I want to start this off on a positive note. I am seeing the organization begin to make the connections they wanted when they created Timbers 2 and it is very exciting. Three players from the 2014/15 U-16 Academy team were in the 18 tonight. Blake Bodily from Eagle, Idaho got another start and put in a very solid 60 min shift. This kid does not look out of place at all at the USL PRO level. He is going to be a player to keep an eye on when he goes to the University of Washington. Joining him on the bench were two of his academy teammates. Marco Farfan of Portland, Oregon and Terrell Lowe from Pocatello, Idaho. Neither saw minutes and I don't actually know what position they play. But this follows Edson Martinez who also saw the bench in the last match. It is good to see these academy players getting pro experience through T2. And with Blake Bodily and Terrell Lowe we can already see some gains from adding Idaho as homegrown player territory. Follow up on the flip side and you have first team players who have gotten significant minutes with T2 this season and can now provide good depth when the first team needs them, as Taylor Peay will be the starting right back for the Timbers while Powell is with Jamaica for the Gold Cup. And Peay has really blossomed as a player this season while playing for T2. It's still early in our academy system but the future looks bright.
Now, with the match itself. Most of the first half was a bit of a snoozer. T2 were probably the better side, seeing more passes strung together and more attacking runs but neither team looked too dangerous. Richards got an early yellow card in the 17th minute when midfielder Blasco got around him and then held up his run while he waited for the contact from Richards and went to ground. Unfortunately Blasco misjudged where the box was and the foul was called outside the box much to Blasco's dismay. Blasco embarrassing Richards would continue for the entire match until Blasco is subbed off.
Things picked up in the 35th minute when Fatawu scored a wicked good shot from distance to give T2 the lead. It all started with Blake Bodily and some good dribbling work up the left side earning T2 a throw in. The thrown in got to Rose who saw Fatawu open about 30 yards from goal. Rose hit a great pass, Fatawu collected, turned, pushed away from his defender and unleashed a blast into the top right corner of the net.
After the goal things began to open up a bit more as the Whitecaps 2 began to put more effort into finding an equalizer. They began to counter more often and more effectively but T2 defended well. The other yellow card of the half was given out to Whitecaps 2 captain Roselund for a rough tackle on Belmar in the 40th minute.
The second half was entirely different from the first. I don't know what the Whitecaps 2 did during the break but they came out a completely different team. Right from kickoff Whitecaps 2 pinned T2 in their own end for nearly 10 minutes. And they got their equalizer right away too. In just the 47th minute captain Tyler Rosenlund got his team back into the match with a strike from outside the box. Andre Lewis had the assist after slotting a pass from the end line all the way out to his captain.
The equalizing goal just emboldened the Whitecaps 2 as they continued to absolutely dominate T2. T2 were unable to deal with the pressure and couldn't get out of their own half with the ball until they earned a corner kick in the 55th minute. Nothing came of it, but from that point T2 slowly started to deal with the pressure. Unfortunately, the Whitecaps 2 found the go ahead goal and gained the lead in the 63rd minute from midfielder Victor Blasco. An absolutely awful giveaway from Tim Payne near the top of his own box went right to Billy Schuler and caught the T2 defense completely off guard. Schuler passed to Blasco in the box who was initially wide open, but Richards recovered. Blasco was outclassing Richards all game and did so again by easily beating him and putting his shot out of reach of Luthy. T2 continued to work their way into the game but awful second half performances from Richards, Payne, and having Schillo Tshuma completely disappear on the wing sealed T2's fate. Try as they might, Whitecaps 2 were in comfortable and in control. If not for a crossbar and a few inches it could have been a 4 or 5 to 1 blowout result in favor of the hosts.
Up next for T2 are the Whitecaps 2 again! This time T2 host and the match will be next Sunday the 19th at 7pm at Merlo Field.