Tacoma Defiance jumped atop of the Western Conference after a gritty 1-0 win over Whitecaps FC 2 at Swangard Stadium Friday night.   

A late second-half goal from the Defiance sealed the crucial three points, in turn putting the pressure on St Louis CITY2 to get a result against North texas SC.

Whitecaps FC 2, which already is eliminated from playoff contention, almost played spoiler after creating several chances but ultimately fell short in its fifth consecutive loss.

After a nervy scoreless first half, Tacoma Defiance midfielder Frito Ovalle broke open the scoring in the 81st with a long-range effort that took a slight deflection.

The goal proved to be the winner after Whitecaps FC 2 couldn’t find the equalizer in the remaining time despite one chance being cleared off the line.

The match ended in a 1-0 win for the Defiance, but it wasn’t without a valiant effort from hosts Whitecaps FC 2. 

Possession of the ball and total number of shots finished fairly even for both sides. 

What proved to be the difference besides the lone goal was the Defiance’s sturdy defense that kept WFC2 at bay and several important saves from goalkeeper Wallis Lapsley.

The Story: The race for the Western Conference top seed heats up  

Tacoma Defiance moved one point above St Louis CITY2 following its 1-0 road win over Whitecaps FC 2. 

If CITY2 were to lose this week against North Texas SC then the Defiance would take control of the top spot in the West with one game remaining. 

No pressure. 

The team will finish its inaugural MLS NEXT Pro campaign at home against Timbers2, looking to secure that top spot and in turn home field for the Western Conference playoffs.