After bowing out of the Dr Pepper Dallas Cup XXXII, Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency ended their time in Dallas on a high note, defeating Gordon Jago U-19 Super Group participant Liga Deportiva Alajuelense of Costa Rica 2-1 in a friendly match on Thursday.
Coming off of a disappointing 2-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake U-17/U-18 Academy on Tuesday that saw them knocked out of contention in Bracket C, Richard Grootscholten's side rebounded with a dramatic victory at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas. Though the teams were level at the half, the young ‘Caps pulled through for the victory with two goals from striker Carlos Marquez.
Playing their fourth match in five days, Grootscholten’s squad was eager to gain a second victory before leaving Dallas. Alajuelense, meanwhile, also looked for a result after being eliminated from Bracket D.
The Costa Rican side nabbed the first goal of the match, taking the lead on 20 minutes off of a fine volley from the top of the box that was buried into the back of the net.
The ‘Caps responded six minutes later when Tim Hickson sprung Marquez on a breakaway with a sharp through ball. Marquez then rounded the goalkeeper before slotting the ball into the net to draw the Residency team level at 1-1.
Marquez continued to pester the Alajuelense backline in the second half, as the ‘Caps searched for a winner. On 57 minutes, he broke in on goal but fired just wide. With nine minutes remaining, the 17-year-old striker once again found himself on the break, but couldn’t get his shot on target.
The young striker finally broke through for the winning goal in the dying stages. On 89 minutes, substitute Declan Rodriguez sent in a ball over the top of the Alajuelense defense. Marquez then beat the onrushing goalkeeper to the ball, nodding a header past him for a 2-1 victory.
Following the match, Grootscholten said that he was pleased to see his young team end the trip with a hard-fought win. “It was good to play a fourth game to get the guys more experience in game situations,” he told whitecapsfc.com. “It was absolutely a good experience to play in this tournament. We were younger than the other teams that we played, so that may be why in the end we couldn’t get the win in the second and third tournament games, but it was a good opportunity to train together, to continue to develop technically and to work on the things mentally that it takes to win at this level.”
Whitecaps FC Residency - line-up vs. Liga Deportiva Alajuelense (Costa Rica)
1.Brian Sylvestre; 11.Dalen Babic, 3.Derrick Bassi, 21.Ben McKendry, 19.Kalem Scott; 16.Alex Rowley (15.Declan Rodriguez 70’), 10.Tim Hickson, 2.Bryce Alderson, 4.Wesley Cain (8.Ben Fisk 45’); 7.Spencer DeBoice (5.Caleb Clarke 62’), 12.Carlos Marquez