In a disappointing end to their sophomore season, Whitecaps FC 2 were eliminated from the USL Playoffs after a 3-0 loss to Swope Park Rangers in the Western Conference Final on Saturday in Kansas City.
Despite winning both of the regular season matchups between the two sides, WFC2 were outclassed by the superior Swope team led by Kris Tyrpak who scored a first half brace for the Rangers with goals in the 8th and 32nd minutes.
Dane Kelly, the USL’s top all-time scorer with former Whitecaps affiliate Charleston Battery, ensured the win for Swope Park with a goal in the 89th minute.
From kick-off it looked like it would be a challenging match for the ‘Caps with the fearsome foursome of Tyrpak, Kelly, Ayrton, and Canadian Mark Anthony Gonzalez leading the Rangers attack.
Although goalkeeper Spencer Richey fought hard for the Whitecaps throughout the match, including making a save with his face just before Tyrpak’s opening goal, there was not much the young American could have done to keep any of the three goals out. The performance was not indicative of Richey’s talent, who was often one of the best players on WFC2 all season.
If fault had to be placed upon anyone on the ‘Caps, the forwards were to blame. Despite fielding a strong front four of Daniel Haber, Marco Bustos, Brett Levis, and Kyle Greig, and having nine corner kicks, WFC2 was held to only two shots on target. While credit can be given to Swope’s defence, the Whitecaps attack made far too many unforced errors for the most important game of many of their young careers.
An unfortunate downside that Vancouver was forced to face was the holes in their lineup. While head coach Alan Koch was gifted Cole Seiler, Kianz Froese, Marco Bustos, Brett Levis, and Marco Carducci on loan from the first team, frequent contributors Alphonso Davies, Thomas Gardner, and Will Seymore were not able to be selected due to injury.
Despite the negatives of the game, one positive was that it was incredibly Canadian in nature. Whitecaps FC 2 featured seven Canadians throughout the match, while SPR started all four Canadians in their lineup. While the game was disappointing for Whitecaps supporters, fans of soccer in Canada can take solace in the wealth of young Canadian talent deep in the USL Playoffs.
Although the game did not go how any Whitecaps players or supporters would have hoped, the loss should not take away from WFC2’s success this season.
In only their second season, Alan Koch’s men and boys finished in the top four of a challenging 29-team USL while fielding the fourth youngest team in the league. They had the best start to the season in the entire USL going unbeaten in their first ten games. And one of their biggest accomplishments, they developed players from the first-team through to the residency.
The most notable aspect of Whitecaps FC 2’s season was Alphonso Davies. The 15-year-old, one of very few bright spots in an otherwise bleak year for the senior team, earned himself an MLS contract because of his play with WFC2 this season. While it was obvious he had talent, he would not have had the same chance to prove himself to Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson without being given the chance at the USL level. If it was just for Davies alone, the reserve side’s season could be considered successful.
But combined with their other accomplishments and the promotion of Brett Levis from WFC2 to the senior team as well, Alan Koch and his men should be very proud of their accomplishments this season.
Thanks to Whitecaps FC 2, the future of Vancouver and Canadian soccer is bright.
1-0 Swope Park Rangers – Kris Tyrpak – 8’
2-0 Swope Park Rangers – Kris Tyrpak (Tyler Pasher) – 32’
3-0 Swope Park Rangers – Dane Kelly (Tyler Pasher) – 89’
Yellow – Nansel Selbol – Swope Park Rangers – 83’
Yellow – Alex Molano – Swope Park Rangers – 88’
Yellow – Sem de Wit – Whitecaps FC 2 – 90’
Yellow – Nansel Selbol – Swope Park Rangers – 90+2’
Red – Nansel Selbol – Swope Park Rangers – 90+2’
|Team||Whitecaps FC 2||Swope Park Rangers|
|Shots on Goal||2||5|
Whitecaps FC 2:
Substitutes: Safiu for Haber (54’), Diaz for Chung (66’), Frano for Froese (75’), Sanner for Baldisimo (80’)
Unused Substitutes: Carducci, Sandhu, Harrison
Swope Park Rangers:
Substitutes: Selbol for Gonzalez (19’), Barrett for Tyrpak (69’), Granitto for Ayrton (71’), Molano for Appiah (85’), Little for Kelly (90’)
Unused Substitutes: Lubin, Wilkinson