USL football is back in Vancouver.
After months of talking about it and waiting for it, WFC2’s home opener finally took place on Sunday at Thunderbird Stadium.
It was billed as a “Festival of Football”, with a plethora of off the pitch entertainment lined up from bands to food trucks to a brutal game of bubble football (which I loved incidentally, right up my street!).
A packed stadium saw 3,208 fans come out on a beautiful sunny afternoon and although the game itself was perhaps lacking a little bit in the thrills department, a 1-1 draw, two red cards and a frantic second half, will have sent most people home entertained, if not happy at just taking a point against Toronto.
TFC II were dreadful in the first half. WFC2 had dominated the game but were made to rue not making their advantage pay. They went in with a 1-0 lead thanks to a 33rd minute goal from Whitecaps Residency alumni Caleb Clarke, but it was all to change in the second half.
Toronto tied things up through Jay Chapman in the 57th minute, somewhat against the run of play and with the help of a referee that blocked Tyler Rosenlund and inadvertently set up the chance.
That goal sparked TFC2 into life and they looked like the only team that was going to win this thing, missing a couple of great opportunities to do so. Their cause was helped further when Victor Blasco picked up two yellow cards in the space of five minutes and was sent off in the 68th minute.
The couldn’t make their man advantage tell and the Whitecaps were then thrown a lifeline in the 77th minute when Mark Anthony Kaye picked up his second yellow of the game, after sending Ben McKendry flying, and the teams were level in personnel once again.
Both teams had chances to win it. The ‘Caps got in the better positions and will be disappointed to come away with only a draw, remaining with just one win now from their first five games.
AFTN photographer Tom Ewasiuk was there to capture all the 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 his website www.residualimagephotography.com for more of his photos and work].
A packed Thunderbird Stadium ready for WFC2’s home opener
The teams come out
Marie Hui belts out the Canadian national anthem
Ben McKendry has a chance at making history with WFC2’s first home goal
Oh! So close, but Quillan Roberts comes up with the save
Caleb Clarke is next to try his luck but Roberts thwarts him as well
But the goal finally comes in the 33rd minute as Caleb Clarke coolly slots home past Roberts
And the team celebrate the occasion
Bubble football – It’s the future
And the band plays on
TFC II come storming back into the game with Jay Chapman’s 57th minute equaliser
The Whitecaps’ cause receives a further set back when Victor Blasco is sent off in the 68th minute
And the Spaniard is off for an early bath
But numbers are levelled up nine minutes later when Mark Anthony Kaye hacks down Ben McKendry
And Kaye picks up his second yellow and is sent off
But neither team can break the deadlock and the game ends as a 1-1 draw
‘Caps goalscorer Caleb Clarke scrums after the game
As does WFC2 head coach Alan Koch
You can see a Flickr slideshow of all of Tom’s photos from the game below: