With many recent first halves leaving plenty to be desired, T2 came out with a much improved performance. The benefit of not giving up early goals paid off as T2 once again found a goal at the death of the first half. And this time gave them the lead instead of having to spark a comeback.
Most of the first half was a battlefield as both sides really fought and pressured each other into incomplete or errant passes and fouls. Both teams generated a few clear chances but nothing was getting on target or past the keepers. Both teams had 6 shots and 2 on goal. But in the 45th minute, T2 were able to break the deadlock.
Similar to the previous match where Fochive scored at the death, T2's Kharlton Belmar found his 10th goal of the season in the final minute of the first half. T2 were attempting to break through the Whitecaps 2 defense and George Fochive got the ball as T2 recycled for another chance. Fochive passed out left to Jeanderson who sent a long cross to the far post that found Kharlton Belmar. He juggled the ball down with his chest and put a shot square on target into the net from 15 yards out. His 10th goal gave T2 the lead at the break as well as putting Belmar in the T2 history books as the first player to reach double digit goals.
In the second half, T2 increased their performance compared to the first half as they have done in many recent games. And with a lead to build on, T2 were able to get past a sketchy 5 minutes to start the half and take their one goal lead and turn it into three. The catalyst in the second half was Brent Richards. Getting the assist on both of the second half goals he made an immediate impact off the bench.
Richards subbed on in the 67th minute and with nearly his first touch of the match, sent a cross in for Belmar's second goal of the evening. Only about 30 or so seconds from coming on, Richards got the ball with his first touch and dribbled down the left. He sent a short pass across to Belmar who easily put his shot on goal from 7 yards out.
Richards followed that up 3 minutes later with another assist. In the 71st minute, it was deja vu as Richards pulled nearly the exact same move, dribbling up the left and sending a square pass across the face of goal. It was Captain Blair Gavin this time who found himself on the ball and he also easily slotted the ball away from 7 yards out giving his team a 3-0 lead over the visitors.
The Whitecaps 2 got their consolation goal in the 87th minute when team leading scorer, Caleb Clarke found himself in the right place at the right time. Jackson Farmer's shot ricocheted off the crossbar and found itself right at the foot of Clarke who poked the ball into the top half of the net from 7 yards out.
After securing a much needed 3 points to stay relevant in the hunt for a playoff spot, T2 get to play at home again. The third match in their 3 game home stand, they will host the Tulsa Roughnecks on Saturday, August 22nd at Merlo Field with a 2pm kickoff.