LANGLEY, BC – Whitecaps FC 2 (4W-8L-3D) suffered a tough 2-0 loss against Seattle Sounders FC 2 (7W-7L-2D) as fans were treated to a Canada Day celebration with some USL soccer action at McLeod Athletic Park on Saturday afternoon.
The loss evened up the 2017 Cascadia rivalry, setting up for an exciting rubber match between the two sides on August 13 in Seattle.
The young ‘Caps side had some good chances around S2’s net early in the second half, but Seattle were the ones to capitalize on chances with goals from Ray Saari and Zach Mathers.
Rich Fagan made four changes to last weekend’s lineup. Francis de Vries, back from injury, slotted into the back four alongside Deklan Wynne, making his return after a stint with the New Zealand national team at the FIFA Confederations Cup. Recent WFC2 signing Myer Bevan made his first start up front, taking Kyle Greig’s position, and Matthew Baldisimo made his eighth start of the season in midfield.
S2 found the back of the net first, with Saari scoring his second of the season in the 31st minute. His shot from just outside the box ricocheted off WFC2 captain Sem de Wit and, with Spencer Richey already committed to the shot’s original trajectory, the ball bounced just past the ‘Caps keeper.
David Norman Jr. had the most convincing chance for the ‘Caps in the first, shortly after S2’s opening goal. His corner kick, similar to those which created two assists in last weekend’s match, curled deep into the box and was stopped by S2 keeper Bryan Meredith right on the goal line.
Another Norman Jr. corner led to one of the best chances of the match for the Blue and White in the 55th minute. Playing the ball back in after an S2 clearance, de Wit found the head of Bevan in the box, who played it on for an incoming Baldisimo. His ensuing volley clipped the top of the cross bar then sailed out of bounds.
Mathers doubled the visitors’ lead just before the hour mark, as S2 made a quick break upfield amid an onslaught of ‘Caps attacks. The leading scorer for the Seattle side got on the end of a short pass through Vancouver’s defence from Lorenzo Ramos, and blasted the ball past Richey from around the penalty spot.
His goal would seal the fate for the ‘Caps, as they fell 2-0 against their opponents from down the I-5.