AUSTIN, TEXAS: After a tough start in their season opener, Whitecaps FC 2 (WFC2) bounced back in fine style with their first win in team history on Wednesday, a 3-0 road victory over Austin Aztex.
Canadian striker Caleb Clarke, centre back Craig Nitti, and debutant Billy Schuler provided the scoring for the ‘Caps while goalkeeper Spencer Richey earned the clean sheet in his first professional start.
It was a night of firsts for the club’s USL side. In addition to Richey and Nitti, head coach Alan Koch gave a professional debut to left back Jordan Haynes, while winger Sahil Sandhu earned his first professional start.
The first ever goal for WFC2 came in the 12th minute when a long pass up field from captain Tyler Rosenlund sprung Clarke onto a breakaway. The Richmond, BC, native kept his composure and calmly slotted a righted footed shot into the back of the net to give the ‘Caps a 1-0 lead.
Richey was called into the action for the first time in the 29th minute, first making a save on Trevin Caesar before also stuffing the Aztex on the rebound. Those two players would come to a head again in the 69th minute, and again it was Richey who came out on top with a low save.
The Aztex continued the pressure, but it was WFC2 who would get the next goal in the 77th minute, and it was a surprising figure who would do the honours. Nitti, a 6-foot-5 rookie centre back, stepped up to take a 25-yard free kick and blasted a rocket off the fingertips of Austin goalkeeper Devin Perales and into the net for a 2-0 lead.
The visiting ‘Caps put a nail in the coffin in the 90th minute. After Ethen Sampson did well on the defensive end, WFC2 broke up field quickly with a series of passes ending on the foot of Schuler, who then beat Perales for a 3-0 final score.
With a first win under their belt, WFC2 now have a week break before returning to action on Sunday, April 12, back on the road against Orange County Blues FC at Anteater Stadium in Irvine, California. Kickoff for that match is set for 4 p.m. PT.
WFC2 host their first home match on Sunday, April 19 when they take on Canadian rival club Toronto FC II at UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium.
Shots: Austin 16 – Vancouver 6
Saves: Austin 1 – Vancouver 4
Fouls: Austin 14 – Vancouver 11
Offsides: Austin 1 – Vancouver 4
Corners: Austin 6 – Vancouver 1
12′ – VAN – Caleb Clarke (Tyler Rosenlund)
76′ – VAN – Craig Nitti
90′ – VAN – Billy Schuler (Jovan Blagojevic)
9′ – ATX – Tony Rocha
10′ – VAN – Tyler Rosenlund
57′ – ATX – Kris Tyrpak
53′ – ATX – Lance Rozeboom
76′ – ATX – Guaraci
1.Devin Perales; 17.Brendan King (19.Max Gunderson 66′), 6.Kyle Hoffer, 24.Kalen Ryden, 3.Mikey Ambrose; 25.Lance Rozeboom (8.Andres Cuero 66′), 16.Tony Rocha, 23.Guaraci; 18.Kris Tyrpak (10.Mozzi Gyorio 79′), 20.Sainey Touray, 21.Trevin Caesar
Whitecaps FC 2
39.Spencer Richey; 27.Ethen Sampson, 41.Jackson Farmer, 54.Craig Nitti, 42.Jordan Haynes; 5.Tyler Rosenlund, 30.Ben McKendry (46.Brett Levis 89′), 37.Mitch Piraux; 50.Sahil Sandhu (55.Chris Serban 79′), 34.Caleb Clarke (51.Billy Schuler 80′), 49.Mackenzie Pridham (47.Jovan Blagojevic 70)
24.Marco Carducci; 48.Victor Blasco