Vancouver Whitecaps U-18 Girls Travel Team lost 4-1 to USL W-League club Toronto Lady Lynx in southern Ontario on Friday.
Played in the indoor confines of the multi-million dollar Hershey Centre SportsZone in Mississauga, Mark Pennington's young Whitecaps squad faced a huge task in only their third match of 2008, as the more senior Lady Lynx were playing their final tune-up before starting their W-League campaign away to Western Mass Lady Pioneers.
Following a ceremonial kick-off by local dignitaries, the Whitecaps started brightly, with midfielder Paige Scott having her effort well saved by the scrambling Lady Lynx goalkeeper.
The high pace of the match continued until Toronto broke the deadlock on 21 minutes, as the Lady Lynx broke down the right before a chipped finish eluded the advancing Whitecaps goalkeeper Leah Peric, bounced off the back post and into the net for 1-0.
In what was an end-to-end affair, the Whitecaps soon responded when Mikyla Kay saw her strike off an expertly-worked free kick from 25 yards out well saved by the Toronto keeper.
The Lady Lynx doubled their lead eight minutes before the break when their centre forward latched on to a through ball before Peric made an excellent save to her initial shot. The rebound, however, fell to the feet of an on-rushing Lady Lynx winger, who coolly slotted home from close range for a 2-0 Toronto lead at the half.
The second half continued with the same high pace as the first half, as both teams produced a fantastic display of controlled passing soccer, and it was the Whitecaps who came out to prove they could match the Lady Lynx team.
Their persistence was rewarded midway through the second half when the hard-working Elise Horton chased down a through ball and clinically dispatched the ball over the Lady Lynx goalkeeper to bring the Whitecaps within one goal at 2-1.
The Whitecaps continued to press forward, with April Coffin tirelessly creating chances, while Julia Corey and Chantal McFetridge were both unlucky to see their efforts go agonizingly wide, as they pushed for the equalizer. At the other end, Player of the Game Victoria Gonzalez and Tessa Locke looked very solid at the back, limiting the Lady Lynx to mere half chances near the goal.
However, the Whitecaps rearguard was undone by a moment of brilliance when the Lady Lynx midfielder hit a volley off the outside of her right foot and into the top corner from 20 yards out when a clearance from a corner fell to her.
As the Whitecaps pushed forward, the Lady Lynx added a fourth goal in the dying moments when their striker cleverly headed in from a cross on the left for 4-1.
An inspiring performance from the young Whitecaps team won many fans, who were impressed by how well they played against a strong W-League side.