TUKWILA, WASHINGTO: Onwards and upwards.
Whitecaps FC 2 (WFC2 – 0W-1L-0D) fell 4-0 to Seattle Sounders FC 2 (S2 – 2W-0L-0D) on Sunday afternoon in their inaugural United Soccer League match at the Starfire Sports Complex.
The youthful ‘Caps showed some promise going forward but fell victim to a dominant offensive display from S2 forwards Andy Craven and Darwin Jones, who combined for four goals and two assists on the night. Jones, a Sounders FC Homegrown player, led the way with a hat-trick.
WFC2’s first-ever starting lineup was composed of seven Canadians, five of whom graduated from the club’s Residency program. It also included five players currently on Whitecaps FC’s MLS roster.
Aside from goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi and captain Tyler Rosenlund, a USL veteran, every player in Alan Koch’s starting lineup was 22 years old or younger. And by the end of the match, eight WFC2 players had made their professional debuts.
Unlike WFC2, Seattle opened their 2015 season last weekend with a 4-2 win over defending USL champions Sacramento Republic FC.
S2 had an early opportunity through a Jones header off a long-throw in, but it was a relatively even start with plenty of attacking play at both ends.
Eventually, Seattle opened the scoring in the 16th minute. Jones made no mistake this time, tapping in a low Craven cross after S2 caught the ‘Caps on the counter.
WFC2 responded well though and continued to play on the front foot. Saskatchewan native Brett Levis, who was celebrating his 22nd birthday, looked particularly dangerous on the left wing. In the 23rd minute, he sent in a cross that just eluded striker Caleb Clarke at the near post.
To their credit, S2 defended well and were clinical in the final third.
They doubled their lead in the 25th minute, when Craven headed it in from close range after Damion Lowe blasted a long-distance strike off the post, and made it 3-0 before the break through Jones’ second goal of the game.
Koch made a pair of substitutions at the half, bringing on recent signing Ian Christianson and Residency graduate Sahil Sandhu. The latter injected some life into the ‘Caps attack on the right wing, but Seattle kept coming.
Jones completed his hat-trick in the 50th minute, making it 4-0 with a volley from inside the area after a failed WFC2 clearance.
Levis, who continued to cause problems in the second half, nearly got the ‘Caps on the board in the 57th minute, but his right-footed strike from the edge of the area was stopped by S2 goalkeeper Charlie Lyon.
Substitute Jovan Blagojevic, an SFU graduate, also came close with a late strike that trickled just wide. A goal was simply not in the cards for WFC2 on this night.
The young ‘Caps are right back at it on Wednesday against Austin Aztex – the former club of Whitecaps FC forward Kekuta Manneh. Watch the match live at 6 p.m. PT on whitecapsfc2.com.
Meanwhile, WFC2’s home opener against Toronto FC II on April 19 at UBC Thunderbird Stadium is exactly three weeks away.
29′ – VAN – McKendry
53′ – VAN – Parker
76′ – SEA – Correa
22.Charlie Lyon; 25.Aaron Long, 31.Damion Lowe, 44.Nick Miele, 13.Andres Correa; 99.Andy Craven (51.Kasey French 90′), 30.Amadou Sanyang, 45.Giuliano Frano (36.Choong Sil Lim 80′), 88.Sam Garza; 55.Pablo Rossi (32.Duncan McCormick ’61), 17.Darwin Jones (66.Qudus Lawal 70′)