We had all seen this script before. The young ‘Caps absorb lots pressure from a much stronger, more experienced team only to break down in the second half. However this WFC2 team has something different about it compared to last season. In front of a near capacity Thunderbird Stadium, the ‘Caps held the visiting Sacramento Republic to a 0-0 draw in their home opener. The rebuilt back line, featuring 17 year old Kadin Chung and newcomers Sem de Wit and Cole Seiler, held strong for the full 90 minutes, never suffering that crucial mental lapse that plagued the 2015 season. The draw means that Vancouver has now collected seven out of a possible nine points so far this season, while conceding only once so far through their three matches.
“To withstand what they threw at us and make sure that we got the clean sheet, we’re very very proud of the guys,” said Head Coach Alan Koch. “The games at home we’d obviously like to play to get the three points but to get one point against a team as good as Sacramento, we’re happy.
In a game with precious few scoring chances, each team had a goal called back from an offside in the first half before Daniel Haber was unable to poke the ball by the onrushing Sacramento keeper halfway through the second half in what would prove to be the game’s best chance. Sean Melvin, making his second professional start for Vancouver, was forced to make his best save in the 83rd as he dove to his left to make comfortable save.
The grind it out, physical style of games were often the ones that the inexperienced WFC2 struggled in last year, as the physically stronger and mentally more mature teams were able to have their way against Vancouver. And this game had all the makings of it. Facing a strong Sacramento team, who are favoured by many to win the Western Conference this year, and fielding a pair of teenagers in Chung and 15 year old Alphonso Davis, Vancouver never looked like conceding, as Melvin had to only make three routine saves en-route to his second consecutive clean sheet.
“It was kind of a hectic game to be honest,” said captain Kyle Greig. “Our first home opener, the first time really playing at this field so I thought that one point is okay. Obviously we want three points every game but to get a point off a team like Sacramento, we’ll take it, we’ll learn from it and move on.
WFC2 are back in action next Sunday April 17, when they welcome the Oklahoma City Energy to Thunderbird Stadium at 7PM.
Image: Whitecaps FC / Bob Frid