Whitecaps FC conclude off-season camp with second intrasquad match
Following a goalless draw in their first intrasquad match on the weekend, Team Blue and Team White found the back of the net in Vancouver Whitecaps FC's second intrasquad game of their week-long off-season training camp, with the match ending in a 2-2 draw. Team White took the honours with a 3-1 penalty shootout win at Burnaby Lake Sports Complex West Field #1 on Wednesday.
In the men's team's last gathering before taking a break for the remainder of 2011, Michael Nanchoff and Shea Salinas gave Team Blue a two-goal lead at halftime before Team White responded with second-half strikes from Alain Rochat and Gershon Koffie on an overcast midweek morning in Burnaby, BC.
Playing nine versus nine on a shortened pitch over two 35-minute halves, it was Team Blue - who were led by Whitecaps FC assistant coach Paul Ritchie - that put in a strong first-half performance in front of several spectators. Team White goalkeeper Joe Cannon was kept busy, with Jordan Harvey and Russell Teibert testing the experienced Major League Soccer shot-stopper before the break, while Salinas and Teibert also struck the woodwork.
Team Blue's early pressure was rewarded on 16 minutes with the game's opening goal. From Nanchoff's corner from the right, the 2011 MLS SuperDraft pick re-claimed possession before striking a shot off Team White defender Michael Boxall and past Cannon for a 1-0 lead. Team Blue then completed a solid first-half performance with a second goal a minute before halftime, as Salinas converted into an empty net after getting on the end of Harvey's deflected cross.
While Team Blue substituted striker Camilo on for right fullback Jonathan Leathers, Team White - who were led by Whitecaps FC Residency technical director Richard Grootscholten - looked an improved side after the break, with Rochat looking a threat on set-pieces. The Canadian-born Swiss international struck the crossbar with a free kick before his next set-piece beat Team Blue goalkeeper Jay Nolly to make it a 2-1 scoreline on 42 minutes.
Team Blue looked to reply with efforts from Harvey, Camilo, and Teibert, but it was Team White that levelled matters on 63 minutes through a fine finish from Koffie after Residency product Ben Fisk had an initial shot saved by Nolly.
Both sides traded chances before the final whistle, but the match ended in a draw, with the 'Caps coaching staff giving both teams a chance to win the contest on penalties. Boxall, Koffie, and Long Tan scored their spot kicks for Team White, while Salinas converted Team Blue's only penalty kick after Cannon saved from Mustapha Jarju in the shootout.
Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie was pleased with what he saw from his squad on Wednesday morning. "Today was a much more enjoyable game to watch than it was on Saturday," the Scotsman told reporters. "There was much more forward movement and attacking play, and I thought it was quite lively. One team did well in the first half, while the other team did better in the second half. It was more of what I wanted to see, with chances being created and goals being scored. I thought all the players acquitted themselves pretty well."
The midweek intrasquad match concluded Rennie's week-long assessment of the squad, and he was happy with the effort made by the players. "Overall, things improved as the week went on. I've enjoyed getting to know the guys," he revealed. "They've been very respectful and responsive to everything that we've asked them to do, and that's a very important thing. They've worked very hard, considering it's the end of the season, which is often difficult. The camp has given me a clear idea on what we have to do to make the team better and I'm excited about being able to do that."
With the off-season camp now at an end, Rennie's squad will take a break for the Holidays before returning to Vancouver in mid-January for preseason training camp ahead of the 2012 MLS campaign.
16' - Blue – Michael Nanchoff (Greg Janicki)
34' - Blue – Shea Salinas (Jordan Harvey)
42' - White – Alain Rochat
63' - White – Gershon Koffie (Caleb Clarke)
White – Gershon Koffie (GOAL)
Blue – Mustapha Jarju (SAVE)
White – Long Tan (GOAL)
Blue – Shea Salinas (GOAL)
White – Michael Boxall (GOAL)
Jay Nolly; Jordan Harvey, Greg Janicki, Jonathan Leathers (Camilo 35'); Russell Teibert, Philippe Davies, Shea Salinas; Michael Nanchoff, Mustapha Jarju
Joe Cannon; Alain Rochat, Michael Boxall, Jeb Brovsky; Ben Fisk, Bryce Alderson, Gershon Koffie, Long Tan; Caleb Clarke