By Brandon Timko/whitecapsfc.com
Vancouver Whitecaps Prospects Men wrapped up their Pacific Coast Soccer League season with a 4-2 defeat versus Fraser Valley Action at Willoughby Turf on Wednesday evening.
Two goals from striker Daniel Lowen led the way for the home team in Langley, BC. Cody Strelan and Jason Jorgenson also scored for Fraser Valley, while Lucas Barrett netted a pair for the 'Caps.
The Prospects came out strong to start the match, opening the scoring barely 10 minutes in through a beautiful passing sequence. After collecting a long throw from goalkeeper Evan Lowther, Nolan Moore sent a pinpoint ball out wide for Ashley Ankiewicz, who promptly delivered a sharp pass to Gavin Barrett. The midfielder then set up Riley Newport for a shot with a clever back-heel. Action goalkeeper Rob Wright made the save, but Lucas Barrett was there to finish the rebound, putting Bart Choufour’s side up 1-0.
The Whitecaps nearly doubled their advantage four minutes later when Adam Staschuk sent Moore in on goal, but Wright came rushing out to block the shot.
Lowen would test the Whitecaps defence on 20 minutes, cutting into the visitors' box before having his shot deflect a foot wide of the target. The Trinity Western University striker was determined to get a goal, and would do so on 24 minutes. He outworked the Prospects defence to his own rebound after a diving save by Lowther to level the match at 1-1.
The tempo of the match would then pick up, with both teams exchanging chances the next ten minutes of the match. Jorgenson looked to give Fraser Valley their first lead on 26 minutes, but would watch his low free kick roll perilously wide of goal. Gavin Barrett then made a darting run down the left flank before setting up Moore for a strike, only to have it blocked away by an Action defender.
Pat Rohla's side finally broke through on 38 minutes, with Lowen slotting home his second goal of the match after receiving a great through ball from Brayden Volkenant.
The Whitecaps were hopeful of going into the break on level terms, and would receive an opportunity on 45 minutes. Moore skipped a cross into the box for Riley Newport, but the midfielder’s hard blast went directly to Wright, sending the match into the break 2-1 in favour of the home side.
The second half saw the introduction of Ian Clark, giving the speedy winger his first action of the season. The Prospects started the second half just as they had started the first, scoring another early goal. Lucas Barrett capitalized on a poor back pass, gliding past substitute goalkeeper Andrew Fink before easily sliding home the equalizer to make it 2-2.
The match remained back and forth, with neither team looking interested in a draw. Mustafa Demirci headed high over the crossbar on 53 minutes, while Ankiewicz tried his luck two minutes later with a low strike rolling just wide of target.
A pivotal moment in the match occurred on 60 minutes when Lucas Barrett sent Ankiewicz one-on-one with Fink. Ankiewicz rounded the Action 'keeper before appearing to be clipped down for an apparent penalty. However, no call was made - much to the frustration of Choufour.
The non-call would become crucial several minutes later. On 66 minutes, Lowen set up Demirci for a hard shot five yards from goal that was saved by substitute 'Caps goalkeeper Matt Robinson. However, the ensuing corner kick would be finished by Strelan after a scramble in the box, giving Rohla’s side an important 3-2 lead.
The Action would double their advantage on 71 minutes after a weak shot from Jorgenson evaded the grasp of Robinson.
The Whitecaps had one final opportunity to get on the scoresheet in the dying stages, but it was not to be, as Gavin Barrett’s strike rolled agonizingly wide of goal, ending the match at 4-2 in favour of Fraser Valley.
Looking back on the season, Choufour was content with the way his young team had developed during that time. "We could have had a few more points in the standings," he told whitecapsfc.com. "But we’ve been very competitive in almost every match. We’ve made a great deal of progress."
With the PCSL Premier Division season now at an end, the Prospects Men now turn their attention to the prestigious San Diego Surf Cup, which starts at the beginning of August. Following that, the team will represent the province of British Columbia at next month's Canada Games in Prince Edward Island.
Whitecaps Prospects Men
Evan Lowther (Matt Robinson 45’); Adam Staschuk (Harry Lakhan 45’, Carlos Del Aguila 75’), Kyle Knees, Curtis Helm (Jerome Lou 26’), Denny Serifovic, Jordan Whitehead (Ian Clark 45’, Lucas Barrett 90’), Riley Newport, Nolan Moore, Gavin Barrett, Ashley Ankiewicz, Lucas Barrett (Cameron Parkes 70’)
Fraser Valley Action
Rob Wright (Andrew Fink 45’); Jake Jorgenson (Jason Jorgenson 45’), Craig Rohla, Brayden Volkenant, James Farenhorst, Cody Strelan, Dan Lowen, Gianni Tsoulouhas (Sean Laidlaw 60’), Nathan Square-Briggs (Nathaniel Turner 78’), David Featonby (Mustafa Demirci 20’), Jason Jorgenson (Garrett Traversy 33’, David Featonby 60’)