Photo courtesy Isaiah J. Downing / Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 took a major step forward in its second season in the USL, as a strong first half of the season paved the way to a first postseason berth, and an eventual run to the Western Conference Final. The addition of Kyle Greig and Daniel Haber to the club’s attack paid off strongly, as the young players around them showed impressive growth.
The side’s downturn, with the chance at a top-four finish readily available, was cause for concern, but the side managed to turn things around in time to put in two excellent postseason performances before its loss against Swope Park. With Alphonso Davies and Brett Levis becoming the first players to sign with the Whitecaps from the squad as well, 2016 was a remarkably successful season.
Record: 12-9-9, 45 points
Place: Sixth in the Western Conference
Goals For: 44
Goals Against: 44
USL Cup Playoffs: Western Conference Final (W 2-1 at Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC; W 3-2 vs. OKC Energy FC; L 3-0 at Swope Park Rangers)
2016 leaders: Kyle Greig (11 goals), Daniel Haber (4 assists), Spencer Richey (49 saves)
Vancouver’s 10-game winning streak to start the season including some outstanding moments, most notably 15-year-old Alphonso Davies becoming the youngest goal-scorer in USL history in a 4-3 win against the LA Galaxy II. The side also claimed clutch victories late in the season, including a 3-2 win against OKC Energy FC on Daniel Haber’s late goal in the Western Conference Semifinals.
The side didn’t lack for attacking prowess, but the side saw a downturn in form when Kyle Greig wasn’t finding the back of the net consistently. WFC2 also had issues defensively as the season wore on, as it finished with 44 goals against, the most of any side to reach the Western Conference Playoffs, and tied for fourth-most in the conference overall.
Ben McKendry helped lift WFC2 to a big road victory early in the season against the Swope Park Rangers with this outstanding finish from distance.
Kyle Greig got the goal, but it was the play of USL 20 Under 20 selection Kadin Chung and his clever spin move between two defenders that made it happen against Tulsa Roughnecks FC
WFC2 goalkeeper Spencer Richey had a strong season overall, and made a tremendous double-stop against Seattle Sounders FC 2 in this Cascadia rivalry clash.
Richey had to react quickly to a defensive breakdown against the LA Galaxy II to make this fine stop, which helped WFC2 secure a point on the road against Los Dos.
“To get to the postseason is an amazing achievement for the guys. If we really reflect – as difficult as it may feel to do it right now – we’ve got an awful lot to be proud of, not just during the regular season, but also through these three playoff games too.” – Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 Head Coach Alan Koch