Playing their first United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) regular season matches in Canada on Saturday afternoon at Simon Fraser University, in Burnaby, BC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency U-18 and U-16 squads swept their encounters with the Crossfire Premier U-18 and U-16 sides to continue their impressive start in USSDA competition after a two week layoff from competition.
Whitecaps FC Residency U-18 (2W-0L-1D) improved on their two match unbeaten streak to start their 2011 USSDA league season in-front of many Vancouver supporters, including numerous members of the Southsiders. The Blue and White defeated Crossfire Premier (0W-3L-1D) by a score of 3-0 off a two goal performance from forward Caleb Clarke with a combined clean sheet effort from goalkeepers Sean Melvin and Callum Irving. Midfielder Yassin Essa would add a late tally of his own as Whitecaps FC Residency U-18 easily dissected their opponents in the second half after a scoreless first 45 minutes.
Crossfire Premier U-18 played a strong defensive effort in the first half, limiting Whitecaps FC Residency’s offensive chances while creating turnovers, but failed to generate any meaningful offensive opportunities in the final third of the field. After 60 minutes of competitive back and forth action, ‘Caps striker Clarke was slipped in-behind Crossfire Premier’s back line and pounded home a left footed strike into the bottom left corner to give Vancouver a lead they would not surrender. Only minutes later, Bryce Alderson earned a penalty kick after being fouled in the 18-yard box. Clarke would take the ensuing spot kick and finish for his second goal of the match.
Whitecaps FC Residency head coach Richard Grootscholten was pleased with his team’s efforts in the victory and liked the poise his side showed to break down a tough Crossfire side. “We did very well today. We have to win this game and we did,” said Grootscholten. “We continue to get better; this was absolutely good”.
Whitecaps FC Residency U-16 (2W-1L-0D) were also victorious this weekend as the young ‘Caps earned a 1-0 victory over Crossfire Premier U-16 (0W-3L-1D) off a first half goal from midfielder Carlos Patino. The victory also extended Vancouver’s winning streak to two matches as the ‘Caps continue to grow and become confident in their style of play.
Taking advantage of a winless Crossfire side, Whitecaps FC Residency U-16 controlled the pace of play for a majority of the afternoon with various second half offensive opportunities in their favour. However, after some close offside calls in Crossfire’s favour, the scoreboard only showed a one goal victory. Head coach Grootscholten continues to be pleased with his team’s development and energy to start the 2011 USSDA campaign and will look to improve on the positives this week in training.
“We scored an early goal today and had many second half opportunities to score even more goals,” said Grootscholten. “It’s nice to win and to play with an early lead and I thought we did a good job on both sides of the field in working on areas we need to improve”.
After a successful weekend, Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency U-16 and U-18 now look forward to facing Real So Cal U-15/16 and U-17/18 on October 22 at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Washington.