By Brandon Timko/whitecapsfc.com
Vancouver Whitecaps Prospects Men battled to a thrilling 4-4 draw versus Athletic Club of BC in Pacific Coast Soccer League action at Burnaby Lake Sports Complex on Wednesday evening.
Two goals from Lucas Barrett lead the Prospects back from an early four-goal deficit. Riley Newport and Gavin Barrett also scored for the Whitecaps, while Venny Attwel and Ryan Canavor netted two goals each for ACBC.
ACBC started the match intent on getting their second win of the season. Canavor blasted a 20-yard shot off the crossbar less than two minutes into the match before finding the back of the net barely a minute later. He headed home a perfect free kick from Issa Traore for an early 1-0 lead.
Attwel would double their advantage on eight minutes, slotting a low shot past 'Caps goalkeeper Evan Lowther after receiving a fine through ball from Matt Oviel. ACBC continued the onslaught with a superb passing sequence 10 minutes in. Sergio Rodriguez sent a precise ball in for Chris Kyd, who unselfishly passed off to Canavor. The striker would make no mistake, tapping the ball into the open net for a commanding 3-0 advantage.
The men in yellow should have had a fourth goal on 12 minutes, but Jon Sotelo could not capitalise on a dropped ball by Lowther, sending a shot high over the crossbar.
The Prospects finally woke up on 14 minutes when Ashley Ankiewicz broke in on goal and fired a low shot on target, but ACBC goalkeeper Michael Heinrich did brilliantly to get a hand on the ball before it caromed off the far post. Moments later, Ankiewicz would send a low cross into the box that was deflected just wide by Lucas Barrett.
Attwel looked to have put the game out of reach on 26 minutes, sneaking past the Whitecaps defence before dribbling past Lowther to slide in his second goal of the match, giving his team a seemingly insurmountable 4-0 lead.
Bart Choufour’s side could have easily been disheartened by the scoreline, but his young squad refused to give up. They would have been on the scoresheet on 31 minutes, if not for another terrific save from Heinrich. Ankiewicz again sent a cross in for Lucas Barrett, who managed to get a quick shot on target towards the near post before being foiled by a diving Heinrich.
Ankiewicz would finally get a shot past Heinrich on 33 minutes, but not the post, maintaining the four-goal deficit. Barrett would finally manage to cut into the lead on 41 minutes, finishing a breakaway to get the 'Caps within a three-goal deficit.
Moments before the break, the visitors were given further reason to believe they could come back. Ankiewicz would make a run down the right flank before sending in a great cross to Riley Newport. The midfielder controlled the ball before blasting in a terrific shot into the top corner, giving Heinrich no chance and cutting the lead to 4-2.
The 'Caps were eager to get a third goal midway through the second half. Substitute Jordan Whitehead played a clever give-and-go with Ruben Casablanca, but his shot was blocked by Heinrich.
The ACBC shot-stopper impressed again on 74 minutes, acrobatically saving a 20-yard shot from Casablanca. Unfortunately for Heinrich, his night would end on a sour note four minutes later. With a dangerous ball bouncing towards him, he decided to come out and grab the ball a foot outside the box, earning an automatic red card.
The Whitecaps would capitalize on 82 minutes, with Nolan Moore heading a Casablanca free kick to the far post. Lucas Barrett would get on the end of the ball before back-heeling a pass to brother Gavin Barrett. He promptly buried a shot past ACBC's substitute goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams to get the 'Caps to within a single goal at 4-3.
The Prospects threatened again on 84 minutes, as Lucas Barrett headed an Ankiewicz cross just over the crossbar. They again come close on 86 minutes, with Williams nervously parrying away a hard shot from Gavin Barrett.
ACBC looked to salt the match away a minute into time added on. Gretcheam Waite played a give-and-go with Canavor before sending a low shot well wide of goal, much to the relief of substitute ‘Caps goalkeeper Matt Robinson.
The miss would prove crucial, as the 'Caps completed their remarkable comeback three minutes into time added on. Williams dropped a long cross before Ankiewicz collected the ball and sent it in front of goal to an unmarked Lucas Barrett. The pass allowed the striker to easily tap the ball into the net, giving the Whitecaps an exciting, and well deserved, 4-4 draw.
Choufour was delighted with the spirit his young team showed in fighting back. "This was one of the finest attacking displays we’ve shown all year. I’m very happy with the character shown by everyone," he told whitecapsfc.com. "They never stopped believing."
The Prospects Men now turn their attention to a match on Vancouver Island this weekend, as they face Victoria United at Royal Athletic Park on Sunday afternoon. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. PDT.
Whitecaps Prospects Men
Evan Lowther (Matt Robinson 45’); Kyle Knees (Denny Serifovic 45’), Rhys Volkenant, Erik Hacker (Curtis Helm 45’), Nolan Moore; Jerome Lou (Adam Staschuk 45’), Riley Newport (Jordan Whitehead 45’), Ruben Casablanca, Gavin Barrett; Lucas Barrett, Ashley Ankiewicz
Athletic Club of BC
Michael Heinrich; Issa Traore (Amir Amiry 32’, Gretcheam Waite 60’), Hussein Abu, Scott Stefanek, Ray Goolab (Jan-Michael Williams 80’); Venny Attwel, Sergio Rodriguez (Issa Traore 80’), Matt Oviel (Sonny Krupic 32’, Matt Oviel 45’), Jon Sotelo (Sonny Krupic 75’); Chris Kyd, Ryan Canavor