Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency started a busy weekend of United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) action in winning style on a very wet Saturday in San Diego, California. Both the U-16 and U-18 squads were victorious in two tough away matches versus their age-group counterparts from San Diego Surf Soccer Club.
In the midday kickoff on Field 7 at the San Diego Polo Club, Whitecaps FC U-18 Residency (4W-0L-1D) defeated San Diego Surf U-17/18 3-1. The hosts played much of Saturday's match with ten man after having a man sent off in the first half following a dangerous tackle on Residency midfielder Bryce Alderson.
The Surf made a good start to the match, but it was their Canadian visitors that took advantage of the extra man after 27 minutes. Vancouver took a one-goal lead into halftime through a fine finish from striker Carlos Marquez.
After the break, the U-18 'Caps stamped their authority on the contest by wearing down their under-strength opponents, as they created several chances with the extra man, including a header off the San Diego crossbar. Daniel Stanese doubled Vancouver's lead before the Surf replied on the counter-attack. Ben McKendry assured victory for the U-18 Residency side with a third goal.
"They played well again today," Residency technical director Richard Grootscholten told whitecapsfc.com. "We spoke to them at halftime and told them to make space by getting as wide as possible on the pitch. We did that better in the second half and also speeded up our play, in order to get our opponents running more. Scoring three goals was good, but you want to score more goals when playing 11 versus 10."
Whitecaps FC U-16 Residency (4W-1L-0D) extended their USSDA winning streak to four matches with a 2-1 victory over San Diego Surf U-15/16 in the Saturday afternoon clash on Field 7 at the San Diego Polo Club.
Heavy rainfall had taken its toll on the pitch following the midday U-17/18 match and the condition of the natural grass proved a challenge for the U-16 'Caps. This despite scoring both of their goals in the first half through Winnipeg, Manitoba, native Marco Bustos and Edmonton, Alberta, striker Sebastian Cabrera.
With a two-goal lead, the U-16 Residency side tried to open up the Surf to create more chances after the break, but they were made to battle their way to a one-goal victory after San Diego struck a consolation goal in the second half.
"This team is growing in the way they like to play," Grootscholten said of his U-16 Residency squad. "We've been working on playing with a lot of possession out of the backline and applying pressure on our opponents. It's a younger team, but they have shown a lot of positive things in their development process, so we will continue to work with them."
Both Residency squads will have a short turnaround to their next USSDA contests, as they conclude their San Diego road trip with games against Nomads Soccer Club at Stadium Field turf on the campus of Otay Ranch High School in nearby Chula Vista, California. The U-18 ‘Caps kick things off against Nomads SC U-17/18 at 12 p.m. PT before the U-16 ‘Caps wrap up the weekend against Nomads SC U-15/16 at 2:30 p.m. PT.
Being the first time this season that the two Residency sides will play two league games in as many days, Grootscholten believes the San Diego trip will provide important challenges for his players. "What we like with a trip like this is that, in order to be professional players, the players have to deal with these circumstances," the Dutchman revealed. "The players need to learn how to rest and recover after playing one game and prepare for the next match. Nutrition and treatment is also important. It will be interesting to see how the players react to these back-to-back games, but we will try to use all the players that are here over the two days."