Preview: Red-hot Whitecaps FC U-23 side set to host Washington Crossfire on Canada Day

U-23s in action Tuesday at 3 p.m. PT in Richmond

PDL huddle 2014

Photo Credit: 
Bob Frid/Vancouver Whitecaps FC

VANCOUVER, BC – After winning each of their five matches in the month of June, Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 (5W-3L-3D) are looking to keep things rolling on Tuesday, July 1 when they host Washington Crossfire (2W-3L-4D) at Minoru Oval Park. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. PT.

WHITECAPS FC U-23

The ‘Caps enter Tuesday’s contest second in the United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League (PDL) Northwest Division, having posted a 5W-3L-3D record thus far.

After going winless in their first six matches, head coach Niall Thompson’s side are now riding a five-match winning streak thanks to a dominant month of June. In those games, Whitecaps FC U-23 outscored their opponents by a 17-2 margin. They have also recorded three straight clean sheets – most recently, a 3-0 win over Seattle Sounders FC on Sunday at UBC Thunderbird Stadium.

Brett Levis (2) and Niall Cousens provided the scoring for Vancouver on that day. Cousens now has seven goals in 10 appearances this season, second to only team-leader Cody Cook (8). Both players are among the top 10 scorers in the league. The ‘Caps now have a division-high 27 goals this season.

First-team midfielder Bryce Alderson played 90 minutes for Whitecaps FC U-23 on Sunday and he will be available again on Tuesday – as will first-team defenders Sam Adekugbe and Christian Dean.

WASHINGTON CROSSFIRE

The Crossfire currently sit sixth in the Northwest Division, though they have at least a game in hand over every other team in the division. They host Puget Sound Monday night in Washington, before making the trip to Vancouver for Tuesday’s fixture.

Only one Northwest Division team has conceded fewer goals than Washington this season. The challenge for them has been at the other end of the park. Their 11 goals from nine matches are third worst in the eight-team division.

Washington’s most dangerous offensive player has been striker Hamza Haddadi, who leads the team with five goals and two assists in seven appearances.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

This will be the second and final meeting between the ‘Caps and Crossfire this season. Vancouver actually began their current winning streak against this very team back on June 3. Haddadi gave Washington an early second-half lead before Marco Bustos and Cook came back to lead the ‘Caps to a 2-1 victory. Washington holds the all time edge over Whitecaps FC U-23 with a 7W-4L-0D record.

NEXT UP

Tuesday’s match kicks off a busy week for Whitecaps FC U-23, who will host Lane United on Friday at UBC Thunderbird Stadium before meeting them again on Tuesday, July 8 in Oregon to conclude the regular season.

Two Northwest Division teams will qualify for the PDL post-season. The first-place side gets an automatic berth, while the second and third teams will play a knockout match to determine the second entry.