Vancouver Whitecaps FC women rolled to a 4-2 win away to Los Angeles Strikers FC in United Soccer Leagues W-League action on friday night.
Whitecaps FC jumped out to a 2-0 first-half lead on goals by Jen Stoltenberg and Tiffany Weimer. Sydney Leroux then scored twice in the second half to end the home side's comeback bid, and make sure of the maximum three points for the Blue and White. The win keeps Vancouver in top spot in the W-League Western Conference standings.
Los Angeles did well over the first twenty minutes, with Whitecaps FC coming out a little flat as players needed time to get up to speed. Vancouver did have one good early chance though, as six minutes in, captain Kelsey Hood fired just wide following a corner kick.
The opening goal came just before the half-hour mark after Stoltenberg was taken down by Strikers goalkeeper Amanda Robles and a penalty kick was awarded. Stoltenberg took it herself, firing home her first goal of the season.
Six minutes later, Whitecaps FC doubled their lead. Amber Brooks fed a nicely weighted through ball to top scorer Weimer, who finished calmly for her fifth tally in as many matches. The goal moves Weimer into the league scoring lead.
Whitecaps FC were up 2-0 at the break.
Hopes were raised for the home side moments after the restart, as the Strikers capitalized on a defensive lapse. Republic of Ireland international Cherelle Khassal was the first to react to a loose ball in front following a free kick, and she fired home to make it 2-1.
Leroux restored the two-goal margin near the hour mark, using her speed to get behind the LA defence and fire in her second of the season.
"We brought Sydney off the bench to provide some spark," explained coach Busby to whitecapsfc.com after the match. "Her pace is frightening, and she definitely stretches the defence every time she is on the ball."
Vancouver's fourth goal involved some superbly worked combination play between Leroux and Alysha Bonnick. Leroux's shot came back off the ‘keeper, but she got her own rebound and made no mistake to increase the lead to 4-1.
The home side did not give up, however. On 82 minutes, Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Kristen Funk was called upon to save a penalty kick from Samantha Johnson. However, with time running out, Funk could do little about a rising 23-yard rocket from Laura Coombs that flew into the net.
Coach Busby wasn't happy with the lapses that allowed Los Angeles to score at both the start and end of the second half, but he was pleased with the end result. "We take pride at not conceding silly goals and being solid at the back. Today, we let ourselves down at times. But those things happen, and we were resilient enough to push on and make sure we left with three points."
The 'Caps record improves to 4W-0L-1D, putting Vancouver a point up on Colorado Rush atop the Western Conference standings. The win also runs Vancouver's regular season undefeated streak to 15 matches over two seasons. LA drop to 2W-4L-0D.
The 'Caps conclude their three-match California trip on Sunday at Santa Clarita Blue Heat in a 1 p.m. PT kickoff. The next Whitecaps FC women’s home match is Friday, June 10, against the LA Strikers at Surrey's Newton Athletic Park. Note that the start time for that match is now 8 p.m. PT. The match is part of the Whitecaps Women's Soccer Series presented by Kia - in partnership with the Girls Metro Soccer League, and is being hosted by Surrey FC Pegasus. Tickets for all home games are available online at www.whitecapsfc.com/wtickets.
29' - VAN - Jen Stoltenberg (penalty)
38' - VAN - Tiffany Wiemer (Amber Brooks)
46' - LA - Cherelle Khassal
58' - VAN - Sydney Leroux
81' - VAN - Sydney Leroux (Alysha Bonnick)
89' - LA - Laura Coombs
Shots: Vancouver 10 - Los Angeles 7
Saves: Vancouver 1 - Los Angeles 5
Fouls: Vancouver 0 - Los Angeles 0
Offsides: Vancouver 0 - Los Angeles 0
Corners: Vancouver 3 - Los Angeles 2
29' - LA - Amanda Robles
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
29.Kristen Funk; 15.Krista Kruse, 3.Shannon Woeller, 4.Lexi Marton, 2.Erica Campanelli (9.Sydney Leroux 45'); 7.Tina Romagnuolo, 22.Kelsey Hood, 20.Jen Stoltenberg (17.Carrie Patterson 60'); 23.Amber Brooks (16.Julie Armstrong 78'), 8.Tiffany Weimer (11.Alysha Bonnick 64'), 30.Ranee Premji (10.Tseng Shu-O 69')
Subs not used:1.Jaclyn Dunnett, 25.Ciara McCormack
Los Angeles Strikers FC
0.Amanda Robles; 23.Rachel Flemming, 16.Megan Indermill, 17.Kaitlyn Macisaac (22.Laura Coombs 74'), 13.Chloe McDaniel; 11.Julie-Ann Russell (2.Alisha Foote 74'), 19.Carly Butcher, 8.Katie Tarrant (6.Daelyn Paul 45'); 14.Cherelle Khassal, 9.Eva Dixon (12.Samantha Johnson 45'), 3.Amy Champman
Subs not used:1.Erin Frushon, 21.Nancy Avesyan, 24.Shannon Suarez