VANCOUVER, BC – The young ‘Caps continue to grow right in front of our very eyes.
Whitecaps FC 2 came back from an early deficit to win 2-1 over Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC in their USL Cup Playoffs debut at Switchbacks Stadium on Friday evening.
Kyle Greig and Kianz Froese scored for WFC2, who now advance to the Western Conference Semifinals, where they will meet the winner of Saturday evening’s match between Rio Grande Valley FC and Oklahoma City Energy FC.
The home side got off to a dream start in their return to the postseason. After Miguel Gonzalez won possession for the Switchbacks in the midfield, fullback Josh Suggs attacked wide on the left flank and set up Luke Vercollone for a header to open the scoring just seven minutes into the match.
The ‘Caps would draw level 10 minutes later. As he has all year, Greig settled his young team down, this time by way of a well-struck equalizer. Positioned directly in front of goal, the WFC2 captain capitalized on an idly bouncing ball, slotting it past goalkeeper Devala Gorrick on the first touch.
Whitecaps FC 2 went ahead in the 31st minute, thanks to Froese’s persistent effort. Starting with a short corner from the left side, the 20-year-old midfielder had his initial attempt blocked right back to him. He would not be denied on the second try, as his right-foot blast in traffic found the back of the net for the lead.
The ‘Caps nearly padded their advantage moments later when Marco Bustos’ cross was deflected towards the goal, forcing Gorrick to dive to keep the score at 2-1 going into halftime.
Greig and Froese kept the Switchbacks on their heels in the second half. Five minutes after intermission, 18-year-old Thomas Gardner slipped a throughball to the attacking Greig, but Gorrick was there to make the leaping save on the breakaway chance. Froese came close to cashing in on another rebound in the 79th minute, but the Colorado Springs goalkeeper was there again, getting low to tap away the attempt.
In the end, the ‘Caps defence was stout. Kadin Chung came through with numerous key tackles, Cole Seiler and Sem de Wit were strong in the middle, while goalkeeper Spencer Richey was calm in net to complete the nail-biting playoff road win.
WFC2 now either travel to Rio Grande Valley FC, or host OKC Energy FC at Thunderbird Stadium. If WFC2 host the Western Conference Semifinal match, it will be on Saturday, October 8, kicking off at 12 p.m.
7′ – COS – Luke Vercollone (Josh Suggs)
17′ – VAN – Kyle Greig
31′ – VAN – Kianz Froese
Shots: COS 19 – VAN 14
Shots on Goal: COS 4 – VAN 5
Saves: COS 3 – VAN 3
Corners: COS 8 – VAN 4
44′ – COS – Christian Ibeagha
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
1.Devala Gorrick; 44.Jordan Burt, 3.Christian Ibeagha (9.Martin Maybin 81′), 2.Josh Phillips, 5.Josh Suggs; 35.Taesong Kim (11.Saeed Robinson 61′), 8.Rony Argueta, 4.Luke Vercollone © (6.Davy Armstrong 85′); 10.Miguel Gonzalez, 12.Mike Seth, 19.Conor Doyle (34.JJ Greer 77′)
Substitutes not used
31.Zac Gibbens, 15.Jungyeong Park, 22.Yaw Danso
Whitecaps FC 2
39.Spencer Richey; 63.Kadin Chung, 51.Sem de Wit, 14.Cole Seiler, 46.Brett Levis; 38.Kianz Froese, 64.Thomas Gardner (57.Thomas Sanner 87′), 65.Matthew Baldisimo (58.Will Seymore 76′); 56.Daniel Haber (48.Christopher Diaz 69′), 47.Kyle Greig, 32.Marco Bustos (45.Giuliano Frano 90’+3′)
Substitutes not used
24.Marco Carducci, 41.Jackson Farmer, 49.Fatawu Safiu