Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency (8W-5L-3D) put forth a valiant effort Sunday evening in Redmond, Washington, as they defeated the host Washington Crossfire (3W-8L-5D) 3-0 in their final fixture of the 2011 United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League season.
In order to qualify for the playoff round slated for next weekend, Whitecaps FC needed to not only beat the Crossfire, but also have Victoria Highlanders FC drop a Sunday afternoon result to the visiting Abbottsford Mariners. Unfortunately, while the Residency team came away with a big win, Victoria went on to a 3-1 victory over Abbotsford to eliminate the young 'Caps from postseason contention and secure the second and final playoff berth in the PDL's Western Conference, Northwest Division.
Head coach Richard Grootscholten’s young squad, bolstered by the additions of Major League Soccer roster players Philippe Davies, Alexandre Morfaw, and Long Tan in the starting XI, came storming out of the gate Sunday evening, attacking from the get go against a Crossfire squad that ended up finishing seventh in the Northwest Division.
Their pressure was rewarded on three minutes after Washington conceded a free kick, allowing Davies to step up and bury a strike for the game’s first marker. The Blue and White maintained a possession-oriented style, as they looked to extend the lead, and did just that on 25 minutes when Tan managed to draw Crossfire goalkeeper Doug Herrick out of the box and finish easily to make it a 2-0 advantage heading into halftime.
Refusing to let up in what would turn out to be their final half of the season, Whitecaps FC sustained their attacking style, registering 18 shots in the process. On 50 minutes, it was Tan again who managed to beat Herrick, effectively putting the match out of reach. ‘Caps goalkeeper Callum Irving faced six shots on the night, making one save to earn Vancouver their third clean sheet of the season.
After the match, Grootscholten was reflective in his take on both the game and his team’s season. “It was a good win for our guys today. Of course, it was disappointing afterwards when we heard the Victoria result, but that’s how things go sometimes,” he told whitecapsfc.com. “To look back four or five months and see how far we’ve come, it’s absolutely unbelievable. We were the younger team in every game we played and our guys and the staff came together and put together a totally professional operation in every sense. There are some very good players in this team that I think will be playing in the MLS very soon.”
He was also sure to give credit to the support the Residency team received throughout the season. “The support this season has been wonderful," Grootscholten said. "We’ve had fans, both at home and on the road, including 25 supporters tonight in Redmond. This dedication to our team is something we are very grateful for.”
While the PDL season has come to an end, the Residency squad will continue to train and play matches and in tournaments as part of the club's full-time player development program.
3’ – VAN – Philippe Davies
25’ – VAN – Long Tan
50’ – VAN – Long Tan (Caleb Clarke)
Shots: Washington 6 – Vancouver 18
Saves: Washington 8 – Vancouver 1
Fouls: Washington 13 – Vancouver 7
Offsides: Washington 0 – Vancouver 3
Corners: Washington 4 – Vancouver 4
83’ – WAS – Jordan Zogg
90’ – WAS – Bradley McIntosh
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency
1.Callum Irving; 2.Declan Rodriguez (25.Alex Rowley 59’;) 4.Daniel Stanese (19.Jason van Blerk 59’); 5.Derrick Bassi; 3.La’Vere Corbin-Ong; 8.Bryce Alderson (18.Ben McKendry 53’); 10.Ben Fisk (11.Spencer DeBoice 53’); 15.Philippe Davies; 16.Alexandre Morfaw (12.Tim Hickson 65’); 16.Long Tan (17.Juan Carlos Marquez 65’); 9.Caleb Clarke
Subs not used: 30.Sean Melvin
25.Doug Herrick; 12.Benjamin Fisk; 20.Taylor Mueller (33.Jordan Zogg 55’); 4.John Fishbauger; 9.Nick James; 10.Michael Harris; 13.Sean Russell (3.Bradley McIntosh 45’); 23.Adam Nowland; 30.Kelyn Rowe; 32.Colin Rigby (14.Kevin Forrest 55’); 35.Nathan Sackeyfio (26.Aaron Becerril 71’)
Subs not used: 5.Brayton Knapp