Facing the adversity of back to back losses for the first time this season, WFC2 got back to their winning ways on Sunday, barely.
With the help of a couple goal posts, WFC2 held on to beat the visiting Swope Park Rangers 3-2 at Thunderbird Stadium. Marco Bustos scored twice in the first half before Alphonso Davies added what turned out to be an important third goal as Swope Park came within inches of finding an equalizer.
“When we got the third we thought we were comfortable” said assistant coach Steve Medley, who was forced to take over the reigns with Alan Koch serving his one game ban for his red card in Seattle. “We should have pushed on a bit and looked for the next one. That’s what we talked about doing, getting that third and fourth and fifth, being ruthless and putting games away. If you don’t do that, that’s what can happen.”
A stunning turn of events after Davies had extended the lead to three with a thunderous left foot in the 80th minute saw the visitors score twice in two minutes as Mark Anthony Gonzalez and Kris Tyrpak suddenly gave the Rangers some life. Kevin Oliveira’s free kick struck the inside of the post and somehow stayed out on what turned out to be the last kick of the game.
Bustos opened the scoring five minutes in as he found some space at the near post and rifled one short side for his first of the year.
The Winnipeg native was back at it again in the 23rd minute.
A textbook knockdown from Kyle Grieg found Bustos alone in front of goal. After a terrific save from Zac Lubin on the Rangers net, Bustos put away his own rebound to double the lead.
“We thought we played quite well in the first half and I thought we were full value for our lead at halftime,” said Meadley.
Needing to show some resolve following their first two setbacks of the year, the ‘Caps showed their toughness that had been a key element of their growth this year.
Despite lacking the physical maturity of the Swope Park team, WFC2 didn’t back down in what turned out to be a physical match.
Bustos caught an elbow early in the second half but remained unfazed, despite the roar of protests from Meadley and the home side’s bench.
Marco Carducci took a knock to the head from the boot of Dane Kelly as the forward lunged for a loose ball. The challenge invoked an immediate response from his teammates who rushed to his defense.
“We wanted a reaction from [the players], to redeem themselves somewhat as individuals and as a team, said Meadley of his team’s recent struggles. “After that first 45 I thought we’d done that, but you can’t rest on that and you saw what could happen.”
Image: Whitecaps FC/Bob Frid