After a 3-2 loss in Orange County last weekend, Whitecaps FC2 returned to Thunderbird Stadium July 4 and recorded their first ever win against Cascadia rivals, Seattle Sounders 2. Victor Blasco scored two late goals in the contest to give Vancouver a 3-1 victory.
“I thought we played very well,” said head coach Alan Koch. “Good performance, great result. Obviously, there are lots of little things we can tidy up. We did give them a couple chances that we’re not happy with but with a young group you can obviously expect that. Very pleased with the overall performance, not just with the guys that started but with the guys that came off the bench and made major impacts on the game today.”
Though WFC2 controlled the play in the opening minutes, S2 had a glorious chance to break the deadlock early when Oalex Anderson stole the ball from Whitecaps defender Craig Nitti, giving him a one-on-one opportunity with goalkeeper Marco Carducci. Carducci made a big stop on Anderson and kept Seattle off the scoreboard.
The two teams traded chances throughout the first half but it was MLS loan Christian Dean who finally put Vancouver on the board after making a terrific run down the left before blasting the ball past Sounder’s keeper Charlie Lyon, four minutes before halftime. It was Dean’s first professional goal.
“Awesome,” said Dean when asked about the goal. “It came from a team effort though. Brett [Levis] was playing fantastic and he played me a perfect ball in so I give most of the credit to him.”
Vancouver went right back at the Sounders after halftime. In the 49th minute, Andre Lewis played a perfect cross to Caleb Clarke, who managed to get a shot on target before tumbling into the net. Unfortunately, for Clarke, the Sounders defence were able to clear the ball off the goal line.
The Whitecaps’ fortunes took a turn for the worse when Sounders midfielder Sergio Mota found the back of the net with a wonder strike from the edge of the 18 to tie the game.
With time running down, it seemed as though WFC2 would settle for a draw but substitute Victor Blasco had other plans. In the 89th minute, the Spanish midfielder took a feed from fellow substitute Billy Schuler and blasted the ball past Lyon for the game winner. The duo sealed the deal a minute later as Schuler made another pass to Blasco who curled a beauty into the back of the net.
“There was this weight of pressure because I always used to score goals,” said Blasco. “It was taking a little long but now I’m happy.”
Thanks to Blasco’s two late tallies, Whitecaps FC2 recorded their fifth win of the season and moved up to ninth place in the USL Western Conference.
“Today’s victory was really for the fans,” said Koch. “You could hear them singing in the end and send the Seattle fans off in a nice little way.”
Vancouver will look to win their third straight Cascadia derby match when they take on Portland Timbers 2 at UBC on Friday.