals in USL action this year.
Having suffered a 4-0 thumping down at Starfire to kick off their inaugural USL campaign back in March, WFC2 bounced back with a 1-1 home draw in April, and the continued improvement was complete this past weekend when the ‘Caps ran out 3-1 winners in front of 1,409 fans.
It was US Independence Day, which was apt as the Whitecaps served up some late fireworks to come away with the win.
The Sounders had the best of the early chances and Marco Carducci did fantastic to dive and knock the ball off the feet of Oalex Anderson as he looked poised to open the scoring.
It was a pretty end to end game in the first half, with the ‘Caps shading the better play, led by an impressive Marco Bustos, Brett Levis and Andre Lewis. WFC2 could have been a couple of goals up if Bustos had perhaps played a quicker pass on a couple of breaks.
WFC2’s pressure was to pay off though four minutes before half time when Christian Dean grabbed his first professional goal after a neat one-two with Brett Levis. Dean had looked dangerous in the left back role, getting up and down the wing through the half and his work was rewarded by a well taken goal.
1-0 to the ‘Caps at the half, and it was a half that showed just how good this young ‘Caps side can be. They’re certainly starting to click and develop as the year goes on.
But not for the first time this season, they let their lead slip and S2 tied things up in the 67th minute when WFC2 failed to clear a corner, allowing Oniel Fisher to lay the ball off to Sergio Mota and the Brazilian curled a 20 yard beauty past a diving Carducci.
The game seemed destined to end in another stalemate before WFC2 sub Victor Blasco stole the show. The Spaniard had come on as a 77th minute sub for Lewis and won all three points for the Whitecaps with two goals in a 78 second spell right at the end of the match.
Not only was the brace his first goals of the season but they were also his first professional goals after a youth career in Spain and a college stint here on Vancouver Island.
Blasco’s first came in the 89th minute when fellow sub Billy Schuler cut the ball back and he slotted home from eight yards out. The pair combined again in the last minute of normal time when Schuler played in Blasco and the winger took a step inside his man before curling the ball past Charlie Lyon in the Sounders goal for a 3-1 final.
A great and well-deserved win for the Whitecaps that moves them to within three points of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference standings.
“Great game,” was WFC2 coach Alan Koch’s take after the match. “I thought we played very, very well. Good performance, great result. Obviously lots of little things that we can tidy up. We did give them a couple of chances that we’re not happy with, but with a young group you obviously expect that.
“Very, very pleased with the overall performance. Not only from the guys that started but the guys that came off the bench and made major impacts in the game today.”
One of those disappointing aspects for WFC2 was letting another lead slip away, although Koch was delighted with how his team regrouped. It’s another sign of his this squad is growing.
“Frustrating,” Koch told us. “We try to play and with young players we’re going to make mistakes. Happy to be 1-0 up, not happy when they scored. You could kind of see our guys take a bit of a pause for a second, kind of gather themselves thank goodness and then push towards the end.
“You’ve got to play for the full 90 minutes, which we did today, and we deserved to get the three points. Full credit to the guys. I think everybody was good from top to bottom.”
WFC2 are in action again this coming Friday and it’s another Cascadian derby as Timbers 2 come to town. It’s a 7pm kick off, so head along if you can.
AFTN photographer Tom Ewasiuk was at WFC2’s exciting win over Seattle to capture all the action. Here’s our “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].
The Caps had some early pressure with Marco Bustos and Andre Lewis linking up well
You can see more photos from the match in the Flickr slideshow below: