With the memories of a 4-0 drubbing in Seattle on March 29th still fresh, Whitecaps FC 2 (1W-2D-3L) played Sounders FC 2 (3W-1D-2L) to a 1-1 draw at UBC Thunderbird Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Early in the 15th minute, bad memories came back for the ‘Caps as Sounders’ striker Darwin Jones slotted a goal passed Paolo Tornaghi. Fortunately for the Whitecaps the goal was ruled offside, and Jones was kept off the scoresheet for the remainder of the game, unable to replicate his March 29th hat trick.
After sitting on the bench for the entirety of Saturday’s game against D.C. United, Robert Earnshaw received his first start with WFC2, scoring the Whitecaps’ only goal in the 16th minute when he dribbled away with a S2 miss-pass and chipped it over the Sounders’ keeper.
Attacking midfielder Brett Levis almost doubled the score a minute later, but his shot bounced off the crossbar and out of danger for Seattle.
Despite the pressure the Whitecaps put on early, Nick Miele evened the scoreline at 1-1 in the 23rd minute, slotting away a header by Andy Craven off a Sounders 2 corner kick.
Excluding the two yellow cards shown to Robert Earnshaw and Aaron Kovar in the 28th minute after a scuffle between the two players, the remainder of the half was quiet.
After another quiet beginning to the second half, Earnshaw almost earned his second of the match in the 60th minute while Kianz Froese nearly put the ‘Caps in the lead again after an amazing nutmeg through a S2 defender and a shot that was just saved by Sounders’ keeper Charlie Lyon.
The only two major mistakes made by the Whitecaps back four almost led to two Sounders goals midway through the second half. Tornaghi made a huge save on Darwin Jones in the 68th minute, and was fortunate two minutes later when Jones snuck behind him and missed the empty Whitecaps’ net.
WFC2 came close to regaining the lead twice late in the second half with shots from Tyler Rosenlund and Froese in the 81st and 82nd minute, respectively, but the Whitecaps were unable to walk away from Thunderbird Stadium with the full three points against their Cascadian rivals.
The ‘Thundercaps’ fielded their strongest lineup of the USL season on Sunday, with seven first-team players starting and two players coming on as substitutes. The first-team players that started included goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi; defenders Christian Dean and Tim Parker; midfielders Ben McKendry, Deybi Flores, and Kianz Froese; as well as Welsh striker Robert Earnshaw. The substitutes included right-back Ethen Sampson fresh off of his one game suspension and Canadian striker Caleb Clarke. Goalkeeper Marco Carducci was also on loan for the match, but did not find himself part of head coach Alan Koch’s plans.
Despite the two mistakes in the second half, WFC2’s back four kept the Sounders from winning the game. Featuring Jordan Haynes, Christian Dean, Tim Parker, and Jackson Farmer in the first half, with Ethen Sampson coming on for Haynes after halftime, the Whitecaps’ defenders were one of the bright points of the game. Dean and Parker, the Whitecaps’ 2014 and 2015 first round Superdraft picks, respectively, shone for the ‘Caps, and could easily be the future of the senior team’s defence.
Canadian Kianz Froese also played well on Sunday afternoon, hoping to impress senior head coach Carl Robinson and find his way into the senior team. Given his raw talent and that fact he has just turned 19, Froese should be expected to become a starter of the ‘Caps in the future.
Ethen Sampson for Jackson Farmer (45′); Caleb Clarke for Robert Earnshaw (64′); Tyler Rosenlund for Ben McKendry (74′); Billy Schuler for Deybi Flores (82′); Mackenzie Pridham (82′)
Spencer Richey; Chris Serban
Sounders FC 2 Starting XI and Substitutes:
Oalex Anderson for Pablo Rossi (65′); Duncan McCormick for Aaron Kovar (71′); Sam Garza for Darwin Jones (77′)
Choong Sil Lim; Saif Kerawala; Kasey French; Lorenzo Ramos
Photo Credit: Thunderbird Stadium (UBC) by Jeff Hitchcock, on Flickr