Following a large turnover from the 2016 squad which went to the Western Conference finals, the Whitecaps 2 have struggled to find form this season. Apart from early victories over their two Cascadia rivals, Portland Timbers 2 and Seattle Sounders FC 2, goals and form have been hard to come by in the early part of 2017.
Their last match, a 3-1 victory over the Colorado Springs Switchbacks on May 14th, was probably their best performance of the 2017 season and with two weeks off to prepare for Sunday’s match the Whitecaps may prove a formidable opponent.
Sunday’s match will be one of six matches that the Whitecaps will host away from Thunderbird Stadium, their main home field on the grounds of the University of British Columbia on the west side of Vancouver. McLeod Athletic Park, the site for this match, is located about 60 kilometers away in the southwestern suburbs of metropolitan Vancouver. The Whitecaps are undefeated in their three previous matches on the turf field at McLeod Athletic Park with 2 victories and a draw while outscoring their opponents 8 to 4.
Sem de Wit, a center back holdover from the 2016 season, has emerged as a leader and captain in 2017 while leading the team in minutes with 720. Midfielder Ben McKendry and left back Deklan Wynne make up the remainder of the defensive core and have 640 minutes apiece.
Ben McKendry, Glorie Amanda, Marco Bustos, and Thomas Sanner have each scored 2 of the 11 goals the Whitecaps have scored this season.
Chandler Hoffman and Sebastian Velasquez each had two goals last week increasing their total to six and keeping them within reach of Dane Kelly who leads the league with 9 goals. Four other players have 2 goals apiece and the Monarchs lead the league with a total of 25 goals. James Moberg, Max Lachowecki, Nick Besler continue to play ever minute and have solidified the Monarchs defense which tended to leak goals in the early season.
In their five previous meetings with the Whitecaps 2 the Monarchs have a 1-2-2 record and a goal differential of -1. In the three matches at Thunderbird Stadium, however, their record is 1-1-1 with a goal differential of 0. The matches at Thunderbird Stadium have tended to be tight defensive affairs and it seems the same defensive style may follow the squads to the turf stadium in suburban Langley.
What to watch for
Sem de Wit, Ben McKendry and Cole Seiler played a full 90 minutes against the Montreal Impact for the parent Vancouver Whitecaps in the Canadian Championship on Wednesday evening. Marco Bustos and Deklan Wynn, other leaders on the USL squad, came in as a late substitutes. Should any of these be given a rest on Sunday it could be big changes to the Whitecaps 2 squad that has begun to gel in recent weeks.
Even with the loss of Michael Gallagher due to the two yellows against Colorado Springs and being on the road on a turf field, the Monarchs will likely attempt to push play and seek the early goal that has been the hallmark of their long winning streak. Even with a lead, the Monarchs should continue to push and rely upon their defense to make the plays necessary to hold any lead.
Emilio Orozco and Chase Miner continue to limited by injuries, but Taylor PEay looks to be ready for a starting assignment and the Monarchs attack will remain unchanged. All in all, this one looks to be an exciting an wide open affair if the Monarchs are able to find a first half goal or two and especially if they can take a lead.
Real Monarchs: (4-2-3-1) Sparrow; Curinga, Moberg, Peay, Lachowecki; Besler, Adams; Brody, Velasquez, Haber; Hoffman
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2: (4-2-3-1): Melvin; Chung, de Wit, Seiler, Wynne; Seymour, McKendry; Thoma, Bustos, Serban; Amanda
When: Sunday, May 28, 4:00pm MDT
Where: McLeod Athletic Park — Langley, BC
Weather: 82 degrees, Sunny