WFC2 Excited for Showcase Match
Playing in the United Soccer League (USL) is a great measuring stick for Whitecaps FC 2 (WFC2). The 'Caps roster features players between the ages of 17 and 25 from the Residency program, college ranks, and international prospects. Today, the USL is the fastest growing second division in the world, home to a number of highly experienced and accomplished pros, several of whom have played in the top leagues on the planet.
But on Saturday, as WFC2 head on the road to face Phoenix Rising FC, the young 'Caps will face the biggest fish in the pond.
Chelsea great and Ivory Coast legend Didier Drogba will be making his debut for Phoenix, bringing global attention to the match and setting up a terrific opportunity for WFC2 (6:30 p.m. PT, LIVE on whitecapsfc.com).
A capacity crowd is expected at the new 6,200-seat Phoenix Rising FC Soccer Complex. Under new ownership, the club have brought in star power as part of their push to get an MLS expansion club. In addition to Drogba, they also have his former Chelsea teammate Shaun Wright-Phillips, and former Mexico national team striker Omar Bravo.
"It's going to be a really exciting experience," noted goalkeeper Sean Melvin, who if called upon will have the task of stopping any Drogba shots coming his way. "Obviously, everyone knows where [Drogba] played in his career, what he's accomplished, so it's going to be really cool to play against a guy with that experience and see what he can do."
After a Hall of Fame calibre career in the English Premier League, Drogba played the last two seasons in MLS with Montreal Impact. On April 12, he signed a contract with Phoenix Rising FC, becoming the first player-owner in professional soccer.
18-year-old striker Gloire Amanda grew up idolizing Drogba, following his career very closely at Chelsea, and then later at Galatasaray n the Turkish Sî1/4per Lig. As a young striker himself, Amanda has studied Drogba's qualities that he's looking to bring into his own game.
"His strength and power," noted the 'Caps Residency product on what stands out. "When he gets the ball inside the box he looks to finish. It doesn't matter how it goes in as long as the ball goes in the back of the net. He gets the job done and I think that's something I need to improve on."
For the team, the focus is on getting three points to stay ahead of Phoenix in the Western Conference standings, whom they currently lead by two points.
But after the match, a potential jersey swap will certainly be considered.
"There's been a little talk in the dressing room," admitted Amanda. "But we'll just have to wait and see who gets lucky I guess."
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