Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite U-18 team tied their first match versus Lakeland at the Final 4 Showcase in Atlanta, Georgia, 2-2.
The team played on a tiny and bumpy pitch, which was hard to deal with. However, they owned possession and played solid soccer against a very direct opponent. The team fell behind 1-0 after owning the first 20 minutes of possession as a goalkeeper punt was allowed to bounce creating a scramble and a breakaway. Keeper Jules McDonald got a hand on the shot, but could not quite push it around the post. The 'Caps continued their possession, with crafty combinations in the midfield and had a few shots come close, one by Lucielle Kozlov even hit the post, however, the Lakeland keeper made two great saves and was able to keep a clean sheet.
At halftime the theme was getting the play wider as the narrow field was a challenge. The direct play of the opponent was also addressed and the team felt prepared to deal with it. However, at the start of the second half, another punt was allowed to bounce and another breakaway ensued, and again, Whitecaps FC defence surrendered a goal to being the score for a 2-0 Lakeland advantage.
The team showed again that they have a never-give-up spirit, as Bianca Ribi, a guest player from Alberta, played a great ball to Sam Dion, who hit a cracker of a shot, to get the 'Caps back within reach. The girls had opportunities and continued to press. With less than three minutes remaining, Kajal Parmar received a pass from Aman Shergill. Parmar beat her mark down the left flank, cut inside, and saw that the keeper was cheating near post. She calmly hit a ball that drifted into the backpost to draw the game.
Whitecaps FC play again on Sunday at noon.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite U-18
First half squad
Jules McDonald, Aman Shergill, Kathryn Baker, Lindsay Johansen, Justine Do, Jasmine Mander, Emma Fletcher (Nikki Turney), Sam Dion, Elise Wyatt, Jasmin Dhanda, Lucielle Kozlov
Second half squad
Kayla Klim, Nikki Turney, Lindsay Johansen (Emma Fletcher), Kathryn Baker, Justine Do, Sam Dion, Aman Shergill, Jasmine Mander, Bianca Ribi, Elissa Neff, Kajal Parma