VANCOUVER, BC - It may have been Independence Day in America on Saturday, but for fans of the Vancouver Whitecaps FC2 (W5-L8-D4, 9th position) the fireworks were provided by a young Spaniard by the name of Victor Blasco.
It seems Blasco leaves a lasting impression whenever WFC2 play their rivals from Middle Cascadia. When these teams previously met on April 26th, the young Catalonian midfielder was sent off after receiving two yellow cards in the space of less than four minutes. Today, however, Blasco made an impression for all the right reasons by scoring two goals in less two minutes to seal victory for WFC2.
It was the Seattle Sounders FC2 (W9-L6-D2, 3rd position) that almost set off the fireworks early when Oalex Anderson, who just returned from international duty with St. Vincent, forced Dubya FC2 keeper Marco Carducci to make an spectacular diving save in the fourth minute.
WFC2's speed and ability to counter proved to be a constant threat throughout the match, and this was perhaps no better illustrated in the eighteenth minute when the trio of Marco Bustos, Caleb Clarke and Andre Lewis bore down a lone S2 defender and goalkeeper Charlie Lyon. Fortunately for Lyon the final pass to Bustos was a too heavy and the ball went out of play for a goal kick.
WFC2 went into the break with a one-nil advantage after the Caps opened the scoring in the forty-first minute through left back Christian Dean. Dean, who played as a striker as a youth, clearly has not lost the scoring touch as he was able to side foot a shot over Lyon for his first professional goal.
Five minutes after the restart the Thundercaps nearly doubled their advantage through Andre Lewis. The Seattle goalkeeper Lyon was knocked over by Caleb Clarke, but managed to scramble back into position just in time to stop the Jamaican's hard shot.
S2 had their fair share of chances on the afternoon, and were finally able to draw level in the sixty-seventh minute through Sergio Mota. Mota, who received a pass from teammate Oniel Fisher, had the time and space to get the ball onto his left foot, and he was able to blast a beautiful curling shot beyond the outstretched hand of a diving Carducci.
As the match entered the final quarter of an hour both coaches made a number of substitutions. Little would any of the 1,409 fans in attendance at Thunderbird Stadium know at the time, but it was the introduction of Billy Schuler and Victor Blasco for Vancouver that would ultimately have the biggest impact on the final outcome of the match.
Only a minute from fulltime Schuler made a deep run into the Seattle area, and as he reached the byline he calmly tapped the ball back to an unmarked Blasco at the edge of the six-yard box. Blasco would not miss from point blank range, and it seemed at that point it was game, set and match for the Caps.
Boy, we were ever wrong.
Only a minute later Schuler once again pounced on the ball after it was pumped forward by full back Ethen Sampson. Schuler aggressively ran into the Seattle box and selflessly passed the ball to Blasco who, with a surgical finish, put the ball behind Charlie Lyon to underline a 3-1 victory for the Caps.
POST MATCH INTERVIEWS
41' - WFC2 - Christian Dean (Brett Levis)
67' - S2 - Sergio Mota (Oniel Fisher)
89' - WFC2 - Victor Blasco (Billy Schuler)
90' - WFC2 - Victor Blasco (Billy Schuler)
Shots: WFC2 (19) - S2 (10)
Saves: WFC2 (4) - S2 (4)
Corners: WFC2 (2) - S2 (6)
32' - S2 - Sam Garza
63' - S2 - Damion Lowe
Whitecaps FC 2
24.Marco Carducci; 27.Ethen Sampson, 41.Jackson Farmer, 54.Craig Nitti, 22.Christian Dean; 45.Tyler Rosenlund ©, 30.Ben McKendry; 25.Andre Lewis (48.Victor Blasco 77'), 32.Marco Bustos (51.Billy Schuler 73'), 46.Brett Levis (47.Jovan Blagojevic 85'); 34.Caleb Clarke (88.Robert Earnshaw 64')
Substitutes not used
53.Mark Village; 49.Mackenzie Pridham, 50.Sahil Sandhu
Sounders FC 2
22.Charlie Lyon; 45.Giuliano Frano, 44.Nick Miele, 31.Damion Lowe ©, 91.Oniel Fisher; 88.Sam Garza (13.Andres Correa 62'), 25.Aaron Long, 89.Sergio Mata (77.Ashani Fairclough 88'), 11.Aaron Kovar (32.Duncan McCormick 78'); 80.Victor Mansaray (55.Pablo Rossi 62'), 39.Oalex Anderson
Substitutes not used
47.R.J. Noll, 53.Tosh Samkange, 54.Diego Silvas