WFC2 Visit Red-Hot Swope Park with USL Cup Final Berth
Vancouver Whitecaps FC News
WFC2 visit red-hot Swope Park with USL Cup Final berth on the line Oct 14th 2016, 00:05
"This is a brand-new beginning. We fight for another week, to go another week."
Such was the message from Alan Koch to his team after last week's instant-classic finish against Oklahoma City Energy FC.
On Saturday, Whitecaps FC 2 visit a strong Canadian-powered Swope Park Rangers side, for the right to be called the best in the West, and play in the USL Cup Final on Sunday, October 23.
Catch the Western Conference Final live on whitecapsfc2.com. Kickoff is at 5:30 p.m. PT.
WHITECAPS FC 2
The young 'Caps find themselves in the final four of the USL Cup Playoffs after strong postseason play from first-teamer Kianz Froese and captain Kyle Greig.
After tallying 17 shots during the regular season, Froese has planted his foot on the pedal in the playoffs, already launching 11 in just two matches. The box-to-box midfielder's aggressive play has led to two goals, including Saturday's long-distance direct free kick that froze the OKC goalkeeper.
Kianz FROESE, Kianz FROESE! 'Caps up 1-0. #VANvOKC pic.twitter.com/RYQNo7Ue3v
- Whitecaps FC 2 (@wfc2) October 8, 2016
Meanwhile, Greig has recaptured his touch from earlier in the season, when he scored or assisted in nine of the first 13 fixtures. The striker makes his return to his home state of Kansas riding a two-game goal-scoring streak.
Koch has the 'Caps firing on all cylinders: Will Seymore and Matthew Baldisimo working tirelessly in the midfield, Kadin Chung and Brett Levis blazing on each flank, and the centreback duo of Cole Seiler and Sem de Wit standing tall in the back. On offence, Daniel Haber continues his clutch play, now having scored or assisted on the match-winner after the 85th minute four times this year.
Spencer Richey is expected to start in net again for the 'Caps, after leading the side in wins, save percentage, and goals-allowed average during the regular season.
SWOPE PARK RANGERS
Rangers enter the West final as arguably the hottest of the remaining playoff teams. Having won eight of their last nine matches, head coach Marc Dos Santos' team is fresh off a gritty Western Conference Semifinal win despite being down to nine men.
Mark Anthony Gonzalez, one of four Canadians on the lineup, paced the team with nine goals in the regular season, and has added three more in postseason play.
Another major factor in Rangers' playoff run is Kris Tyrpak. The 2013 USL Professional Development League MVP has scored or assisted in each of their postseason matches, after totaling seven goals in the regular season.
Jamaican forward Dane Kelly, the all-time leading scorer in the current USL format, is another threat that the 'Caps defence will have to mark throughout.
After rotating five goalkeepers during the regular season, Swope Park appear to have settled with Mexican Adrian Zendejas. Formerly with Liga MX side Club Tijuana, Zendejas has started the last seven matches, and currently boasts an untarnished 7W-0L-0D record in the USL.
Zendejas will be heavily relied upon as Swope Park will be missing a pair of starters. Left back Ever Alvarado and centreback Tommy Meyer are each suspended for their actions in the previous match. In their absence, Canadians Amer Didic and Johnny Grant may get the call.
THE ROAD CONTINUES
The winner of Saturday's matchup advances to meet the winner between New York Red Bulls II and Louisville City FC, who play at Red Bull Arena on Sunday afternoon. If the 'Caps win, they visit the Eastern Conference champions in the USL Cup Final on October 23. Stay tuned to whitecapsfc2.com for the latest updates.
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