Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite put in a dominant attacking display Saturday to defeat SurDel FC 6-0 in the final round robin game of the team’s Metro Women's Soccer League (MWSL) cup campaign.
Whitecaps FC now advance to the quarterfinals of the cup after another convincing victory at Simon Fraser University.
“We created a lot of chances today and were rewarded with some goals and full credit to the players to stay disciplined defensively and not allow any chances against us,” said head coach Jesse Symons.
“Overall, I’m pleased with the result and now we look forward to the quarter-final match next week.”
In a game which saw a vast number of offside calls due to SurDel’s tactic of playing a high defensive line, the Whitecaps players were still able to exploit it numerous times with their pace in behind.
Whitecaps opened the scoring just three minutes in through powerful striker Monika Levarsky.
She advanced down the right wing and cut inside to play a one-two with Margaret Hadley. Hadley played in Levarsky inside the right corner of the box and, from an acute angle, the striker was able to fire in low to the opposite side of the goal.
Just three minutes later, it was 2-0. A long ball was played over the top of SurDel’s defence by Aman Shergill and a missed kick by the goalkeeper allowed a simple tap in for Simmrin Dhaliwal.
At the 12-minute-mark, SurDel won a corner and as the ball was floated in, Whitecaps goalkeeper Rebecca Defer dropped the ball and was lucky to see defender Samantha Dion scramble the ball away off the line.
Despite that scare, Whitecaps continued to carve open their opponents with Levarsky guilty of missing a gilt-edged chance on 17 minutes as she shot over after being played through by the excellent Rachel Jones.
On 25 minutes, Hadley darted down the left flank and sent a square ball across the six-yard box with two Whitecaps players coming agonizingly close to the finish on the reach.
SurDel’s only shot on target the entire game came on the half hour, as a tame shot was hit from the centre of the 18 straight at Defer. 2-0 at the half.
Into the second and Symons’ team continued to dominate, pushing the full backs forward at every opportunity to create an extra attacking option, with Samantha Donald protecting the defence in a holding midfield position.
Five minutes into the second it was 3-0. Summer Clarke, on as a substitute moved in from the left, got to the byline, and cut the ball back for Jasmin Dhanda to fire home from close range.
Just past the hour, Clarke tried to get on the scoring sheet herself, dribbling through the middle of the opposition’s defence only to shoot wide with her weaker left foot.
Spirits were raised again on 77 minutes however as Chelsea Harkins arrowed in a magnificent free kick from 30 yards into the top right corner of the goal with the ‘keeper stranded. 4-0 Whitecaps.
Three minutes later it was five as Hadley ran down the left channel again to cross for Clarke to get her goal and score a finish similar to Dhanda’s.
The scoring rout was completed on 82 minutes with a move from the left side of the field coming to fruition for the ‘Caps again.
Levarksy used her strength to beat three SurDel defenders and cut the ball back for Clarke to fire home once more from just inside the six yard box.
The game ended with a full length surge from Hadley in injury time. Defer rolled the ball out to her teammate and from just outside the 18, Hadley, cheered on by father John from the sidelines, took the ball the entire stretch of the field beating numerous opposition players in the process, only to see her final shot blocked by the ‘keeper low to her left. 6-0 would be the final.
A jubilant Symons also said after the final whistle, “Some days the balls will hit the post or the ‘keeper will make a save and they don’t go in, but as long as the players are creating chances and looking to take the opportunities, that’s all we can really ask for.”
“Overall it was good to score six and we’re happy with the result for sure,” he said.
Upon his attacking fullbacks tactic, Symons said, “To have your fullbacks being willing to get forward is very crucial for a few reasons. One to create numbers going forward, and to create good width on your team too.”
“We really try and establish full backs that want to get engaged offensively. They do very well and today was no exception. They got forward and definitely helped our attack out wide, so we’ll continue that in every match we play in.”
Lively and industrious midfielder Jones said, “I enjoyed the game as it allowed me and everybody else to have an opportunity to turn, take chances and set other people up as well for chances at net.”
Jones, 15, is one of the youngest members of the 'Caps Girls Elite squad.
“When I first came into the program I was really nervous about it but once you get used to it I look at them (other players) like they are my age and I play like I usually do. I’m not scared, I go in hard for tackles, I just play.”
The team will play its quarterfinal match on Saturday Feb. 23.