Rosenlund, Blasco Star as Whitecaps FC 2 Win 2-1 Versus Cascadia Rival Timbers 2
VANCOUVER, BC - Whitecaps FC 2 (6W-8L-4D) played under the Friday night lights and showed clear eyes, full hearts and simply would not lose versus Timbers 2 (6W-9L-2D) as the Blue and White came away with a 2-1 decision at Thunderbird Stadium.
Captain Tyler Rosenlund and midfielder Victor Blasco scored for the 'Caps, who won their third Cascadia rivalry match in four weeks.
With defender Jackson Farmer and striker Caleb Clarke currently at the 2015 Pan Am Games, head coach Alan Koch tabbed Craig Nitti and Diego Rodriguez at the centre back positions and Billy Schuler up front. Nitti and Rodriguez, making their second start together this season, set the tone as they combined to make early stops against the T2 attack.
The 'Caps pushed forward in the 16th minute when Blasco won a battle for the ball on the left flank before the reigning USL Player of the Week was taken down by T2 defender Brent Richards just before he entered the box. On the ensuing free kick, the ball bounced its way to Rosenlund, but the 'Caps captain's header was easily collected by T2 goalkeeper Justin Luthy.
Schuler and Blasco almost produced a tally in the 30th minute. The build-up started with Marco Bustos finding an advancing Schuler on the right, who then teed up Blasco inside, but Richards was there to partially block the attempt.
T2 opened the scoring in the 35th minute when midfielder Fatawu Safiu blasted a scorcher from 23 feet that got past the outstretched arms of WFC2 goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi and into the top-right corner.
Ben McKendry tried to answer not long after, but his attempt was wide left of the target and the Blue and White entered halftime with a 1-0 deficit.
The 'Caps looked like a different squad coming out of intermission and it would yield a result two minutes into the second half. Starting with a cross from Bustos on the far side, Andre Lewis touched the ball near the right byline and found Rosenlund just inside the box for the equalizer. It was the first goal of the season for the Port Coquitlam, BC native.
It looked like Whitecaps FC 2 were ready to pad the lead in the 51st minute when Blasco broke away on the left side but he was forced to a tough-angle shot that would not connect. Schuler would also get a couple of tries off a corner kick, but his first attempt was blocked by a defender and his second shot missed the target.
In the 63rd minute, it was the Schuler-to-Blasco show again. Blasco received the pass from his attacking partner in the left side of the box and then cut right before launching a right-foot strike to the top-right corner. Schuler has now assisted on a Bustos goal for the third time in the last two outings.
Bustos would get into the act when he manufactured chances for himself - one when he split defenders but was met by the goalkeeper, and another off a long-distance strike that missed the target.
Tornaghi stayed sharp in the second half as well. T2 midfielder Tim Payne played the ball forward to Safiu but the Italian goalkeeper was ready and got his hands on the ball before Safiu could get a shot off.
The 'Caps twice came inches away from getting a third goal late. McKendry dispossessed a T2 defender close to the T2 box and blasted a shot from the right that beat the goalkeeper but not the far post. Later on, it was Nitti who almost caught Luthy off-position when he launched a shot from the centre line only to see his booming strike hit the crossbar.
It would not be necessary as the offical blew the final whistle to make the 'Caps win official, giving Vancouver 22 points and tying the Arizona United SC and Orange County Blues FC for the sixth and final playoff slot in the Western Conference.
WFC2 won't have to wait long to keep the momentum going as they host first-place Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at Thunderbird Stadium this coming Wednesday, July 15. Tickets can be purchased online at whitecapsfc.com/wfc2/wfc2tickets or at the gate.
Come and see the next generation of Whitecaps FC stars as USL arrives in Vancouver. WFC2 matches are a unique and affordable experience for fans, families, students, and supporters. Flex packs are also available to fit your schedule - get seven tickets to use any way you want, to any matches you want. For more information on all WFC2 ticket options, call 604-484-7862 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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United Soccer League Championship Stories from July 10, 2015
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