By Simon Fudge/whitecapsfc.com
Vancouver Whitecaps FC returned to winning ways in preseason after a convincing 3-0 away victory over University of Victoria Vikes on Saturday afternoon.
All three of Vancouver's goals came inside the first 16 minutes at UVic's Centennial Stadium, with Lyle Martin scoring twice for Teitur Thordarson's side, while Takashi Hirano added a third goal for the Blue and White in the British Columbia provincial capital. The win was the 'Caps first friendly result over the Vikes since a 4-0 success back on April 7, 2006. More recently, the Whitecaps lost 1-0 to UVic on April 9, 2007, before earning a goalless draw with Bruce Wilson's squad on March 9, 2008.
Looking to bounce back from last Sunday's 4-0 defeat at Major League Soccer expansion club Seattle Sounders FC, Thordarson made a couple of interesting changes to his starting XI for Saturday's match against the 2008 Canada West men's soccer champions. Mason Trafford partnered Haitian international Kenold Versailles in central midfield, while speedy defender Martin played alongside Charles Gbeke in the Whitecaps attack.
On a cool day at the UVic campus, it was the USL First Division champions that claimed the lead just five minutes into the contest. Martin took full advantage of Vicente Arze's through ball by beating Vikes goalkeeper Dan Kilpatrick with his strike and ending the Whitecaps two-year scoring drought at Centennial Stadium.
Five minutes later, the Whitecaps doubled their lead through a well-executed set-piece from former Japanese international Hirano. His inswinging corner beat Kilpatrick and curled inside the far post to make it 2-0 to the visitors. The match was sealed on 16 minutes when Martin found the back of the net again, as he took advantage of a scramble in front of the UVic goal to make it 3-0.
The visitors remained dominant through the friendly, as they fired 28 shots at Kilpatrick during the 90 minutes. Midfielder William Gye had the Vikes' best opportunities in the match, but poor finishing and solid goalkeeping from Jay Nolly and second-half substitute Diego meant a second-straight clean sheet for Thordarson's side on Vancouver Island.
The Icelandic tactician was pleased with Saturday's outcome in Victoria. "We were much better in the first half than we were in the second half," Thordarson told whitecapsfc.com. "We created a lot of goalscoring chances and should have scored more goals before the end. UVic were very physical and played a very direct style of soccer, so they were a challenge for us to deal with at certain stages of the match. Yet, overall, we were delighted to win today."
The Whitecaps will return home to Vancouver and prepare for their historic preseason trip to the East African country of Tanzania on Wednesday. The club will play three friendly matches during their trip, with the 'Caps taking on Tanzania's national team in their first match on Sunday, March 8. Vancouver will then play two of the top clubs in the Tanzanian Premier League when they face Young Africans FC on Wednesday, March 11, and Simba SC on Saturday, March 14. Their first match back in Canada will be a preseason friendly against University of British Columbia Thunderbirds on Tuesday, March 24. UVic, meanwhile, return to action when they host their annual Keg Spring Cup tournament at Centennial Stadium on the weekend of March 28 and 29.
On Friday in Sunrise, Florida, seven Whitecaps players were in action for Canada's U-20 national team, as they fell 1-0 to Jamaica U-20's in a tune-up match before next week's CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Trinidad & Tobago. New men's team signing Marcus Haber started for Canada alongside Residency centre back Adam Straith and midfielder Philippe Davies. Residency goalkeeper Julien Latendresse-Lévesque, midfielder Ethan Gage, and strikers Randy Edwini-Bonsu and Kyle Porter all appeared for Tony Fonseca's side in the second half. Jamaica's U-20 squad, meanwhile, includes Whitecaps striker Dever Orgill.
VAN – Lyle Martin (Vicente Arze) 5'
VAN – Takashi Hirano 10’
VAN – Lyle Martin (Charles Gbeke) 16'
Shots: Vancouver 28 – UVic 11
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 8 – UVic 7
Saves: Vancouver 7 – UVic 5
Fouls: Vancouver 14 – UVic 17
Offsides: Vancouver 2 – UVic 3
Corners: Vancouver 15 – UVic 0
VAN – none
UVic – Sam Wingham 58’, Kyle Kostis 87’
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.Jay Nolly (99.Diego 45'); 2.Marco Reda (12.Gagandeep Dosanjh 70'), 4.Justin Thompson, 8.Wes Knight (3.Luca Bellisomo 60'), 22.Takashi Hirano; 13.Kenold Versailles, 18.Mason Trafford, 23.Vicente Arze, 25.Tyrell Burgess (16.Ansu Toure 53'); 24.Lyle Martin (26.Alex Semenets 70'), 98.Charles Gbeke