By Brandon Timko/whitecapsfc.com
Vancouver Whitecaps Prospects Men returned to Pacific Coast Soccer League action with a 4-1 home defeat to defending champions Victoria United at Simon Fraser University on Saturday afternoon.
Victoria proved to be too much for the young Whitecaps, despite having many of last year's players defect to PDL expansion club Victoria Highlanders this summer. Romaie Martin, Dylan Kirk, Tyler Wood, and Matt Northrup netted goals for the visitors, while Gavin Barrett scored a consolation goal for the Prospects.
The 'Caps looked to open the scoring in the eight minute when Ashley Ankiewicz made a strong run down the right flank before sending a ball in for Carlos Del Aguila. The midfielder, however, was unable to get a good shot off and sent the ball high and wide.
United began to take over the game, and on 16 minutes, Northrup challenged Whitecaps goalkeeper Matthew Robinson with a shot from the top of the box.
Bart Choufour's squad would be tested again on 20 minutes when Steve Gateley made a strong run down the right side before firing a hard shot on target. Robinson was able to make the save, but the rebound ended up on the foot of Martin, who would make no mistake in scoring after having all day to shoot, with the 'Caps stopped cold waiting for an offside call.
Ankiewicz looked to get the Prospects back into the game on 26 minutes after getting on the end of a Gavin Barrett cross, but he could not get his volley on target.
Victoria should have doubled their lead on 40 minutes. Gateley made yet another strong run down the right before crossing into a wide-open Doug Joyce, but his header flew just wide.
The Prospects would be given one more opportunity before halftime, with Erik Hacker sending in a terrific free kick towards Ankiewicz five yards from goal. The midfielder did well to out-jump Victoria goalkeeper Blake Ridley, but would be left frustrated once more, as his header sailed over the crossbar.
United were not satisfied with their one-goal halftime lead and came out strong to start the second half. Substitute Dylan Kirk would give Victoria a 2-0 advantage after being sent on a breakaway five minutes after the restart. He beat 'Caps keeper Evan Lowther, who was also a halftime substitute.
The Whitecaps would be given a break on 65 minutes when a Victoria defender misplayed his clearance, sending Gavin Barrett one-on-one. Barrett would turn at the top of the Victoria box before firing a low shot past the outstretched arms of Ridley to get the 'Caps back into the game 2-1.
Barrett would get another opportunity five minutes later, sending a nearly identical shot on target, but this time Ridley was in position to make the diving save. That play would end up proving crucial, as Wood got on the end of a bouncing ball three yards from the Whitecaps goal before blasting a shot into the near corner of the goal to restore Victoria’s two-goal cushion with 10 minutes remaining.
United would cement their victory in the last minute of the match, with Northrup dribbling by several 'Caps defenders before slotting a low shot past a helpless Lowther to put the finishing touches on a comfortable 4-1 victory.
Choufour was visibly disappointed with his team's performance after the match. "We played very poorly, simple as that," Choufour told whitecapsfc.com. "We were beaten to every ball today."
The Prospects Men will be looking for a better performance when they meet Fraser Valley Action this Tuesday night at Simon Fraser University. Kick off at Terry Fox Field is at 7:30 p.m. PDT.
Whitecaps Prospects Men
Matthew Robinson (Evan Lowther 45’); Adam Staschuk, Erik Hacker, Curtis Helm (Rhys Volkenant 38’), Kyle Knees; Cameron Parkes, Jordan Whitehead (Bryan Cha 45’), Carlos Del Aguila, Ashley Ankiewicz (Curtis Helm 78’); Gavin Barrett, Lucas Barrett
Blake Ridley; Mark Cottrell, James Fitzpatrick (Dylan Kirk 45’, Matt Northrup 67’), Stef Olcen (James Fitzpatrick 78’), Ben Hooker; Joel Gomez, Doug Joyce (Jermy Roburg 88’), Romaie Martin (Raphael Mauricio de Araujo Silveira 45’, Romaie Martin 67’), Matt Northrup (Wesley Barrett 45’); Steve Gateley (Julian Munson 88’), Tyler Wood