Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-11 Boys lost 4-2 to Los Angeles Legends FC in their semifinal clash at San Diego Surf Cup XXIX on Monday.
The U-11 Boys Prospects were the lone Whitecaps team to reach the last four of their respective tournament in Southern California, with Vancouver facing the defending Surf Cup champions and a side that ranked first in the United States.
The Whitecaps looked a nervous side at the start of the match, but also full of confidence. They had played an excellent tournament by lifting their game to another level at every stage.
The first 15 minutes saw both teams battle hard to gain the midfield, and it proved to be a fight for every bit of space, as the Legends pressed hard to disturb the young 'Caps from getting into a midfield rhythm that had broken down every other opponent in the tournament to this stage. The LA club had also designated their captain to shadow Liam Fraser throughout the match.
After one good chance for the Legends and two good chances for the Whitecaps, it was the Legends that broke the deadlock on 25 minutes. LA's left-sided winger took a free kick from 30 yards out that sailed into the top corner of the goal. It was a shot that 'Caps goalkeeper Patrick Dominguez had absolutely no chance on, as LA took a one-goal lead into the halftime break.
Still full of belief, the Whitecaps started the second half in dominating fashion, and after Thomas Gardner had moved to striker from his regular midfield position, it looked like it was just going to be a matter of time before the 'Caps would find an equalizer.
11 minutes after the restart, it was Fraser that put a beautiful through ball to Gardner, who used his strength, speed, and agility to shake off two Legends opponents and finish superbly for 1-1.
For the next few minutes, it looked like the Whitecaps were now going to take over the game, as they kept putting pressure on the Southern California side with a series of quick attacks. However, as so often happens, the next goal fell to the other side, as a moment of indecisiveness in the Whitecaps defence served up a chance for one of the Legends players to nip in at the penalty spot and fire home for 2-1.
Vancouver started to attack with even more urgency to equalize, but on a quick counter-attack, it was the Legends left-sided winger that again hit a rocket of a shot into the top corner of the 'Caps goal for 3-1.
Though two goals down, the 'Caps still kept battling to get back into the match, and with six minutes remaining, Fraser hit a beautiful shot off the post and in following some nice combination play in midfield. It was now 3-2 to Los Angeles.
The 'Caps then pushed everybody forward to get the equalizer, but they were caught on the break just before the final whistle, as the Legends secured their spot in the final with a 4-2 victory.
Click here for Surf Cup final results and standings