By Brandon Timko/whitecapsfc.com
Vancouver Whitecaps Prospects Men suffered a 1-0 defeat to a resilient Khalsa Sporting Club on a gorgeous Canada Day evening at Port Coquitlam's Gates Park.
A scintillating solo effort by Milad Rahmati paved the way to victory for an undermanned Khalsa squad on Wednesday night, as the home side were only able to field 10 players to start the match.
Khalsa looked for an early lead, despite being a man short. Gary Anderson made a run through the middle before finding Rahmati in the box, but Rhys Volkenant did well to block the shot for the Whitecaps. The roles were reversed on 20 minutes, as Rahmati fed Anderson, but his shot wound up wide of target.
Khalsa were dealt a further blow on 28 minutes when Chris Craveiro received a red card, temporarily reducing the home side to nine men. Jerome Lou looked to take advantage of the extra space on 36 minutes when he made a darting run through the middle of the pitch before sending a bouncing shot towards goal, but Khalsa goalkeeper Darius Motazed made a diving save for the home side.
The teams went into the halftime break goalless, with the 'Caps unable to benefit from their two-man advantage. Khalsa would be given life on 56 minutes when Simon Codner entered the match, bringing them back up to 10 players.
Rahmati would send a warning to the 'Caps on 65 minutes. The midfielder received the ball at halfway line, and in a sign of things to come, made a run all the way into the Prospects box before firing a shot just over the frame of the goal.
The Khalsa talisman would not be denied, as he found the net on 72 minutes. After fighting for the ball at midfield, Rahmati slalomed through the 'Caps defence before sliding a shot from 10 yards out past 'Caps keeper Evan Lowther to give Khalsa a 1-0 lead.
Bart Choufour's side did not give up and responded with a late flurry in the last five minutes of the match. Lou would have a chance on 85 minutes after Motazed was unable to handle a corner kick from Bryan Cha, but his header flew well wide.
The best chance of the match for the 'Caps would come with two minutes remaining. Gavin Barrett sent a through ball to an overlapping Volkenant, but the defender’s low strike rolled agonizingly wide of the goal.
Barrett would find himself in on goal a minute later, but would lose the ball. However, it would roll into the path of an onrushing Riley Newport, but his blast was easily blocked by Motazed. A minute later, Cha would set up another chance. After receiving a great ball from Carlos Del Aguila out wide, the midfielder cut into the middle before cleverly touching the ball to Lucas Barrett. The striker got into the Khalsa box, but he was left frustrated when his centering ball was swarmed by a sea of Khalsa defenders, who were able to preserve a 1-0 win for the men in black.
Choufour was disappointed to see his team beaten by an undermanned squad. "We played with a complete lack of urgency," he told whitecapsfc.com. "We didn’t show anything until we got behind."
The Prospects Men return to action on Saturday afternoon when they host Okanagan Challenge at Simon Fraser University Field #4. Kickoff is set for 4:00 p.m. PDT.
Whitecaps Prospects Men
Evan Lowther; Adam Staschuk (Carlos Del Aguila 25’), Rhys Volkenant, Kyle Knees, Denny Serifovic (Curtis Helm 45’, Jerome Lou 80’), Curtis Helm (Bryan Cha 25’), Erik Hacker, Riley Newport, Gavin Barrett, Lucas Barrett, Jerome Lou (Adam Staschuk 45’)
Khalsa Sporting Club
Darius Motazed; Joey Brar, Gary Anderson, Azad Palani, Nico Marcina, Gurt Dhalawal, Jasdeep Toor, Milad Rahmati, Chris Craveiro, Parm Gill (Mohammad Paslar 65’), (Simon Codner 56’)