By Alan Douglas/whitecapsfc.com
Vancouver Whitecaps Prospects Women battled to a 1-0 Canada Day win over NSGSC Eagles on Wednesday morning.
Forward Jenna Richardson netted the only goal of the match in the second half at North Vancouver's Sutherland Park.
Prospects head coach Jesse Symons made one change from the side that won so convincingly in over Okanagan Whitecaps in Kelowna, BC, last weekend. Alicia Tesan starting up front in place of Katie Turney in a 4-3-3 formation.
The match got off to a tentative start, with few opportunities for either side. The Eagles were defending well, but their lone striker in a 4-5-1 formation found it hard going against the Whitecaps back four.
On 23 minutes, the 'Caps raised the tempo and created five good chances in as many minutes! First, Richardson made a great turn at the top of the area to burst past two defenders, but former Prospects goalkeeper Shimone Slomowitz was out quickly to pounce on the ball. A minute later, Richardson on the left beat her marker, but her hard head-high shot was saved by Slomowitz.
Then Natalie Boyd in the box got the ball from Nikki Ambrose's cross and charged the goal. She did not get a good shot away, but the ball still got by the Eagles goalkeeper and had to be cleared off the goalline by a defender. A minute after that, Slomowitz stopped a 15-yard shot from Jenna Di Nunzio, then seconds later, the Eagles number one again denied Di Nunzio, as she broke in on goal.
The home side's best chance of the first half was on a hard shot from Sophie Rogers after she broke past her marker on the right on 36 minutes. Prospects goalkeeper Gurveen Clair made the save.
On 43 minutes, Richardson did well deep on the right to battle for the ball and come away with it, but she blasted her shot into the sidenetting from a sharp angle. Then in time added on, Richardson had a shot from a corner kick blocked by an Eagles defender on the goalline, then fired her second attempt wide while on the ground.
It was goalless at halftime.
The Whitecaps continued to take the game to their hosts after the restart, with chances becoming more frequent, as the half wore on.
On 54 minutes, Slomowitz stopped a header from Tessa Meyer off a corner kick. Then on 62 minutes, Boyd sent a great ball to Richardson breaking into the box. She rolled her shot wide of the Eagles keeper, but it also went wide of the far post. Six minutes later, Boyd got the ball in a similar position and sent a similar shot wide of the same post.
Moments after the Eagles keeper made saves off shots from Katie Turney and Jaclyn Sawicki, the pressure finally paid off. On 77 minutes, Richardson on the right squared it for Sawicki, who broke past two defenders into the home side's box. The ball got away from her, but ran to Richardson who rifled in her league-leading 18th goal of the season.
On 81 minutes, Boyd on the right fired a dangerous ball across the face of the goal, which reached Sawicki on the left, and her shot at the open side deflected off a defender's face wide. Five minutes later, Sawicki was stopped in close by the keeper, then did well to dig out the ball for Boyd. Slomowitz, however, stopped her blast as well with a good save.
The final chance fell to Kendra Williams on 88 minutes when the ball broke to her in front after a corner kick, but her shot was cleared off the goalline.
The 1-0 victory raises Vancouver's record to 10W-1L-2D, moving the Whitecaps back into first place, and ahead of the 10W-0L-0D Fraser Valley Action. NSGSC Eagles see their record fall to 2W-7L-2D.
Next up for the Prospects Women is the big top-of-the-table showdown with Fraser Valley at Langley's Willoughby Turf field next Wednesday night, July 8, at 7:30 p.m. PDT.
Whitecaps Prospects Women
1.Gurveen Clair; 7.Melissa Bowen, 8.Erin Uchacz (14.Sarah Pennington 45'), Jennifer Castillo, 15.Nikki Ambrose; 12.Nicole Setterlund, 4.Natalie Boyd, 19.Tessa Meyer (11.Kendra Williams 85'); 22.Jenna Richardson, 5.Alicia Tesan (6.Jaclyn Sawicki 45'), 10.Jenna Di Nunzio (18.Katie Turney 33'; 3.Maryse Reichgeld 85')