LANGLEY, BC – Whitecaps FC 2 opened their home schedule in style on Saturday afternoon, defeating rival Seattle Sounders FC 2 by a score of 3-0 at McLeod Athletic Park to earn their first win of the young 2017 United Soccer League season.
Deklan Wynne, Andy Thoma, and Ben McKendry provided the scoring.
It was a notable match for several WFC2 players, including Wynne and Thoma who scored their first goals for the club and as professionals. Also of note, Calgary native Dominick Zator made his professional debut and Whitecaps FC Residency grad Gloire Amanda earned his first pro start, marking the occasion with an assist on Thoma’s late tally.
Finally, Saturday’s result was the first professional win for new WFC2 head coach Rich Fagan, who started six Canadians, four teenagers, and rolled out a new-look 3-1-4-2 formation. That pushed Sem de Wit, a natural centre back, into a holding midfield position – and it was a heads-up play from de Wit that led to the opening goal.
In the 13th minute, last year’s WFC2 MVP alertly stepped up in midfield and played a throughball to Terran Campbell, whose cross from the left deflected to Wynne in the box. The Kiwi international took care of the rest, calmly finishing with a side-footer to the far post.
WFC2 came close to doubling their lead in the 40th minute, when McKendry picked out Amanda in the box with a cross from the left. But S2 keeper Tyler Miller rose to the challenge, denying Amada’s header with a sprawling save on the line.
The young ‘Caps had over 60 per cent of possession in the opening frame. Seattle, on the other hand, threatened in transition, keeping WFC2 goalkeeper Spencer Richey busy with some dangerous crosses into the box and forcing WFC2 into a couple last-ditch tackles.
Seattle got on the ball a bit more in the second half, but neither side managed to create much until the dying stages when WFC2 struck twice. In the 86th minute, Thoma met a cross from Amanda with a diving header at the back post to double Vancouver’s advantage, before McKendry added an insurance marker with a heavy strike from the right side of the box in stoppage time.
Next up for WFC2 is another Cascadia derby next Sunday, April 16 in Portland (2 p.m. PT).