PORTLAND, OR – Spencer Richey recorded four saves while Marco Bustos scored his third goal of the season to lead Whitecaps FC 2 (4W-5L-2D) to a 1-0 victory over Portland Timbers 2 (1W-10L-1D) at Providence Park on Sunday afternoon.
Bustos’ 56th-minute penalty kick goal proved to be enough for Vancouver, who benefitted from Richey’s stellar performance in net. The Cascadia rivalry victory gives Richey his third clean sheet of the year, the highest single-season total for a WFC2 goalkeeper in their young three-year history.
WFC2 head coach Rich Fagan fielded a lineup with a mix of youth and experience, featuring four teenagers and five first-teamers, as well as seven players who were involved in the recently concluded Canadian Championship semifinal.
The derby match was a physical affair to start, and the two sides’ respective MLS goalkeepers stole the show in the first half. First, it was T2 netminder Kendall McIntosh denying ‘Caps midfielder Thomas Gardner from close, after a quick interplay with Kadin Chung along the right side in the 26th minute.
Less than 10 minutes later, Richey would rise to the occasion himself. Bulgarian midfielder Villyan Bijev carved his way around a pair of Vancouver defenders to reach the left endline, then dropped off a cross to Victor Arboleda. The Colombian midfielder aimed for goal from 12 yards, but Richey parried the attempt away to keep the match scoreless heading into halftime.
The visitors would come out of intermission as the more aggressive side with Kyle Greig pushing forward. WFC2 would get their reward in the 55th minute when they fought well to keep possession and Gardner located Ben McKendry on the left side of the box. Max Ornstil slid in to block the Vancouver native’s chip attempt, but Portland was whistled for handball as the T2 defender got his left paw on the shot. Bustos stepped up for the ensuing penalty kick, putting WFC2 up 1-0.
On the other end, the ‘Caps defence was stout. A pair of Richey saves, first against Omar Mohamed in the 59th minute, and the other versus Augustine Williams three minutes later, bookended Sem de Wit’s goal line clearance on Ornstil’s shot.
Richey was not done, however. In added time, Harold Hanson looked to capitalize on a quickly-taken free kick, and dribbled his way through the box, only to be turned away by Richey’s instinctive right-hand save, as WFC2 held on for the 1-0 win.
Whitecaps FC 2 continue their road trip on Saturday, June 10 at Phoenix Rising FC. The club announced last week that owner and superstar Didier Drogba will be making his highly-anticipated USL debut against WFC2. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m.
The young ‘Caps are back home on Saturday, June 24 when they host Oklahoma City Energy FC at UBC Thunderbird Stadium for Community Day.