Prospects Men edge Okanagan 2-1
Vancouver Whitecaps Prospects Men completed their two-game road trip to the British Columbia Interior with a 2-1 victory over Okanagan Challenge in Kelowna on Sunday afternoon.
After a disheartening 1-0 away defeat to Kamloops Excel on Saturday night, Bart Chourfour's side re-grouped for their Pacific Coast Soccer League showdown with the Challenge at Kelowna's Apple Bowl. Included in the Whitecaps were two members of the Mountain WFC U-16 Super Y-League squad in Kyle Knees and Nolan Moore.
With only two substitutes on the bench, the Prospects knew they had to preserve the energy and let the ball do the work. Immediately from the start, the Whitecaps took the initiative by controlling the midfield and going forward with some crisp and quick passing.
This resulted in the first big chance after only three minutes, as Milad Mehrabi released Ian Clark with a nifty through pass, but Clark's shot was tipped over the crossbar by the Okanagan goalkeeper.
However, the young 'Caps were not to be denied, as on seven minutes, a quick combination of passes between Lawrence Buchan and Mehrabi allowed the latter to play a through pass to Nat Blaiklock in front of the Challenge keeper. Blaiklock slotted home neatly with his left foot in the far corner for a 1-0 to the visitors.
On 11 minutes, the 'Caps nearly doubled the lead when a quick counter-attack allowed Gavin Barrett to put Clark into a good scoring position. The striker’s shot came back off the post before the Okanogan keeper made a tremendous save to deny Blaiklock on the rebound.
The Whitecaps continued to dominate possession, while creating a few lesser goal chances. On 32 minutes, however, Okanagan drew level when a long ball from the back found Carl Speed. He muscled himself by Ben Leggett and slotted home for 1-1.
The remainder of the first half was even with few chances, but with the Challenge looking dangerous with their corner kick set-pieces.
In the second half, the pace slowed down a bit due to the heat and the fatigue from Saturday’s games, with Okanagan having also played the day before in the PCSL Premier Division, as they saw off the visiting PSSA Rapids 4-1.
The home side showed more of the initiative from the restart, as they forced 'Caps goalkeeper Matt Robinson into a number of fine saves.
The Prospects remained dangerous on the counter-attack and nearly regained the lead when Thomas Mallette – who was back from a long-term injury - put Clark in one-on-one with the Okanagan keeper after supplying him with a very deceptive reverse pass. The Challenge shot-stopper, however, made a fine save after charging hard off his goal line to close the chance down.
Just as it looked that both teams would have to settle for the draw, the Whitecaps broke the deadlock when Moore - who had penetrated forward from a deep position on the right flank - turned back on to his left foot and whipped in a beautiful inswinging cross that was met by Clark’s head to give the 'Caps just their second win of the PCSL season.
The Prospects Men will now return home to complete their PCSL season schedule this week. Their next encounter comes at Simon Fraser University's Terry Fox Field when they host Khalsa Sporting Club on Thursday night.
Whitecaps Prospects Men - line-up v Okanagan Challenge
Matt Robinson; Ashley Ankiewicz, Ben Hemphill, Ben Leggett, Flo Liu (Kyle Knees); Lawrence Buchan, Nolan Moore, Milad Mehrabi; Nat Blaiklock, Gavin Barrett (Thomas Mallette), Ian Clark