VANCOUVER, BC – Pace and energetic play was the name of the game on Saturday, as Whitecaps FC 2 (4W-7L-3D) and Oklahoma City Energy FC (5W-6L-3D) battled it out to a 2-2 draw in the summer heat at Thunderbird Stadium.
Back on home turf after a two-game road trip, Whitecaps FC 2 made one change to their starting lineup from last weekend’s 2-1 loss against Sacramento Republic FC. With Terran Campbell away playing with the Whitecaps FC U-18 squad at the Academy Playoffs, David Norman Jr. made his ninth start of the season in the midfield alongside Will Seymore and Ben McKendry.
Myer Bevan also made his debut for WFC2, coming into the match in the 65th minute for Ben McKendry. The New Zealand native signed for the ‘Caps in May before representing his country at the FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Former WFC2 captain and current first-team player Kyle Greig led the first convincing chance of the match for the home side in the 24th minute. The striker picked his way through to the top of the box from the right flank, then slipped the ball behind OKC’s defence for Thomas Gardner to run on to at the penalty spot. Gardner’s connection was threatening as he sliced the ball towards net, but the quick reflexes of OKC keeper Cody Laurendi kept the ‘Caps off the scoreboard.
Even with the ‘Caps early momentum, OKC was the team to open the scoring late in the first. Midfielder José Barril started the play in the 34th minute, slotting the ball into the path of striker Andy Craven who in turn played the ball in to the box. Juan Pablo Guzmán managed to get on the end of the ball, sliding into its path and sending the ball into the top corner of the net.
In the second, both teams continued the fast pace despite the Vancouver heat wave settling in at the pitch.
WFC2 newcomer Nazeem Bartman brought the game back to even in the 57th minute, as he sent a quick, short header past Laurendi deep in the box for his first professional goal. David Norman Jr. notched his third assist of the season with the corner kick delivery.
The goal was Bartman’s first as a professional since his debut with WFC2 against Sacramento Republic FC on April 29. It was a well-deserved one as well, as a similar attacking play and attempt on net minutes earlier was sent just over the bar.
OKC would respond quickly, as the counter attack by Craven forced Gardner into a tussle just inside the box. The play ended with Craven down on the pitch and a penalty call from referee Michelle Pye.
Craven placed the penalty shot just past the fingertips of Spencer Richey, putting OKC ahead once again with 30 minutes to go in the match.
As the back-and-forth match between the two sides continued, it was the ‘Caps turn to find the back netting in the 70th minute. With another Norman corner kick, substitute Thomas Sanner sent a header past Laurendi to put the ‘Caps even at 2-2.
That score would stand, with a highly entertaining match finishing with a 2-2 score line at the final whistle.