Looking to start 2012 on a good note, Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency teams head to Southern California this weekend for a pair of United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) matches versus the academy sides of Major League Soccer rivals Chivas USA and LA Galaxy.
In their lone set of league matches this month, the Whitecaps FC Residency U-16 and U-18 squads start a busy weekend of USSDA West Conference action by facing their counterparts from Chivas USA Academy at Pasadena High School on Saturday. The following day, both Residency squads pay a visit to The Home Depot Center complex in Carson, California, for a pair of USSDA games versus LA Galaxy Academy. The U-18 Residency squad (8W-1L-2D) will play first on both Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. PT, while the U-16 Residency squad (6W-3L-2D) play their two weekend matches at 12:30 p.m. PT.
“This will be a challenging weekend, as our teams are playing two matches back-to-back,” Residency technical director Richard Grootscholten told whitecapsfc.com. “With the travel that’s also involved, it will be interesting to see how our players respond to these situations. It will also be interesting to see how the players will perform after coming back from the holiday break. We don’t get too many opportunities to compete against other MLS clubs, so this weekend gives us a chance to compare our level of play against MLS academy opposition.”
Coming off a 3-1 victory over Pacific Northwest rivals Seattle Sounders FC Academy, the U-18 Residency squad look to build on an impressive 2011 portion of the season versus the U-17/18 squads of Chivas USA and LA Galaxy. Both matches look to be tough tests for the U-18 ‘Caps, as their weekend opponents occupy the top two spots in the SoCal Division of the USSDA’s West Conference. The U-18 ‘caps will be without three players through injury this weekend - defender Jason van Blerk, midfielder/forward Declan Rodriguez, and striker Carlos Marquez.
The U-16 Residency squad will be looking to put last month’s disappointing four-goal defeat to Sounders FC Academy U-15/16’s behind them and start the New Year in positive fashion. Sitting third and fourth respectively in the SoCal Division of the USSDA’s West Conference, the U-15/16 sides of Chivas USA and LA Galaxy are sure to provide a stiff test for some of the Residency program’s younger players. The U-16 ‘Caps will be boosted by their three new additions in British Columbia natives Matthew Chow and Parker Ellis, as well as Nova Scotia youngster Liam Elbourne. Four members of the U-14 Residency squad have also travelled to Southern California. They are Olamide Ajibike, Brian Im, Evan Libke, and Dario Zanatta. U-16 midfielder Kalifala Konneh is sidelined with injury.