VANCOUVER, BC - matches between the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Portland Timbers have produced some memorable and exciting moments over the years, and this afternoon the two clubs opened a new chapter in their rivalry when their USL teams, the Whitecaps FC2 and Timbers FC2 faced each for the very first time at UBC's Thunderbird Stadium.
Going into the match there were plenty of questions for Alan Koch and his WFC2 team, who last won a match on May 30th when they beat Arizona United SC 2-0, but almost from the start of the match it was apparent that this was a very different WFC2 team than we have seen in recent weeks.
It was all Thundercaps through the opening quarter of the match, and although they failed to test Jake Gleeson in the T2 goal, there were plenty of positive signs from the home side.
Marco Bustos, Brett Levis and Ben McKendry all impressed early in the match, as did goalkeeper Spencer Richey, who was called in action early when Christian Dean's poor back pass in the 16th minute required swift and decisive action to prevent Kharlton Belmar from snapping up the loose ball.
We were actually very, very critical with the players this week. We weren't happy and we broke all their games down. We asked them to step up to the plate, and obviously they responded in a very, very positive way.
~Alan Koch, WFC2 Head Coach
In the 38th minute Richey made the first of two world-class saves when he made a diving save to stop Fatawu Safiu. Safiu's shot appeared to be heading for the top left hand corner of the goal, but Richey's save kept the two sides level as they went into half time.
Despite heading into the break in a nil-all draw it was WFC2 who had the majority of the scoring chances in the first half. After the match restarted it took Vancouver only three minutes to finally open the scoring when midfielder Ben McKendry poked a loose ball past Gleeson for his second goal of the year.
McKendry's goal breathed some added life into the match as both sides traded chances, and in the 49th minute Richey again made another big on Saifu, who was all alone inside the 6-yard box.
Instead of succumbing to the pressure as we have seen at times this season, WFC2 perserved and in the 53rd minute Marco Bustos made it 2-0 for the home side. Bustos, who was left unmarked in front of the Portland goal, buried the ball after Caleb Clarke's pass across the face of goal caught the Portland defenders by surprise.
The visitors from Lower Cascadia, however, were not going to go quietly, and in the 71st minute Blair Gavin pulled the Timbers 2 within a goal after a short period of pressure in front of the Vancouver goal.
As the match entered it's final stages it looked as though that there were still goals to be had. In the 80th minute Vancouver fullback Ethen Sampson scored a beautiful golazo from the top of the Portland 18-yard box after McKendry's corner kick rattled around in the area.
There were some tense moments in the final minutes of the match as Belmar was able to pull the Timbers 2 within a goal after a defensive mix up in front of Richey's goal in the 89th minute. Despite the five minutes of added time, the Thundercaps were able to hang on and defeat Portland by a final score of 3-2.
We weren't happy the last few weeks not winning a game, so to bounce back and beat one of our great rivals is very sweet.
WFC2's next match is next Sunday when they travel south to California to play the Orange County Blues FC at 7:30pm.
48' - VAN - Ben McKendry
53' - VAN - Marco Bustos (Caleb Clarke)
71' - POR - Blair Gavin (Fatawu Safiu)
80' - VAN - Ethen Sampson
89' - POR - Kharlton Belmar
Shots: VAN 14 - POR 16
Saves: VAN 5 - POR 2
Corners: VAN 2 - POR 3
8' - POR - Fatawu Safiu
45'+2 - POR - Andy Thoma
77' - VAN - Ethen Sampson
Whitecaps FC 2
39.Spencer Richey; 27.Ethen Sampson, 41.Jackson Farmer, 22.Christian Dean, 55.Chris Serban; 45.Tyler Rosenlund, 56.Ian Christianson; 30.Ben McKendry (47.Jovan Blagojevic 86'), 32.Marco Bustos (50.Sahil Sandhu 72'), 46. Brett Levis (49.Mackenzie Pridham 81'); 34.Caleb Clarke (51.Billy Schuler 76')
Substitutes not used
24.Marco Carducci, 48.Victor Blasco, 54.Craig Nitti
90.Jake Gleeson; 12.Jeanderson, 44.Harrison Delbridge, 47.Rennico Clarke (85.Steven Evans 46'), 28.Andy Thoma; 26.George Fochive, 27.Nick Besler, 52.Blair Gavin, 32.Schillo Tshuma (55.Brent Richards 64'), 30.Kharlton Belmar, 49.Fatawu Safiu
Substitutes not used
29.Justin Luthy, 38.Matt Rose, 40.Tim Payne, 73.Santiago Biglieri, 84.Seth Casiple