Preview: Whitecaps FC U-23 vs. Victoria Highlanders FC in first match for Juan de Fuca Plate

U-23 squad host Victoria Friday, 7 p.m. at Thunderbird Stadium

Scoring Summary:
None

Match Stats:
Shots: Vancouver  - Victoria
Saves: Vancouver  - Victoria
Fouls: Vancouver  - Victoria 
Offsides: Vancouver  - Victoria 
Corners: Vancouver  - Victoria 

Disciplinary Summary:
None

Whitecaps FC U-23:

1.Simon Thomas; 5.Derrick Bassi, 6.Adam Clement, 16.Michael Winter, 3.Ethan Sampson; 20.Aminu Abdallah, 7.Harry Lakhan, 23.Cam Hundal, 10.Bhupinder Jhutty; 17.Niall Cousens, 12.Sasa Plavsic

Whitecaps FC U-23 Subs:

13.Sean Melvin, 4.James Farenhorst, 9.Gagandeep Dosanjh, 24.Peter Bow, 2.Colton O'Neill, 21.Marco Visintin

Victoria Highlanders FC

29.Elliot Mitrou; 4.Gavin Barrett, 13.Tyler Hughes, 5.Ryan Ashlee, 2.Kalem Scott; 10.Riley O'Neill, 14.Matt Polster, 22.Tarnvir Bhandal, 11.Craig Gorman; 16.Brett Levis, 17.Jordie Hughes

Victoria Highlanders FC Subs:

1.Joel Wilson, 19.Jermele Campbell, 24.Gareth Langdon, 20.Thomas Mallette, 18.Craig Taylor, 8.Bryan Taylor, 23.Adam Ravenhill

Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 return to United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League (PDL) action on Friday when they host provincial rivals Victoria Highlanders FC at UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium. Kickoff will be at 7 p.m. PT. The match is free to the public, while updates can also be followed on Twitter through @WhitecapsMatch.

WHITECAPS FC U-23

The ‘Caps opened their season with an exciting 2-1 come-from-behind win over Kitsap Pumas last Friday at Thunderbird Stadium.

After going down a goal after six minutes, the ‘Caps stormed back late in the second half on goals from Cam Hundal and substitute Spencer DeBoice.

“This match will be another big challenge for our group,” noted head coach Stuart Neely. “We need to play better defensively and be quicker in our build-up play. Last match we adjusted our approach in the second half and the boys responded well. We cannot take Victoria lightly, so we need to be tactically and mentally prepared.”

VICTORIA HIGHLANDERS FC

The Highlanders are led by former Whitecaps FC women’s team assistant coach Steve Simonson in his first year in charge.

Victoria are looking to improve from their 2012 season when they finished in sixth place in the Northwest division, one spot behind Whitecaps FC U-23.

Like the ‘Caps, the Highlanders defeated Kitsap Pumas at home to begin their season, earning a 3-0 result at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria on May 4.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

The ‘Caps have an all-time record of 5W-2L-3D against Victoria Highlanders FC since they joined the PDL in 2009, including a 3W-1L-1D record at home.

JUAN DE FUCA PLATE

Friday’s match will be the first of the season in the battle for the Juan de Fuca Plate, a supporter-sponsored competition crowning the best PDL team from British Columbia. In its inaugural year in 2012, the Juan de Fuca Plate was contested between Fraser Valley Mariners, Vancouver Whitecaps FC, and Victoria Highlanders FC. Vancouver won the inaugural title in 2012.

With the Mariners dropping out of the PDL this year, the competition will be contested between Whitecaps FC and Victoria and will be based on their three-game head-to-head series. For more information on the Juan de Fuca Plate, visit http://www.juandefucaplate.ca.