Photo courtesy Rich Lam / Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2
VANCOUVER, B.C. – Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 and Reno 1868 FC both scored in the final 20 minutes as they settled for a 1-1 draw at Thunderbird Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Vancouver threatened inside the opening minute as Marco Bustos sent a low cross through the penalty area that almost found a finish, but Reno had the first good look at goal when Antoine Hoppenot had a shot from the left side of the penalty saved well by Sean Melvin in the 22nd minute. WFC2 missed out on a good move when Deklan Wynne’s cutback from the left was scuffed by David Norman Jr. and headed over, while 1868 FC almost found the net as a curling free kick from the left by Chris Wehan couldn’t find a finishing touch. Hoppenot again went close early in the second half, only to see his shot slide wide of the left post as Wehan closed to try and tap home. 1868 FC defender Brenton Griffiths had a big chance from a corner as he powered his header just over the bar on the hour-mark, but the breakthrough arrived for the visitors with 17 minutes to go as Dane Kelly’s low cross provided a simple finish for Brian Brown. Kelly almost played provider moments later, only for Hoppenot’s finish to lack pace, but then WFC2 found an equalizer as a good move down the left was flicked on by Marco Bustos, and Myer Bevan rifled home his finish into the right corner. Both teams threatened down the stretch, including a shot for Bevan than was blocked for WFC2 and a header sent high by Kelly for Reno, but the sides were left to settle for a point.
73’ – RNO – Brian Brown (Dane Kelly)
79’ – VAN – Myer Bevan (Marco Bustos)
Three Things That Matter:
1. For all the attacking talent on the field, the opening half was a pretty chippy affair as fouls disrupted the rhythm of the game and saw relatively few clear scoring chances. Arguably the best for WFC2 came in the opening minute as the hosts caught Reno cold from the opening kickoff, with Ben McKendry just unable to get enough on his effort to put home a good low cross by Marco Bustos. Reno, meanwhile, had only one good chance as well as Antoine Hoppenot got a clear look, but was denied well by Sean Melvin. With the potential on the field, the opening 45 minutes wasn’t one to remember.
2. With the chance to continue its push for a top-four place, Reno began to gain the upper hand in the second half. Brenton Griffiths could have given the visitors the lead on the hour-mark as he rose beautifully to meet a corner kick, only for his header to lack control and go over the bar. With 17 minutes to go, however, 1868 FC found a moment of class from Dane Kelly, who instead of notching another goal in his impressive season used his speed to set up the opener. Kelly glided past his man and sent a perfect low cross for fellow Jamaican Brian Brown to tap home.
3. WFC2 had possession, but chances were few and far between for the hosts as they struggled to break down the Reno defense. That chances with just over 10 minutes to go when Myer Bevan notched his first goal for the club with an emphatic finish from the top of the penalty area. The New Zealand U20 international’s pedigree was known before his arrival in Vancouver thanks to his performances at the FIFA U20 World Cup, and on Saturday he did a lot of work as the lone attacker, trying to link play. Given his only good chance of the game, Bevan took it well, likely the first of many he might find before the season’s out.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Marco Bustos, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 – Bustos was again the fulcrum for the WFC2 attack, and his deft touch set up the equalizer in addition to good distribution throughout the contest.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 at Orange County SC – July 29, 8 p.m. ET, Orange County Great Park
Reno 1868 FC vs. Portland Timbers 2 – July 22, 10:30 p.m. ET, Greater Nevada Field