Vancouver Whitecaps Prospects Women suffered a second straight defeat in the Pacific Coast Soccer League on Tuesday night, losing 4-2 at home to a strong Tri-Cities Xtreme side.
Goals by Alicia Tesan and Chelsea Buckland were not enough for the Whitecaps, who conceded twice from penalty kicks in the second half.
The Prospects welcomed defender Brienna Shaw back to the starting line-up, as she had been away with the Whitecaps first team in Los Angeles last week.
However, they were lining up against an imposing Tri-Cities squad, that included five of the newest Whitecaps signings who were also back from the Los Angeles trip - goalkeeper Kasia Gwiazda, defender Diane Rizzardo, midfielders Rachael Pelat and Lauren Lachlan, and forward Melissa Mobilio. As well, the Xtreme featured three former Whitecaps players in Sara Maglio, Phebe Trotman, and Sadie McLure.
Tri-Cities had the better of play overall during the match, but both teams had their chances and spells of pressure in a highly competitive, back and forth contest at Simon Fraser University.
The first good chance fell to Vancouver, as Chelsea Buckland had a shot well parried by goalkeeper Gwiazda nine minutes in.
Back came the visitors on minute 11, as Mobilio flicked the ball on at the edge of the area, and after a Whitecaps defender missed it, veteran Kristine Jack collected the ball and blasted it in from 14 yards. The visitors then came close minutes later, as Lachlan powered a header over the bar.
The Whitecaps rallied, however. On minute 28, Buckland did well to barge her way into the box, but her shot was blocked in front. A poor clearance was then picked off by Tesan on the edge of the area, and she lashed a powerful shot into the net.
Vancouver enjoyed some good pressure, but then the momentum swung back to the visitors with a wild sequence. On minute 34, Trotman spun and shot in the box, and Whitecaps keeper Shimone Slomowitz barely stopped it. Pelat then hit the rebound at goal, but it was blocked in front by Melissa Bowen, with the ball then falling for Jack, who was then denied by Slomowitz.
Five minutes later, the visitor did find a way through, as some nice passing freed up Trotman on the left, and while her shot was stopped by Slomowitz, Pelat was there to side-foot the loose ball home.
The Whitecaps went right back at the Xtreme from the game's restart, with Buckland again showing great determination to drive toward goal, but after fighting past a couple of challenges, her final shot from in close deflected wide for a corner.
It was 2-1 to the Xtreme at halftime.
The second half had few chances early on, as both teams battled hard to keep possession, with strong challenges flying all over the field. It is not surprising then that it was an overzealous challenge that lead to the next goal.
On minute 71, Vancouver's Shaw took down Lachlan from behind in the box, and the referee awarded a penalty kick. Mobilio finished from the spot to make it 3-1 for the visitors.
The game then picked up, with chances coming quickly at both ends. Gwiazda made a great save to deny Tesan with a quarter of an hour remaining. Then at the other end, Lachlan's effort pin-balled off a couple of players in front, finally going wide off Trotman. The former W-League Most Valuable Player then missed another great chance a minute later, as Mobilio's rising shot was stopped, and Trotman stabbed the ball over the bar from in close.
On 87 minutes, Trotman was again looking a threat in front as she went for a loose ball, but this time she went to the turf under the challenge from Mikyla Kay. The referee pointed to the spot again, and it was Jack who did the honours to collect her second goal of the night.
The Whitecaps pressed to the end, and earned a bit of consolation in time added on. Lauren Hamson's inswinging corner kick was nodded in by Buckland, who was virtually standing on the Xtreme goal line.
Vancouver's record now drops to 6-3-0, while Tri-Cities improve to 5-1-0. The two teams will be back at it again on Friday night in a rematch at Coquitlam's Charles Best Secondary. Kick-off is at 7:30pm.
Whitecaps Prospects Women - starting line-up v Tri-Cities Xtreme
Shimone Slomowitz; Melissa Bowen, Carolyn Bell, Brienna Shaw, Alanna Foster; Julia Cory, Tessa Meyer, Janine Frazao; Alicia Tesan, Chelsea Buckland, Lauren Hamson