No match for skilled group of Americans - The Province

Jim Jamieson

Pali 3 Whitecaps Women 0. Caps handicapped by several absent players

The result was as predictable as a chilly evening at Swangard Stadium.

The Pali Blues of Pacific Palisades, Calif. -- a team littered with U.S. nationals from all levels -- took on a Vancouver Whitecaps women's side that was so depleted it was missing 20 players who would normally have been considered for selection.

The Blues -- an all-star collection that's based in the Los Angeles area -- took a 3-0 win to run their record to 7-0-0, with 26 goals for and just three against.

The good news for the Whitecaps is they managed to hold the Blues off the scoresheet in the first half, but couldn't dodge any more bullets in the final 45 minutes.

It came down to the Blues simply having too many high-skill individuals -- the most prominent being forward India Trotter, a recent cut from the U.S. Olympic team who scored the opening goal two minutes into the second half and could have had two or three more. It was the second straight shutout loss to the Blues in seven days for Vancouver, who dropped a 4-0 decision in L.A.

It was also the first time in Whitecaps women's history (57 games) that they've been shut out at Swangard.

"We felt a lot more refreshed than last time," said Caps defender Eden Hingwing of the previous week's clash when the club was playing its third game in five days. "Coming into the second half at 0-0 we felt energized, but three bad mistakes and it's 3-0. But I don't think it's reflective of how we played."

The Caps will have reinforcements for their final three games of the season, as the core of their club this year is currently in Puebla, Mexico, playing at a CONCACAF Under-20 qualifying tournament.

It could easily have been 2-0 for the Blues before the game was six minutes old, thanks to the slick one-on-one skills of Trotter, who was foiled twice by Vancouver goalkeeper Sian Bagshawe.

But Trotter finally solved Bagshawe at the 47th minute when she took a pass in the penalty area, froze a Caps defender, then turned and put a rocket into the top left corner from eight yards.

Katy Cross made it 2-0 in the 71st minute when she was put in the clear on a long ball from Kendall Fletcher that caught the Caps defenders up-field.

Rosie Tantillo completed the scoring in the 78th minute on a free kick after Bagshawe was yellow-carded for a desperation tackle on Cross.

© The Vancouver Province 2008