Sporting Kansas City II (4-4-3, 16 points) erased a one-goal deficit in the second half to take a point at Whitecaps FC 2 (6-3-3, 23 points) Friday night at Swangard Stadium. Ethan Bryant converted a penalty in the 72nd minute for his second goal of the season after Levonte Johnson gave the hosts the lead in the 58th. WFC2 claimed the extra point in the shootout by a 5-4 margin.
Head coach Benny Feilhaber rotated his squad, making seven changes to the previous match's starting XI. Ethan Bandre remained in goal as first-teamer Chris Rindov, Nassim Mekideche and Nati Clarke re-entered the back four with Lucas Rosa at right back. Bryant was joined in the midfield by captain Josh Coan and Enzo Mauriz with Pau Vidal, Sebastian Cruz and Alenis Vargas comprising the front three.
Both sides settled into the match in the first 10 minutes, with WFC2 taking the lone crack at goal in that first portion of the match. In the ninth minute, SKC II earned the first corner kick of the match. The ball connected with Mekideche and was sent inches past the far post.
In the 12th minute, Vidal picked up a knock at the top of the box, received treatment on the sideline and was subbed out for Keny Martinez two minutes later. In the 20th, Bandre made his first of four saves on the evening, shuffling his feet to snag a floating shot in the middle of his goal.
On the other end of the pitch, not a minute later, Coan had his leg swept out from under him at the top of the box as he was winding up for a shot, earning a free kick. Bryant chipped the ball to the back post for Rindov and Mekideche but the redirect wound up in the outside netting.
SKC II's best-looking attack of the first half saw Rosa break into the 18 and drop a cross inches past his runner. The ball was recycled back to Rosa whose second service also barely missed his man inside the six and rolled out of bounds on the far side. In the final minute of the first half, a corner for the visitors was headed on by Mekideche just out of reach of Cruz on the back post. Halftime came with the match even.
Vancouver came out of the break making one swap, bringing on Jean-Claude Ngando for Kamron Habibullah. Martinez almost got involved in the attack when a skipping cross nearly connected with him in the six, but skipped slightly out of reach. Cruz cracked one from long range after cutting inside and sent it high and wide of the target. In the 57th, SKC II had a corner kick headed upfield by WFC2. They were able to get into the SKC II box quickly and eventually produced a goal on the counter off the foot of their leading scorer Levonte Johnson.
Looking to equalize, Vargas gained access to the Vancouver box before being dragged down from behind. No call was made and the home side took a goal kick quickly despite numerous protests from the SKC II bench. Bandre kept the match within reach, diving to his left to make a superb save on a headed attempt from close range. On the cusp of the 70th, a trio of subs entered for SKC II. Vitor Dias took off Mauriz, Andrew Draper replaced Cruz and Ozzie Cisneros came on for Coan.
Two minutes later a similar sequence in which Vargas was yanked down inside the box generated a call from the referee, giving SKC II the opportunity to level the match from the spot. Bryant stepped up and beat Whitecaps FC 2 keeper Thomas Hasal tucking the shot away into the right side of the goal.
Vargas continued to spark the SKC II offense, now looking for the match-winner. He made another brilliant run into the area before seeing his cross blocked out for a corner. On the corner Mekideche, again, rose above the pack and won the ball. His header pinged off Cisneros and nearly found the goal but drifted inches wide.
Two chances from WFC2 produced nothing on the scorer's sheet. The first was a mishit sent well off frame and the second was comfortably saved by Bandre. Danny Flores came on for the penalty converting Bryant in the 89th and the match went to kicks from the spot to determine the winner and the owner of the extra point.
Rosa, Draper and Dias cooly snak their kicks from the spot while the first two Whitecaps players made theirs before the third pinged the ball off the right hand post and out. Flores, with his first kick of the contest, made his kick. The fifth taker for WFC2 brushed off the pressure put on by Flores and made his before Cisneros' offering was saved. Now in sudden death, Vancouver made there's and Vargas' kick was saved giving WFC2 the extra point.
2023 MLS NEXT Pro | Match 11
Swangard Stadium | Burnaby, B.C.
Weather: 70 degrees
Sporting KC II
Whitecaps FC 2
Sporting Kansas City II: Ethan Bandre; Lucas Rosa, Nassim Mekideche, Chris Rindov, Nati Clarke; Enzo Mauriz (Vitor Dias 69'), Ethan Bryant (Danny Flores 89'), Josh Coan (Ozzie Cisneros 69'); Sebastian Cruz (Andrew Draper 69'), Pau Vidal (Keny Martinez 14'), Alenis Vargas
Subs Not Used: Carlito Saylon, Mo Abualnadi, Mikey Lenis, Jahon Rad
Whitecaps FC 2: Thomas Hasal; Karifa Yao, Elage, Joshue Ndakala, Mihail Gherasimencov; Vasco Fry, Giovanni Aguillar, Antoine Coupland (Joe Hanson 84'), Levonte Johnson, Kamron Habibullah (Jean-Claude Ngando 45'); Gloire Amanda
Subs Not Used: Cohen Park, Lucas Dasovic, Christian Greco-Taylor, Darko Ilic, Malcolm Johnston, Simone Masi
VAN – Levonte Johnson 5 (unassisted) 58'SKC – Ethan Bryant (penalty kick) 72'
SKC – Nassim Mekideche (yellow card; reckless offense) 51'
VAN – Giovanni Aguilar (converted)
SKC – Lucas Rosa (converted)
VAN – Jean-Claude Ngando (converted)
SKC – Andrew Draper (converted)
VAN – Gloire Amanda (missed)
SKC – Vitor Dias (converted)
VAN – Joe Hanson (converted)
SKC – Danny Flores (converted)
VAN – Levonte Johnson (converted)
SKC – Ozzie Cisneros (saved)
VAN – Vasco Fry (converted)
SKC – Vitor Dias (saved)
Shots on Goal
Referee: Amer Ramic
Assistant Referee: Chris Harrop
Assistant Referee: Theo Diederichsen
Fourth Official: Alain Ruch