U-17 Boys overcome Japanese side

Vancouver Whitecaps U-17 Boys Prospects claimed an eventful 5-3 win over Japanese side Okayama Sakuyo in the Netherlands on Thursday.

The Far East side, who finished second in Japan this year, posed a difficult challenge for Bart Choufour's squad, with the Whitecaps still feeling the effects of Wednesday's impressive 4-1 win over Dutch U-17 side SC Heerenveen.

Playing in a 4-2-3-1 formation, Sakuyo had lots of possession in the midfield, but posed little threat up front in the initial stages.

It was the Whitecaps that struck first after 21 minutes when a diagonal ball from Brandon Ho found Pardeep Bains. He dribbled past one defender and crossed low to Ben Hemphill, who finished to the far corner for 1-0. Eight minutes later, Sahil Sandhu doubled the lead when he directly volleyed Rhys Volkenant's lofted free kick into the net for 2-0.

Sakuyo then struck just before halftime with a blistering strike from one of their midfielders into the top corner of the Whitecaps goal, as Vancouver took a 2-1 lead into the break.

The Japanese youngsters picked up where they left off with a high tempo game, but Ho extended the Whitecaps lead 15 minutes after the restart. The Sakuyo goalkeeper spilled Bains' initial shot before Ho followed through on the rebound for 3-1.

Despite being two goals down, Sakuyo then drew level with two quick-fire goals that came from some fine one-touch combination play.

With the Far East team in the ascendancy, it was the resilient Whitecaps that struck the winner after a quick midfield combination of play found Bains on the left wing streaking in. He beat his Sakuyo marker before slipping the ball through the Japanese keeper's legs for 4-3.

With two minutes remaining, Brayden Gant made sure of the 5-3 victory with a simple finish after Sandhu got behind the Sakuyo defence before feeding Gant in front of the goal.

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