By Simon Fudge/whitecapsfc.com
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency began their 12-day tour of Japan in winning fashion after claiming a 3-1 victory over Vissel Kobe U-19's on Sunday.
A hat-trick by Randy Edwini-Bonsu gave Thomas Niendorf's side a bright start to their five-match tour of the Far East nation – the program's first overseas trip since beginning its second year of existence at the beginning of September.
In an open contest that had chances at both ends, it was the Whitecaps that looked the brighter side in the opening 45 minutes on a cold and sunny weekend afternoon in Kobe, Japan. In fact, the Canadian visitors could have had plenty of goals before halftime, with Edwini-Bonsu even striking the crossbar from one of his first-half opportunities.
It was the Edmonton, Alberta, native that opened the scoring on two minutes before he extended the Residency's advantage with what turned out to be the match-winner on the quarter-hour mark.
Vissel, whose first team play in J.League Division One (J1), gave as much to the friendly with good qualities of ball movement and quickness off the ball. They would make Sunday's match a contest with a goal of their own on 55 minutes.
In the end, however, it was the Residency side that made the most of their chances, with Edwini-Bonsu capping a fine individual display with his third goal in the dying stages. Residency captain Philippe Davies also played a pivotal role with his work in midfield versus Vissel.
Whitecaps Residency's Japanese tour continues this week, with games against the U-19 sides of J1 clubs Kyoto Sanga and Gamba Osaka still to come.
Whitecaps FC Residency - starting line-up v Vissel Kobe
Julien Latendresse-Levesque; William Hyde, Jack Cubbon, Ethan Gage, Antonio Rago; Philippe Davies, Gagandeep Dosanjh, Alex Semenets, Sahil Sandhu; Randy Edwini-Bonsu, Drew Russell
Subs used: Russell Teibert 20', Kevin Cobby 65', Bobby Jhutty 65', Coulton Jackson 65'
Subs not used: Simon Thomas