The Whitecaps FC 2 (1-0-2) suffered its second loss of the season, as they fell 2-0 on the road against the Orange County Blues (1-0-1) at Anteater Stadium on Sunday evening.
After two early yellow cards, loanee Ethen Sampson was shown red and ejected in the 34th minute, reducing the team to ten men for almost two-thirds of the game. The young South African did not make a case for inclusion in the senior Starting Eleven next week against Real Salt Lake, despite the substandard performances from right-back Steven Beitashour. Due to the ejection, Sampson will not be eligible for the next WFC2 match in Sacramento.
Although the red card to Sampson put the ‘Caps at a disadvantage, WFC2 gave veteran Cuban keeper Pepe Miranda all that he could handle. The Whitecaps managed to control possession for a large part of the game, but the young team was unable to make the most of the opportunities they were given.
The Orange County Blues were finally able to capitalise on their one-man advantage in the 58th minute with a goal from Swiss central-midfielder Didier Crettenand, before substitute Amani Walker added an additional goal in the third minute of stoppage time to put away the game.
Despite the loss, the game was another great experience for the young players, especially the Canadians on the side. Fulfilling quotas set by the Canadian Soccer Association, head coach Alan Koch fielded eight Canadians in the starting eleven, with an additional three Canadian players entering as substitutes.
Despite the number of senior Whitecaps loanees on the squad, the Thundercaps were not able to fight off the full-strength Orange County team. Senior Whitecaps on the team included keeper Marco Carducci; defenders Ethen Sampson, Tim Parker, and Christian Dean; midfielders Ben McKendry and Kianz Froese; as well as striker Caleb Clarke. With eight senior players receiving time on the pitch on Sunday, the dividends of the reserve team are already paying off.
Central-midfielder Ben McKendry, a homegrown player on loan from the senior team, was a bright spot for the ‘Caps, setting up multiple goal-scoring attempts through set pieces. Despite his strong showing, it will take a lot more to break into one of the deepest positions on the senior team. In the 4-2-3-1 formation senior head coach Carl Robinson has gone with for most games this season, McKendry will need to overtake three of the four current central-midfielders including Designated Player Matias Laba, fellow homegrown Canadian Russell Teibert, long-time ‘Cap Gershon Koffie, and Honduran loanee Deybi Flores.
WFC2 looks to recover its form by Wednesday, April 15th when they face the defending champions Sacramento Republic at Bonney Field at 7:30 PM. All USL games are streamed live on YouTube for free.
Whitecaps 2 Starting XI:
Chris Serban for Brett Levis (39’); Mackenzie Pridham for Sahil Sandhu (65’); Billy Schuler for Caleb Clarke (65’); Mitch Piraux for Tyler Rosenlund (76’); Victor Blasco for Kianz Froese (77’)
Spencer Richey; Craig Nitti
Blues Starting XI:
Christopher Santana for Nikola Illich (59’); Jacob Barron for Luka Petricevic (63’); Amani Walker for Denzel Slager (80’)
Billy Thompson; Beto Navarro; Jimmy Turner; Jiovanni Santana