Whitecaps claim 3-0 win over SFU

Simon Fraser University - 0
Vancouver Whitecaps - 3

Mercer Stadium, New Westminster, BC

Vancouver Whitecaps FC men made it three straight wins in preseason after a 3-0 friendly result over Simon Fraser University Clan on Saturday morning.

Early strikes by Eduardo Sebrango and Nick Webb set Teitur Thordarson's side on their way to victory. Second-half substitute Jason Jordan completed the scoring with a late third goal in front of a small but enthusiastic crowd at Mercer Stadium in New Westminster, BC.

After claiming a successful set of recent friendly results in Washington State, Thordarson made five changes to the side that started last Saturday night's 2-1 win over USL First Division champions Seattle Sounders. Srdjan Djekanovic replaced Jay Nolly in goal, while Webb and Sebrango were given starts in the Vancouver attack. Geordie Lyall started at right fullback, while Polish trialist Mariusz Mowlik played the first half in the centre of midfield.

Though it was a cool spring morning at Mercer Stadium, fans only needed to wait six minutes to see the opening goal of the game. A neat pass from strike partner Webb allowed experienced Cuban hit-man Sebrango to break clear on goal and slip the ball past SFU goalkeeper Thomas Lindley.

It would prove to be a busy day for Lindley, as he kept the score-line respectable with some important saves. He denied Webb on the quarter-hour mark after trialist Mowlik played a fine through ball to the Oregon State University standout. From the subsequent corner, Webb was again denied by the Clan shot-stopper after a solid strike on target.

Though disappointed not to score at that stage, Webb found the scoresheet on 19 minutes, as he converted on the rebound after Steve Kindel – who was playing on the left side of midfield – struck the crossbar with a fierce shot after initially intercepting a poor clearance by keeper Lindley before racing in on the SFU goal.

Webb feels the team is shaping up well ahead of next month's season-opener against Montreal Impact at Swangard Stadium. "I think things are good," Webb told whitecapsfc.com after Saturday's friendly. "We're getting our team together and working out the kinks. Things are starting to fall into place, and when it comes time to play Montreal, it’s going to be a fun game to play."

The Whitecaps looked in control by the midway point of the first half, and it was not until 32 minutes that SFU forced Djekanovic into a save with a free-kick strike from Gary Badesha.

In fact, Thordarson's side had chances to extend their lead even further in the final minutes of the half, but Lindley was able to save from Webb on two occasions before the whistle was blown for halftime. "The first half was not what I was hoping for," Thordarson said after the game. "I felt we should have dominated the game much more than we did before halftime, as we did not create as many chances as I was hoping we would do. However, we had full control of the contest by the end of it."

The second half saw the Whitecaps make six changes for the game's restart, with another trialist in defender Desmond Brooks replacing Omar Jarun in the centre of Vancouver's back-line, while fresh from Canadian U-23 Olympic team duty, Diaz Kambere also came into the back four after replacing Lyall.

One of those second-half substitutes was Alfredo Valente, who partnered Jordan in attack. The Whitecaps veteran came close to getting on the scoresheet, but his accuracy with two goal-bound headers from fine crosses by Takashi Hirano and Kindel eluded him.

On 52 minutes, Cann connected powerfully with substitute Martin Nash's corner at the near post, but he was also unable to force Lindley into a save. Past the hour mark, Valente had an effort well stopped by Lindley before Jordan's turn and shot was also blocked by the Clan keeper, as the Whitecaps started to take control of the contest.

Thordarson then gave a run-out to Whitecaps veteran Dave Morris after he replaced Kindel on 66 minutes, while Luca Bellisomo came on to play his former SFU teammates after replacing Cann four minutes later.

As the game entered the dying stages, Jordan capped the Whitecaps win with a third goal, as he was quickest to a loose ball in front of the SFU goal after Morris had an initial shot stopped on the goal-line by Clan defender Todd Lucyk. Jordan was even unlucky not to register a second goal two minutes later, as he rattled Lindley's crossbar from close range.

In the end, the Whitecaps held on for another morale-boosting win, as the 2008 season draws ever nearer. Thordarson has one more preseason friendly to fine-tune his squad before the visit of Canadian rivals Montreal, as the Whitecaps head to Langley, BC, for a match against Trinity Western University men's team on Wednesday evening. Kick-off at the Spartans Sports Complex is 7pm.

Goal Summary:
6' Vancouver - Eduardo Sebrango (Nick Webb)
A neat pass from strike partner Webb allowed experienced Cuban hit-man Sebrango to break clear on goal and slip the ball past SFU goalkeeper Thomas Lindley.

19' Vancouver - Nick Webb (Steve Kindel)
Kindel at the top of the area cracked a shot off the crossbar, with the rebound falling to Webb, who fired it in.

85' Vancouver - Jason Jordan (Dave Morris)
Vicente Arze on the left did well to fire the ball in. It went to Morris in front and his shot was blocked on the line, and Jordan burried the rebound from in close.

Cautions:
Vancouver: none
SFU: Sang Hwang 26', Alan Chivers 53'

Vancouver Whitecaps FC
77.Srdjan Djekanovic; 22.Hirano Takashi, 4.Adrian Cann (6.Luca Bellisomo 70'), 15.Omar Jarun (18.Desmond Brooks 45'), 12.Geordie Lyall (28.Diaz Kambere 45'); 8.Steve Kindel (20.Dave Morris 66'), 2.Jeff Clarke, 25.Mariusz Mowlik (7.Martin Nash 45'), 24.Lyle Martin (23.Vicente Arze 45'); 3.Nick Webb (26.Jason Jordan 45'), 16.Eduardo Sebrango (9.Alfredo Valente 45')

Simon Fraser University Clan

1.Thomas Lindley; 4.Liam Smith, 6.Scott McEachern, 5.Milos Jeftic, 16.Todd Lucyk; 13.Alan Chivers (12.Giovanni Valente 76'), 9.Gary Badesha (13.Alan Chivers 82'), 10.Colin Streckman, 23.Sang Hwang; 11.Lucas Barrett, 18.Reece Miles (7.Michael Beck 70')