'Caps fall to Barcelona in Surf Cup final


Vancouver Whitecaps BCSA U-18 Boys suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 overtime defeat to FC Barcelona of Los Angeles in the U-19 Super Group final of the Surf Cup championship in San Diego, California, on Monday.

After five straight wins in reaching the Super Group final, the Whitecaps fell just minutes short of becoming the first-ever Canadian team to win the prestigious Surf Cup, which is widely recognized as one of the top youth tournaments in North America.

Both regulation time goals came on penalty kicks, with FC Barcelona opening the scoring before Milad Mehrabi equalized to send the game into overtime. Barcelona scored the 'Golden Goal' winner just nine minutes into extra time. Despite the final defeat, Whitecaps defender Ben Leggett was voted the tournament's Most Valuable Player by the college coaches in attendance.

The Whitecaps advanced to the final in convincing fashion defeating Mustang FC 3-0 - thanks to a goal by Milad Mehrabi and two by Thomas Mallette. In the Sunday afternoon quarter-final, the Whitecaps put away San Juan Lightning 4-1 on goals by Flo Liu, Gavin Barrett, Riley Newport and Milad Mehrabi.

The 'Caps advanced to the playoffs after three-straight wins in group play. In game one, Vancouver were led by an Ian Clarke hat-trick in an impressive 3-1 win over CASA Boca Jr of North California. Game two saw them continue to role on after a dramatic 2-1 win over Black Watch Dundee on a late Riley Newport goal. In the final group game, the Caps' defeated the California state champions San Diego Surf White 89 1-0 on a goal by Gavin Barrett.

Vancouver Whitecaps BCSA U-18 Girls also put on an impressive performance in reaching the San Diego Surf Cup semifinals on Monday morning before losing 4-1 to the Northern California state champions Mustang FC.

The semifinal saw the 'Caps jump out to a 1-0 lead on a Chelsea Buckland penalty before succumbing to three second-half goals. In the Sunday quarter-final match, the Whitecaps fell behind early before storming back to beat Real Colorado 3-1 on goals by Janine Frazao, Chelsea Buckland and Natalie Boyd.

The girls advanced to the playoffs after three straight wins in group play. The U-18 Girls started the day with a 1-1 draw versus Pleasanton Rage of Northern California, with Julie Armstrong scoring a late goal. They followed that up with a comprehensive 5-0 thumping of Riverside from Colorado in a game that included another Julie Armstrong strike and two goals by Chelsea Buckland. In the final group game, the Whitecaps beat So Cal Blues 2-1 on goals by Chelsea Buckland and Alicia Tesan.

TOURNAMENT GAME REPORTS

BOYS

Game 6 - Final - Whitecaps U-18 Boys 1 vs. FC Barcelona 2 OT

Vancouver Whitecaps BCSA U-18 Boys suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 overtime defeat to FC Barcelona of Los Angeles in the U-19 Super Group final of the Surf Cup championship in San Diego, California, on Monday.

Both regulation time goals came on penalty kicks, with FC Barcelona opening the scoring before Milad Mehrabi equalized to send the game into overtime. Barcelona scored the 'Golden Goal' winner just nine minutes into extra time. Despite the final defeat, Whitecaps defender Ben Leggett was voted the tournament's Most Valuable Player by the college coaches in attendance.

Game 5 - Semifinals - Whitecaps U-18 Boys 3 vs. Mustang FC 0

The Whitecaps rolled off their fifth-straight win by knocking off Mustang FC 3-0 to move on to the finals of the Surf Cup in San Diego on Monday afternoon. The Whitecaps will try to be the first-ever Canadian team to win the prestigious event, which is widely recognized as one of the top youth tournaments in North America.

Milad Mehrabi opened the scoring just before the halfway mark on a free kick. Thomas Mallette supplied the insurance with two second-half goals, the first on a fantastic through ball from Mehrabi, and then on a beautiful set up by Ian Clark.

Game 4 - Quarter-finals - Whitecaps U-18 Boys 4 vs. San Juan Lightning 1

Whitecaps FC U-18 Boys put away San Juan Lightning 4-1 in a dominating performance to go through to the San Diego Surf Cup semifinals on Monday morning.

Playing against the wind in the first half, the Whitecaps expected to soak up early pressure, but it was the 'Caps that provided the stormy conditions.

Just seven minutes in, Vancouver were already 2-0 up. First, Ian Clark could only be stopped illegally just outside the penalty area, which led to Flo Liu curling the ball into the top corner of the goal with his free kick. Two minutes later, it was Max Maund who penetrated down the right side after combining with Harry Lakhan and Milad Mehrabi before striking a low cross that found Gavin Barrett. The striker then drilled the ball under the crossbar from 10 yards out.

Smelling blood, the 'Caps maintained a high tempo, but got caught on the break when a quick counter got the Lightning on the scoreboard.

The Whitecaps bounced back just three minutes later when a beautiful diagonal long ball from Ben Hemphill found a streaking Riley Newport behind the defense to finish low past the Lightning 'keeper for a 3-1 lead.

The 'Caps pressure continued when Clark shook off several defenders before finding Mehrabi, who controlled and rifled the ball into the roof of the Lightning net.

In the second half, San Juan mounted a comeback, but relentless defending and a splendid early save by Coady Nett took the flash out of the Lightning.

