Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency teams had an eventful day on the road in the United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA), as they faced hosts California Odyssey on Saturday afternoon.
In the day’s first match, the U-18 Residency squad (8W-3L-3D) had two men sent off in a 2-2 draw with Cal Odyssey U-17/18’s at Keith Tice Memorial Park in Fresno, California. The U-16 Residency squad (8W-4L-2D) enjoyed a fine start to their weekend after defeating ten-man Cal Odyssey U-15/16’s 3-0 in the second game of the day in the San Joaquin Valley of central California.
On Sunday, the Whitecaps FC U-16 and U-18 squads wrap up their two-match road trip versus a pair of rivals in the Northwest Division of the USSDA’s West Conference by travelling north to the Bay Area to face the academy teams from Major League Soccer (MLS) rivals San Jose Earthquakes at the Mustang Soccer Complex in Danville, California. The U-18 Residency squad first play at 11 a.m. PT, while the U-16 Residency squad take to the pitch at 1:30 p.m. PT.
“It’s been a tough trip with a long travel, but this is good for the players to experience, as they will face such experiences as professionals,” Residency technical director and head coach Richard Grootscholten told whitecapsfc.com. “So far, all the players are doing well, and we are looking forward to playing San Jose Earthquakes Academy tomorrow.”
The U-18 ‘Caps were made to battle for an away point on Saturday, as Cal Odyssey took the lead on seven minutes before Carlos Marquez levelled matters for the Canadian visitors ten minutes later. Cal Odyssey took a 2-1 lead into halftime after converting a penalty on 43 minutes following Residency goalkeeper Sean Melvin’s red card for a foul in his own box. Ten-man Vancouver earned a point when centre back Daniel Stanese knocked home Ben Fisk’s corner for 2-2 on 54 minutes. The Residency squad then lost another player to a red card after substitute striker Caleb Clarke was twice booked for allegedly diving in the Cal Odyssey box on two occasions in the second half. His first yellow card came after he chased the rebound to his penalty strike that was saved on 75 minutes.
“We’re a little bit disappointed with the result,” admitted Grootscholten. “We started very well against a strong, tough team that defended very well on a big pitch. We pressed high up the pitch and had some chances, but we weren’t able to convert them. We did well to press them with 10 men in the second half and create more chances - even with nine men - but we were unlucky not to find a winner.”
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency U-18
Sean Melvin; Declan Rodriguez, Tim Hickson, Daniel Stanese, Sam Adekugbe; Ben McKendry, Yassin Essa, Ben Fisk; Wesley Cain (Nolan Wirth 43’), Spencer DeBoice (Caleb Clarke 45’), Carlos Marquez (Carlos Patino 80’)
Subs not used: Jason van Blerk, Quinton Duncan, Adam Polakiewicz
The U-16 Residency side cruised to a fine away victory over Cal Odyssey, with Vancouver taking the lead on the half-hour mark through midfielder Mitch Piraux. The hosts were then reduced to ten men after the Cal Odyssey goalkeeper was shown a red card four minutes after the break for a late challenge on Residency striker Brody Huitema. The U-16 ‘Caps took advantage of the extra man by scoring two goals, with Huitema heading home for 2-0 on 52 minutes and substitute Marco Bustos driving home a tight-angled shot shortly after coming onto the pitch for the 3-0 result.
“We were the better team today and played very well,” said Grootscholten. “We gave nothing away in the first half, and then in the second half, we pressed them high up the pitch and caused them problems. In the end, it was a good result and a good performance from our side, so we’re delighted with that.”
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency U-16
Marco Carducci; Quinton Duncan, Alex Comsia, Jackson Farmer, Jordan Hayes; Liam Elbourne, Mitch Piraux, Titouan Chopin; Parker Ellis, Sebastian Cabrera, Brody Huitema
Subs used: Matthew Chow 41’, Marco Bustos 51’, Matthew van der Eyden 57’, Olamide Ajibike 64’, Francesco Saporito 64’, Elijah Adekugbe 66’