Whitecaps FC U-23 side set for key away match against Crossfire
After earning a hard-fought, scoreless draw against defending champions Kitsap Pumas, Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 (5W-4L-3D) visit the third-place Washington Crossfire (7W-3L-1D) in their final road match of the season on Wednesday night.
Both teams will be desperate to earn the victory, as only two points separate the top four teams in the United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League (PDL) Western Conference, Northwest Division, standings.
With 18 points, the fifth-place ‘Caps are currently sitting just outside the playoff picture, but a win would move them into a tie with Seattle Sounders FC U-23 for the fourth and final playoff berth.
In their previous meeting this season, the young ‘Caps stunned the Crossfire with a 4-0 victory at Simon Fraser University (SFU) Field #4 on June 15.
WHITECAPS FC U-23
Despite playing with a short bench, the U-23 'Caps extended their unbeaten to streak to four matches after earning an important point off the conference-leading Pumas last Friday night.
Although the ‘Caps are known for their offensive prowess, having scored more goals than any other PDL Northwest Division squad this season, they have now recorded three consecutive clean sheets.
With head coach Craig Dalrymple away with the Whitecaps FC Residency squads at the United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) playoffs in Texas, U-14 ‘Caps head coach Bart Choufour will take over the coaching duties on Wednesday.
“I’m very familiar with the style they play,” Choufour told whitecapsfc.com. “Craig Dalrymple has filled me in very well. I’m not there to make any earth-shattering changes. They’re a unit that has come together very well, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Since falling to the U-23 'Caps at SFU last month, the Crossfire have gone on to record back-to-back victories against Victoria Highlanders FC and North Sound SeaWolves FC, respectively.
With a game in hand, the Crossfire trail the first-place Pumas by just one point in the Northwest Division.
The ‘Caps will have their work cut out for them on Wednesday against the Redmond, Washington, outfit, who have conceded the fewest goals in the Northwest Division this season.
“It’ll be a very tough match,” Choufour said. “Both teams are trying to get into the playoffs and they’re direct competition for each other. It will be a very good derby, I’m sure.”
HOME SWEET HOME
After playing seven of their previous eight matches on the road, Whitecaps FC U-23 return to the friendly confines of Swangard Stadium for the first of three consecutive PDL home matches to conclude the season, as they host North Sound SeaWolves FC on Friday, July 6. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. PT.
Admission to all PDL home matches is free of charge.