SCOTTSDALE, ARIZONA – On a scorching night in Scottsdale which saw a water break being authorized by the referee, Whitecaps FC 2 (8W-12L-5D) battled through but dropped a 2-0 result to Arizona United SC (9W-13L-1D) to end a month-long road trip.
The Blue and White were unlucky not to capitalize on a commanding first half performance, where they held their opposition to zero shots on target. Second-half headers from Long Tan and Aaron Dennis secured the three points for the home side. The 2-0 score line is an inverse of the fixture between the two sides back on May 30 at Thunderbird Stadium which Whitecaps FC 2 won.
Following a cagey opening to the match between two teams separated by four points heading into the contest, WFC2 created the most-threatening scoring opportunities of the first half in quick succession.
First, on 16 minutes, WFC2 striker Billy Schuler’s attempted volley from seven yards out was parried away by United SC goalkeeper Carl Woszcynski.
Two minutes later, the boys in Blue and White knocked on the door again, this time through a Deybi Flores free kick from the top of the box. The Honduran’s effort struck the crossbar and was subsequently cleared away from danger by Arizona. Schuler, who was making his first start for Alan Koch’s side since a July 31 win at Tulsa, was the recipient of another opportunity in the 39th minute. Following a nifty first touch and a fleet turn, Schuler unleashed a rocket that required Woszcynski at full-stretch to save.
The first half nearly ended in spectacular fashion, as Scott Morrison’s free kick curled wide-left of Spencer Richey’s goal. The miss turned out to be the final action of a scoreless first half that saw WFC2 land five more shots on target than the hosts.
To Arizona’s credit, after being outplayed in the first half, United SC came out with intent after the intermission, opening the scoring in the 48th minute. Former Whitecaps FC forward Long Tan got to the end of a neatly placed cross from Damian Rosales, before connecting authoritatively on a header past Richey.
Vancouver threatened to equalize shortly past the hour mark.
Jackson Farmer connected on a Marco Bustos free kick in the 64th minute but the defender’s header sailed wide-left of Carl Woszcynsk’s frame.
On 69 minutes, Richey made a tremendous sprawling save to keep Arizona’s lead at one for the time being, as the Seattle native was able to get his hands to Danny Garcia’s strike from 30 yards out.
A milestone header for Arizona’s Aaron Dennis doubled the opposition’s lead in the 82nd minute for the final score. For Dennis, who entered the match just three minutes prior to scoring, it was his first professional goal for Arizona United SC.
WFC2 remain seven points outside of the playoff picture but now look forward to a bye next week.
Whitecaps FC 2 then conclude the regular schedule with a three-match homestand at Thunderbird Stadium, beginning with a date against defending USL champion Sacramento Republic FC on Sunday, September 6.
48′ – AZ – Long Tan
82′ – AZ- Aaron Dennis (Jonathan Top)
Shots: AZ 14- VAN 11
Saves: AZ 5 – VAN 4
Fouls: AZ 16 – VAN 18
Corners: AZ 1 – VAN 5
16′ – VAN – Sam Adekugbe
22′ – AZ – Tyler Ruthven
25′ – VAN – Kianz Froese
51′ – VAN – Will Seymore
60′ – AZ – Joey Dillon
67′ – VAN – Victor Blasco
Arizona United SC
1.Carl Woszcynski; 3.Damian Rosales, 33.Eduar Zea, 2.Tyler Ruthven (37. Romeo Filipovic 46′), 23.Scott Morrison; 10.Jose Cuevas (6.Brock Granger 86′),11.Danny Garcia (8. George Malki 80′), 12.Joey Dillon; 15. Dennis Chin (29. Aaron Dennis 79′), 9.Jonathan Top, 29.Long Tan (22. Schillo Tshuma 90′)
Substitutes not used
18.Zak Downes, 6.Brock Granger, 7. Robbie Derschang
Whitecaps FC 2
39.Spencer Richey; 50.Sahil Sandhu, 41.Jackson Farmer, 58.Will Seymore, 3.Sam Adekugbe; 20.Deybi Flores, 38.Kianz Froese; 32.Marco Bustos, 25.Andre Lewis (45.Tyler Rosenlund 63′), 48.Victor Blasco (62. Deklan Wynne 80′); 51.Billy Schuler (34. Caleb Clarke 69′)
Substitutes not used
24.Marco Carducci; 42.Jordan Haynes, 47.Jovan Blagojevic, 54.Craig Nitti