SANDY, UT: Whitecaps FC 2 are now undefeated in four matches.
With the road decision, Whitecaps FC 2 are now just a point outside of the playoff picture in the Western Conference of the United Soccer League.
Head coach Alan Koch’s starting lineup, featuring nine Canadians, got the Blue and White off to an aggressive start in the 10th minute, when midfielder Brett Levis (Saskatoon, SK) fed Victor Blasco (Vancouver Island University) on the left wing for a shot, but the Spanish striker’s attempt could not get past Monarchs SLC goalkeeper Lalo Fernandez.
The ‘Caps would be at it again after three minutes, as Blasco found Clarke inside the 18-yard box. After a nifty cut that left a defender in the dust, Clarke slotted in his team-leading fifth goal of the season to put WFC2 on the board, 1-0. The striker has now scored in his last three matches.
The home side would have their chances but Whitecaps FC 2 defenders Chris Serban (Calgary, AB), Jackson Farmer (Edmonton, AB) and Craig Nitti were alert to cut passing lanes to repeatedly thwart the Monarchs SLC attack. Midfielder Sebastian Saucedo would get a shot off in the 41st minute, but the ‘Caps backline would clog the box and the long-distance strike would sail high and wide of the target.
Whitecaps FC 2 nearly caught the Real Monarchs SLC defence sleeping right before the halftime whistle when Farmer flicked on a Tyler Rosenlund (Port Coquitlam, BC) free kick, but the attempt was picked in mid-air by a leaping Fernandez to keep the ‘Caps within a goal going into the break.
It did not take long for Real Monarchs SLC to answer out of halftime. In the opening minute of the second half, midfielder Maikon Orellana headed a perfect cross from Saucedo to set up striker Max Rauhofer for the equalizer.
In the 60th minute, Rauhofer attempted to duplicate his earlier feat, this time in a form of a header, but WFC2 goalkeeper Marco Carducci (Calgary, AB) came up with a heroic save, parrying the ball out of bounds.
Momentum began to turn moments later when midfielder Marco Bustos (Winnipeg, MB) subbed into the match, making his first appearance of the season after overcoming a left foot contusion. Bustos made an immediate impact, nearly finding the bottom corner with a deflected shot in the 65th minute.
Substitute striker Billy Schuler came in for Clarke and also gave the ‘Caps a shot in the arm in the 74th minute when he got two shots on goal on a counter-attack, but Fernandez proved to be a wall in front of the Monarchs SLC net.
Bustos and Schuler would both be heard of again. In the 84th minute, the Canadian youth national team player found the former San Jose Earthquakes striker in the box, who then cleverly back-heeled the ball to a breaking Lewis for Vancouver’s second goal. Like Bustos, Lewis was also making his first appearance of the season after being out for the past year with a torn ACL.
However, Monarchs SLC midfielder Lucas Baldin would have an answer. In the second minute of added time, Saucedo played the set-up role again, finding Baldin for the late equalizer to draw the match even in the dying seconds.
When the official blew their final whistle, Whitecaps FC 2 secured their 13th point of the season, tying them with Arizona United SC and Austin Aztex for seventh place in the conference.
Whitecaps FC 2 continue their southwest road swing on Saturday, June 6 when they visit Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at Sand Creek Stadium.
WFC2 are back at Thunderbird Stadium on Sunday, June 14 for Bark at the Bird. Bring your dog to the match as the ‘Caps take on LA Galaxy II. Tickets are only $15.
The following week is Father’s Day as dads get in for free with a purchase of another ticket as the ‘Caps take on Cascadia rival Portland Timbers 2 on Sunday, June 21.
13′ – VAN – Caleb Clarke (Victor Blasco)
46′ – SLC – Max Rauhofer (Maikon Orellana, Sebastian Saucedo)
84′ – VAN – Andre Lewis (Billy Schuler)
90’+2 – SLC – Lucas Baldin (Sebastian Saucedo)
Shots: SLC 14 – VAN 11
Saves: SLC 6 – VAN 2
Corners: SLC 3 – VAN 3
Fouls: SLC 14 – VAN 16
67′ – VAN – Marco Bustos
89′ – SLC – Eti Tavares
Real Monarchs SLC
1.Lalo Fernandez; 4.Riley McGovern, 5.Lennon Celestino, 3.Phanuel Kavita, 19.Tyler Arnone; 18.Lucas Baldin, 8.Fito Ovalle (6.Alex Sundly 75′); 10.Ricardo Velazco (7.Eti Tavares 62′); 28.Maikon Orellana (13.Garrett Losee 82′), 50.Sebastian Saucedo; 9.Max Rauhofer
Substitutes not used
17.Victor Rodriguez, 15.Jordan Murrell, 22.Darion Copeland, 23.Jose Navarro
Whitecaps FC 2
24.Marco Carducci; 55.Chris Serban, 41.Jackson Farmer, 54.Craig Nitti, 42.Jordan Haynes; 45.Tyler Rosenlund, 30.Ben McKendry; 48.Victor Blasco (32.Marco Bustos 61′), 46.Brett Levis (47.Jovan Blagojevic 75′), 50.Sahil Sandhu (25.Andre Lewis 65′); 34.Caleb Clarke (51.Billy Schuler 70′)
Substitutes not used
39.Spencer Richey, 49.Mackenzie Pridham