Whitecaps FC2 striker Thomas Sanner celebrates after scoring one of his three goals in his team’s come-from-behind victory over Arizona United SC on Sunday afternoon at McLeod Athletic Park. Just over 2

Huge crowd takes in ’Caps Langley victory

Thrilling finish as 2,100 fans watch Whitecaps FC2 rally to defeat Arizona United SC at McLeod Athletic Park

It was the perfect debut for the Vancouver Whitecaps FC2 squad in their inaugural game at Langley’s McLeod Athletic Park.

Trailing 1-0, the team was able to take advantage of their opponent, Arizona United SC, being forced to play a man down for the final 30 minutes, by scoring three times in the game’s final 10 minutes.

Rookie striker Thomas Sanner scored all three goals in the 3-1 victory as the two United Soccer League rivals played in Langley on Sunday afternoon.

Sanner scored in the 84th, 87th and then in the fourth minute of added time as WFC2 improved to 11-6-7 and a share of top spot in the league.

“It was a great finish for our boys with three goals in the final 10 minutes of play,” said Rachel Lewis, the Whitecaps FC chief operating officer, who was in attendance for the match.

“(And) it was a fantastic crowd — thankfully the heat let up a little bit — it was a beautiful day out there.”

This was the first of three games WFC2 is scheduled to play at MAP.

And just over 2,100 fans — MAP’s capacity is 2,200 — were in attendance to watch the top affiliate team of Major League Soccer’s  Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

“It was a terrific crowd, lots of energy, beautiful venue and setting and all-around a really nice day,” Lewis said.

“We always thought the support from the community was exceptional. And (Sunday) was just the same.”

She was referring to past events the Whitecaps women’s team had held in Langley.

WFC2 typically plays their home games out of UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium, but this year, scheduled two contests for Langley: Sunday’s game as well as another on Labour Day (Sept. 5, 3 p.m.) against the Seattle Sounders FC.

They added a third game for Sept. 21, against OKC Energy FC.

That game had to be rescheduled from earlier in the season when the team’s opponent could not make it to Vancouver because of weather-related delays, Lewis explained.

“When we looked at our options for rescheduling, we saw the support from Langley had looked exceptional and we thought it was a good opportunity to try a weeknight game in the community and see if we could garner the same kind of support,” she said.

“We are really pleased with the initial support of all the games and hopefully it becomes an annual tradition to play some games out here.”

Lewis said they would be considering hosting some games in Langley annually.

“This was the first step and we were very pleased with the crowd and how everything went.”

For tickets to either of the remaining WFC2 games in Langley, visit www.whitecapsfc.com/wfc2.

For highlights of the match, visit www.langleytimes.com.