With a break for the first team this weekend, it’s worth having a look at the other Vancouver Whitecaps team in action: VWFC2.
Competing in MLS Next Pro for a second season, the baby Whitecaps will be looking to bounce back from last week’s eventful 4-3 defeat to LA Galaxy 2. Sunday, the second Whitecaps team will host Minnesota United 2 at Swangard Stadium. Currently, the visitors lead the Whitecaps by one point after four games played in the next pro standings.
While the first team has struggled to finish their chances so far this year, the second team has had no such problems. With this in mind, here are three VWFC2 players that have stood out above the rest through four games, perhaps these players could be next on the list of VWFC2 graduates to the first team.
Coupland has started all four games this season, and has been a real threat down the right wing for the Whitecaps 2 side. He joined right at the start of the season after terminating his contract with Croatian side HNK Rijeka, and the Whitecaps have really been the beneficiaries of his decision to leave the European side. As a left-footed right winger, Coupland is looking to cut inside wherever possible, and his quick feet and excellent ability on the ball have shown why he received plenty of attention while trialing at clubs around Europe in 2021. He has one goal and two assists to his name so far this season, as well as completing a team-high eight key passes. His tricky feet were highlighted on his assist for Giovanni Aguillar’s goal against LA Galaxy 2 to bring the tie level at 3-3.
THIS GAME! 😱
Giovanni Aguilar slams the header home and we're all square.. again!
— MLS NEXT Pro (@MLSNEXTPRO) April 17, 2023
Of his 116 pass attempts, he has only completed 68.1%. However, this is not just through carelessness. Rather, it highlights his attempts to play more dangerous passes to break lines and create scoring opportunities for his teammates. When he is on the ball, he sees the field better than anyone on VWFC2, and his confidence in possession is a joy to watch.
It was a day for🇨🇦’s at WFC II in MNP, as Levonte Johnson and Gloire Amanda each nabbed their 1st goal+assist, 18 y/o 🇨🇦/🇳🇿 CB Finn Linder scored his 1st goal, while Antoine Coupland and Jay Herdman had assists
Here’s Johnson’s goal, the best of the lot👇pic.twitter.com/uisDvjj721
— Alexandre Gangué-Ruzic (@AlexGangueRuzic) April 10, 2023
The promising forward (or sometimes attacking midfielder) is in great form so far, with three goals and an assist from four games, three of which he started.
He is a quick and has really stepped up physically despite his small stature. His ability to get the ball out of his feet quickly to get shots away is excellent, as seen in his goal against LAFC2 this season. Habibullah finds space well and drifts between lines. His 25% shooting accuracy requires some improvement, but he has logged 15 dribbles this season, with a success percentage of 75%. With dynamic and explosive movement, mixed with his drifting in between lines to create space for himself, Whitecaps 2 have a great mix of attacking threats that are blending well and causing opposing defences plenty of issues.
Oh my, Habibullah! 🤯
— MLS NEXT Pro (@MLSNEXTPRO) April 3, 2023
Amanda is in the habit of being in the right place at the right time, making him a dangerous poacher in the box for the Vancouver Whitecaps 2.
— Whitecaps FC 2 (@wfc2) April 17, 2023
Back at the Whitecaps after some time in Austria with SK Austria Klagenfurt, where he mutually terminated his contract to return to British Columbia, Amanda is in a place in his career at 24 where he needs to be showcasing what he can provide to a senior team.
With some excellent talent around him on the front line he is going to get plenty of support, which is what his game requires. While Amanda isn’t a chance creator, he is a poacher who can find space and get shots away quickly when the ball arrives. He has had four starts this season, scoring two and assisting one. What is interesting is from his 11 shots, he has 5 on target which is a much better shots on target percentage (45.5%) than any other player with more than two shots total for VWFC2.
With 10 goals scored in four games for Vancouver Whitecaps 2, the team is joint highest across the league in terms of goals for thus far, which is really encouraging. Their attack has a great range of options which Vanni Sartini will no doubt be keeping track of going forward.
The possibility of future opportunities at the first team level, as with Simon Becher and Ali Ahmed, is a real possibility for some.