Vancouver Whitecaps FC women recorded their third straight home shutout, and fourth of the season, as they downed Los Angeles Strikers FC 1-0 Friday night at Surrey's Newton Athletic Park. Tiffany Weimer came off the bench to score the game's only goal - her league-leading seventh of the season.
A fresh face in the line-up was newly signed left fullback Keshia Wallin, a star defender out of the University of Alberta. In goal, Jaclyn Dunnett made her first start of the season, replacing Kristen Funk, while up front, Monica Lam-Feist also made the first XI for the first time this year.
Whitecaps FC came out gunning, with Ranee Premji and Amber Brooks both testing Strikers goalkeeper Erin Frushon inside the first four minutes. Then on 11 minutes, Sydney Leroux showed a good burst of pace up the middle to cut past her marker, but her shot was saved by Frushon.
The home side came close again on 34 minutes, as Wallin's free kick cross found Kelsey Hood in front, but the 'Caps captain drove her header wide of the far post.
It was scoreless at halftime.
Los Angeles had a string of chances early in the second half. On 50 minutes, a volley from Amy Chapman deflected just wide. Moments later from a corner kick, Cherelle Khassal had a shot in close that was blocked on the goal line. From the corner that followed, Chapman hooked in a shot-cross from the right that hit the crossbar. The rebound fell for Khassal, who fired high and wide from 10 yards out.
Having survived those scares, Whitecaps FC hit back. Leroux chased a bouncing ball on the right and exploded past her marker before hitting a superb volley. It was curling inside the far post before Frushon got a hand on it with a spectacular diving stop.
On 65 minutes, the home side finally found the opening goal. With the Strikers caught short at the back, Lam-Feist played it ahead to Leroux and her powerful shot hit the underside of the bar, but stayed out. The rebound ran to Weimer, who slotted it home from six yards.
After the match, Weimer described her goal to whitecapsfc.com, saying, "I knew I needed to bring a spark coming off the bench. It was a bit of a different role, but I was up for the challenge. Syd had a great shot off the crossbar, and I was just in the right place at the right time."
The 'Caps almost added to their lead on 83 minutes, as a neatly worked free kick from the edge of the area finished with Brooks sending a hard dipping shot just over the bar. Moments later on a quick break, Alysha Bonnick almost beat the keeper on the short side, but Frushon got a hand to it.
The Blue and White hung on for the three points, as Dunnett recorded her first shutout in the United Soccer Leagues W-League.
Defender Lexi Marton, a key figure on the Vancouver backline, was glad the team turned in a solid effort after surrendering a total of eight goals on the recent three-match California road trip. "It was important for us to come back on our home turf and get the win after a disappointing result in our last game," said Marton. "It's really important for us not to concede any goals, so to get that shutout gives us even more confidence as a backline."
Coach Hubert Busby Jr. was satisfied with the result, telling whitecapsfc.com, "it's obviously good to get back to winning ways. At times, we made it a little bit difficult, but I thought we controlled the game and controlled the tempo, which is important."
The win improves Vancouver's record to 5W-1L-1D, moving Whitecaps FC into a tie for first place with Santa Clarita Blue Heat in the W-League Western Conference standings. Los Angeles, meanwhile, drop to 3W-6L-0D.
The Whitecaps FC women’s team now return to the road for two games in Colorado. On Friday, June 17, they visit Colorado Force, then two days later, have the big rematch with Colorado Rush in Denver. Their next home match is Friday, June 24, against Pali Blues at Surrey's Newton Athletic Park. That game kicks off at 7:30 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 for just $12 at www.whitecapsfc.com/wtickets.
65' - VAN - Tiffany Weimer (Sydney Leroux)
Shots: Vancouver 13 - LA 10
Saves: Vancouver 1 - LA 4
Fouls: Vancouver 14 - LA 9
Corners: Vancouver 2 - LA 3
Offsides: Vancouver 2 - LA 0
67' - VAN - Tina Romagnuolo
90'+ - LA - Julie-Ann Russell
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
35.Jaclyn Dunnett; 7.Tina Romagnuolo, 3.Shannon Woeller, 4.Lexi Marton, 14.Keshia Wallin; 30.Ranee Premji (8.Tiffany Weimer 45'), 22.Kelsey Hood, 23.Amber Brooks; 18.Monica Lam-Feist (24.Jaclyn Sawicki 77'), 9.Sydney Leroux (6.Amy Vermeulen 89'), 20.Jen Stoltenberg (11.Alysha Bonnick 45')
Subs not used: 29.Kristen Funk, 15.Krista Kruse, 25.Ciara McCormack
Los Angeles Strikers FC
1.Erin Frushon; 23.Rachel Flemming (24.Shannon Suarez 69'), 5.Christina Murillo, 15.Vanessa Valentine, 17.Kaitlyn Macisaac (21.Nancy Avesyan 83'); 19.Carly Butcher, 8.Katie Tarrant (2.Alisha Foote 59'), 22.Laura Coombs; 3.Amy Chapman, 11.Julie-Ann Russell, 14.Cherelle Khassal
Subs not used: 0.Amanda Robles, 6.Daelyn Paul