In their final set of 2011 matches in the United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA), Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency teams earned a split of results with Pacific Northwest rivals Seattle Sounders FC Academy in Tukwila, Washington, on Saturday afternoon.
In what was a pre-Holiday festival of USSDA action between these two Cascadia rivals, the Whitecaps FC Residency U-16 and U-18 squads looked to earn Interstate 5 bragging rights, as players and their parents joined club staff and a small band of travelling Vancouver support on a very pleasant winter’s afternoon in Washington State. Not to be outdone, nearly 100 Seattle fans also took in Saturday’s matches at Starfire Sports Stadium.
It was a very good day for the U-18 Residency squad (8W-1L-2D) following their 3-1 victory over Sounders FC Academy U-17/18’s (6W-4L-3D) in the noon-hour kickoff. Unfortunately, the U-16 Residency side (6W-3L-2D) suffered a 4-0 defeat to an impressive Sounders FC Academy U-15/16 side (9W-2L-2D) in their mid-afternoon clash.
In fact, Saturday saw the entire Residency program in action at the Starfire Sports Complex, as Bart Choufour’s U-14 Residency group also played their Sounders FC Academy counterparts in two late-morning games. The senior U-14 side suffered a 5-0 defeat to their foes from The Emerald City, while the junior U-14 squad were held to a 2-2 draw by their Seattle opponents. “While our older group struggled to cope with their match, our younger group were involved in a pretty good game. They scored a couple of good goals and showed good movement,” Choufour told whitecapsfc.com. “Overall, it was good a way to wrap up the calendar year, and these exchanges with Seattle will happen more and more.”
The U-18 Residency squad made a bright start to their derby clash by taking the lead through a fine Alex Rowley strike on four minutes. Vancouver’s lead lasted until the midway point of the second half when Seattle levelled on 65 minutes. Yet, the equalizer only seemed to galvanize the young ‘Caps, as Carlos Marquez converted a Ben Fisk through ball for the match winner on 83 minutes before substitute Yassin Essa sealed the win following a dangerous Residency counter-attack.
“We played a successful game today, in my opinion, as we had some key players missing,” said Residency technical director and head coach Richard Grootscholten. “After taking an early lead, we created five to six clear chances to score the second goal in the first half. When they got back to level terms, we made some changes and scored two fantastic goals at the end, which was very good to see. It was a great way to end the first part of the season.”
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency U-18
Callum Irving; Declan Rodriguez, Tim Hickson, Daniel Stanese, Adam Polakiewicz; Alex Rowley, Ben Fisk, Wesley Cain (Quinton Duncan 81’); Carlos Marquez, Spencer DeBoice, Caleb Clarke (Yassin Essa 62’)
Subs not used: Nolan Wirth, Sam Adekugbe, Sebastian Cabrera
Where the U-18’s enjoyed their day, the U-16 Residency squad endured a difficult time in their USSDA clash, as Seattle took the lead on 27 minutes before using their size and strength to score again on 50 and 55 minutes. Whitecaps FC then conceded an unfortunate own-goal on 69 minutes, as Sounders FC Academy U-15/16’s underlined their quality as a side at this level.
“Seattle played an older team and were physically stronger than us today, so I don’t have too many complaints,” Grootscholten said. “We were playing with a younger squad, so we had a tough time dealing with Seattle’s size on set-pieces. Our players have to learn that you can’t always play the way you want to play, as Seattle showed they are a top team at this age group.”
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency U-16
Marco Carducci; Matthew van der Eyden, Alex Comsia, Jackson Farmer, Sam Adekugbe; Mitch Piraux (Elijah Adekugbe 74’), Francesco Saporito (Marco Bustos 40’), Carlos Patino (Olamide Ajibike 56’); Ali Musse, Titouan Chopin, Sebastian Cabrera (Brian Im 65’)
Subs not used: Nolan Wirth, Matteo Bordignon, Evan Libke