Vancouver, BC - Robert Earnshaw may have only played a handful of minutes for the Vancouver Whitecaps' MLS team so far this season, but on Sunday afternoon the Welsh striker put in an impressive shift for WFC2, and added yet another debut goal to his outstanding resumé.
WFC2, who were resoundingly beaten 4-0 by the Seattle Sounders FC2 on opening day, were intent on setting the record straight against their Cascadia rivals. Carl Robinson loaned ten MLS players to Alan Koch's USL side, and seven of the MLS players, including Earnshaw, were in the starting XI.
The inclusion of the MLS players appeared to pay off for Vancouver, who started the match well, and was the better of two sides through the opening quarter of an hour. Seattle, however, did manage a few chances of their own during the opening stages of the game, and gave Vancouver a scare when they had a goal called back for offside in the fifteenth minute.
Just a minute after the disallowed Seattle goal Vancouver's Earnshaw capitalized on a poor Seattle backpass and put the ball behind S2 'keeper Charlie Lyon to open his WFC2 goal scoring account.
Vancouver, however, did not stay in front of the visitors from the Emerald City for very long. In the twenty-third minute some poor play by WFC2 on a S2 corner gave the visitors a chance to draw level, and Seattle defender Nick Miele punished the Thundercaps for their defensive lapse.
Although this match finished in a one-all draw, there were still plenty of exciting moments to keep the 2,056 fans at Thunderbird Stadium entertained. Kianz Froese, in particular, had perhaps the best opportunity of either team to score when he used some very fancy footwork to beat a pair of S2 defenders, but saw his shot cleared off the goal line.
S2's Andy Craven and Darwen Jones, who combined for four goals between the two of them when these two teams last met, were kept in check by the Thundercaps for most of the afternoon. Jones, however, did have two chances to score for Seattle in the late going, but was denied by Paolo Tornaghi on the first opportunity, and then missed an open Vancouver goal by a country mile on the second.
Despite Koch's late substitutions to try and find a winning goal WFC2 had to settle for the draw. Although this may not have been the result the fans had been hoping for the Thundercaps can at least be pleased with their performance, and perhaps Alan Koch's side are finally starting to find their groove.
WFC2 are next in action against the LA Galaxy 2 on Sunday, May 3rd at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA.
Post Match Interviews:
16' - WFC2 - Robert Earnshaw
24' - S2 - Nick Miele (Andy Craven, Pablo Rossi)
28' - WFC2 - Robert Earnshaw
28' - S2 - Aaron Kovar
83' - S2 - Damion Lowe
70.Paolo Tornaghi; 41.Jackson Farmer (27.Ethen Sampson 45'), 26.Tim Parker, 22.Christian Dean, 42.Jordan Haynes; 30.Ben McKendry (45.Tyler Rosenlund 74'), 20.Deybi Flores (51.Billy Schuler 82'); 50.Sahil Sandhu (49.Mackenzie Pridham 82'), 46.Brett Levis, 38.Kianz Froese; 88.Robert Earnshaw (34.Caleb Clarke 64')
39.Spencer Richey, 55.Chris Serban
22.Charlie Lyon; 91.Oniel Fisher, 44.Nick Miele, 31.Damion Lowe, 25.Aaron Long; 99.Andy Craven, 30.Amadou Sanyang, 45.Giuliano Frano, 11.Aaron Kovar (32.Duncan McCormick 71'), 55.Pablo Rossi (39.Oalex Anderson 65'); 17.Darwin Jones (88.Sam Garza 77')
36.Choong Sil Lim, 49.Saif Kerawala, 51.Kasey French, 52.Lorenzo Ramos