Sacramento Republic FC travel north of the border for their second road match of 2016 to visit Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 this Sunday, Apr. 10. Kickoff is 3:00 p.m.
Republic FC look to capture their third straight win after defeating Seattle Sounders 2 and Arizona United SC in the club’s first two matches of the USL season.
Ahead of Sunday’s match, get to know Republic FC’s opponent, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2.
Leading the charge for Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 is Head Coach Alan Koch. Prior to joining Whitecaps FC 2, Koch worked alongside Vancouver Whitecaps’s MLS technical staff leading up to the 2015 MLS Superdraft, overseeing the club’s college scouting duties.
Koch notable experience developing young talent, spending seven years as head coach of the soccer program at his alma mater, Simon Fraser University. The South Africa native became the quickest head coach in program history to reach 100 wins and was selected as Conference Coach of the Year for six straight seasons at SFU after leading the team to NAIA or NCAA Division II Top Ten ranking every season. He finished his time at SFU with a record of 126-21-7.
Before coaching, Koch played professionally in South Africa and Germany, before ending his playing career in the League of Ireland First Division with Limerick FC.
Whitecaps FC 2 will be counting on returning defender Jackson Farmer to once again lead the backline. Farmer made 22 starts and 24 overall appearances in 2015, recording over 2,000 minutes played. The 20-year-old defender is a product of the Whitecaps FC Residency Program and made four appearances in the 2014 USL season (three starts) for then-Whitecaps FC affiliate Charleston Battery before being recalled to Vancouver.
Midfielder Victor Blasco will also be back for Whitecaps FC 2 this season. Blasco, who spent his youth at the FC Barcelona Academy, joined Whitecaps FC 2 in their inaugural season after spending one season at Vancouver Island University. The Barcelona native scored four goals and led the club in assists with six in 24 appearances in 2015. His standout performance of 2015 came on July 4, when he scored a brace in 90 seconds just after the 89th minute to lift Whitecaps FC 2 3-1 over Seattle Sounders FC 2.
On offense, Whitecaps FC 2 are led by forwards Kyle Greig and Daniel Haber, who each have score two goals apiece this season to combine for all four of the club’s total USL goals to-date.
Prior to the start of the 2016 USL season, Whitecaps FC 2 signed the youngest player in the USL , 15-year-old Alphonso Davies. After joining the Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency Program last September, Davies was invited to the first team’s preseason training camp this year, where he played in all three matches and recorded an assist. The teenage midfielder/striker was born in Liberia but was raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and has received call-ups to the Canada U-15 and U-18 teams.
Alongside Davies, Whitecaps FC 2 also signed Matthew Baldisimo. The 18-year-old defender/midfielder is also a product of the Whitecaps FC Residency program. During his four seasons at the Residency, Baldisimo made 100 appearances (88 starts) and scored nine goals. Baldisimo has also been called-up to Canada’s U-15 and U-17 team, captaining the Canadian U-17 team during the 2015 CONCACAF U-17 Championship tournament.
Rounding out the most recent transactions are defenders Sem de Wit and Elliot Green. Dutch defender de Wit signed with Whitecaps FC 2 from Dutch Eredivisie club ADO Den Haag, although he spent 2015 on loan to Eerste Divisie side Fortuna Sittard. He made 14 appearances while at Fortuna Sittard, starting in each one.
Green arrives from Swedish Division 2 side Solleftea GIF FF. A native of Lincoln, England, the 22-year-old defender made his professional debut with Lincoln City FC after playing for the club’s academy. Green also spent time at the Stoke City FC Academy.
Whitecaps FC 2 play their home matches at the University of British Columbia in the Thunderbird Stadium. For their inaugural USL season in 2015, Whitecaps FC 2 averaged 1,682 fans per match.
A strong Western Conference proved a tough test for Whitecaps FC 2 throughout the season. Whitecaps FC 2’s first USL season started off on the wrong foot when they visited Seattle Sounders FC 2 and fell 4-0 to their Cascadia rivals. The club was able to bounce back in their next match, defeating Austin Aztex 3-0 on April 1, but would go winless for six straight matches before getting their second win of the 2015 against Real Monarchs on May 24.
Overall, Whitecaps FC 2 had eight wins, 14 losses and six draws in their first USL season. The Canadian club did not qualify for playoffs, finishing the season in eleventh place with 30 points, 16 points behind fourth-placed Republic FC.
April 2, 2016; Portland, OR, USA; T2 defender Anthony Manning (35) attempts to head the ball at Merlo Field. Photo: David Blair-Portland Timbers
In their season opener, Whitecaps FC 2 traveled to Southern California to take on the 2015 USL Western Conference champs Orange County Blues FC. Seven players made their Whitecaps FC 2 debut in the 1-0 victory, with newly appointed captain Kyle Greig scoring the match’s only goal in the 59th minute.
On Saturday, Whitecaps FC 2 visited Portland Timbers 2 and captured a 3-1 win to continue their great start in the 2016 USL season. Greig scored his second goal of the season when he slotted home a penalty and forward Daniel Haber would go on to score a brace with goals in the 66th minute and 73 minute.
Whitecaps FC 2 are in second place in the Western Conference, winning goal differential tiebreakers over Swope Park Rangers KC and Republic FC.
Sunday’s match is Whitecaps FC 2’s first home match of 2016. Kickoff is 3:00 p.m. at Thunderbird Stadium.
The match will be live streamed at SacRepublicFC.com/matchday. Fans may follow live updates on Twitter @SacRepublicFC or by using the hashtag #VANvsSAC.
Republic FC will be hosting a watch party for the match at de Vere’s Irish Pub in downtown Sacramento. Fans may score happy hour pricing on drinks throughout the match.