Starting line up:
Coady Nett, Harry Lakhan (Ashley Ankiewicz 40'), Ben Hemphill (Branden McLean 30'), Ben Leggett, Flo Liu (Adrian Bears 35'), Nolan Moore (Jordan Whitehead 30'), Max Maund, Milad Mehrabi, Riley Newport (Thomas Mallette 30'), Ian Clark, Gavin Barrett

Subs not used: Michael Brannion-Calles, Rhys Volkenant (injured)

Game 3 - Group play - Whitecaps U-18 Boys 1 vs. San Diego Surf White 0

The Whitecaps U-18 Boys made it three wins in a row after winning their final group game 1-0 over the California state champions San Diego Surf White 89 on a goal by Gavin Barrett.

Game 2 - Group play - Whitecaps U-18 Boys 2 vs. Black Watch Dundee 1

In the afternoon game against Black Watch Dundee from New York, the Whitecaps had a difficult time finding their legs against a strong wind. It was Black Watch that provided the early chances. After some changes in the line up with ten minutes to go in the half, the 'Caps slowly started to take the initiative and created a number of good chances.

With the wind at their backs in the second half, the Whitecaps came storming out and created a number of good chances. Despite the momentum, it was Black Watch that netted the game's first goal just twelve minutes from time after a 'Caps defensive breakdown.

But with just five minutes to go, a penetrating run by Ian Clark drew a free kick outside the box. Substitute Milad Mehrabi sent a well-struck shot into the roof of the net to level the game at 1-1. Just three minutes later, Thomas Mallette fed a fantastic reverse pass to Riley Newport, who finished low to the corner of the goal for a heart-thumping 2-1 victory.

Squad:
Coady Nett, Michael Brannion-Calles, Harry Lakhan, Branden McLean, Ben Leggett, Ben Hemphill, Rhys Volkenant, Flo Liu, Adrian Bears, Ashley Ankiewicz, Jordan Whitehead, Riley Newport, Ian Clark, Max Maund, Gavin Barrett, Nolan Moore, Milad Mehrabi, Thomas Mallette

Game 1 - Group play - Whitecaps U-18 Boys 3 vs. CASA Boca Jr 1

In the morning game against Casa Boca Juniors from Sacramento, California, it was the Whitecaps that took the early initiative, but found themselves down early when a mishap in the back line resulted in a goal after only four minutes. Just two minutes later, the young 'Caps tied it up when a quick combination through the midfield released Ian Clark, who coolly finished from a tough angle. The Whitecaps kept attacking with a lot of energy and confidence, but could not capitalize on their many chances.

Ten minutes into the second half, it was Nolan Moore that again sprung Clark with a great through pass and again, the 'Caps striker showed clinical finishing to put Vancouver 2-1 up. With the Casa Boca Jrs. pressing for the equalizer in the last five minutes, it was Clark that completed his hat-trick after a quick counter-attack that involved Gavin Barrett and Thomas Mallette.

GIRLS

Game 5 - Semifinals - Whitecaps U-18 Girls 1 vs. Mustang FC 4

The Whitecaps took the initiative on the Northern California state champions Mustang FC by jumping out to a 1-0 lead - thanks to a Chelsea Buckland penalty. However, just before halftime, the 'Caps gave up a late strike to level the score at 1-1 at the break.

It was a back and forth start to the second half until two rapid fire strikes put the Mustangs firmly in the driver's seat. With the Whitecaps pressing, Vancouver gave up a late goal to fall 4-1 to the Mustangs.

Game 4 - Quarter-finals - Whitecaps U-18 Girls 3 vs. Real Colorado 1

Despite some early pressure, Real Colorado struck first on the quarter-hour mark after a Whitecaps defensive miscue. Revenge came quickly for the 'Caps, as just three minutes later, Janine Frazao hit a full volley into the top left corner to make it 1-1.

Midway through the half, Julie Armstrong floated a perfect ball onto the path of Chelsea Buckland, who flicked it over the on-rushing keeper to make it 2-1.

Natalie Boyd rounded out the scoring when she electrified the crowd with a 30-yard laser that the keeper could only wave at. The win moved the young 'Caps into the semifinals.

Game 3 - Group play - Whitecaps U-18 Girls 2 vs. So Cal Blues 1

In a scrappy affair, the Whitecaps beat So Cal Blues 2-1 to win their group in Surf Cup play.

Chelsea Buckland opened the scoring on a penalty early in the second half. So Cal replied with only five minutes remaining, and it was 'Caps striker Alicia Tesan - on a pass from Michelle Godoy - that supplied the heroics in a late game-winner.

Game 2 - Group play - Whitecaps U-18 Girls 5 vs. Riverside 0

The Whitecaps overwhelmed the Colorado state champions 5-0 in Saturday's second game. Julie Armstrong and Lauren Hamson netted first-half goals, with Chelsea Buckland adding two and Michelle Godoy also finding the scoresheet in the second half.

Game 1 - Group play - Whitecaps U-18 Girls 1 vs. Pleasanton Rage 1

The Whitecaps drew the United States national finalists from northern California 1-1 in an evenly-played match. The 'Caps had to pull out some heroics on a late goal by Julie Armstrong following a superb looping pass from Chelsea Buckland. The 'Caps almost snatched a dramatic win, but Buckland could not slide her effort past the onrushing Pleasanton goalkeeper in the dying stages.