On a bright and sunny Friday afternoon at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, BC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC reserves (1W-0L-1D in the MLS Reserve League) were held to a goalless draw by NCAA Division I side University of Washington Huskies (2W-1L-0D in spring league play).
“As far as our objectives for the day, we were able to get all the guys on that we wanted to get on,” said Whitecaps FC assistant coach Jake DeClute. “They all gave a good account of themselves effort wise, both offensively and defensively, with the biggest positive about the day being the number of chances we were able to generate. The Huskies are a hungry, up-and-coming US college team, and Jamie Clark is a tremendous coach and possibly one of the best coaches in America. So we knew that they would be solid defensively and well organized.”
DeClute opted to start a very similar line-up to last Sunday's Whitecaps FC reserve match against San Jose Earthquakes reserves, with the exception of midfielder Gershon Koffie, who started in place of Ben Fisk. The ‘Caps dominated possession in the first half, and any stretch of possession that the Huskies had was largely limited to their own half. Despite having the majority of possession, the ‘Caps struggled to keep their shots on target. Strikers Omar Salgado and Long Tan had the majority of chances, while centre back Carlyle Mitchell (pictured) had two identical opportunities on goal in the 24th and 29th minutes, where he twice headed the ball just wide of the far post off corners by midfielder Bryce Alderson.
The second half saw a number of more senior members of Whitecaps FC’s squad take to the pitch. It proved to be a much stronger half for the ‘Caps, with Sebastien Le Toux coming close to opening up the scoring with three chances on goal within three minutes, including a powerful close-range header off a cross by Atiba Harris in the 54th minute that landed right in the arms of the Huskies goalkeeper.
Continuing to play on the left wing, Salgado also had a number of chances in the second half, including a one-time volley from within the Washington box that flew just inches wide of the Huskies net on 81 minutes. Moments later, Salgado streaked past two defenders on the left flank and dribbled his way past a third Washington player in the box, but the Huskies goalkeeper came up big by stretching out fully to just tip away the young striker’s final shot.
Determined to get a headed goal, Mitchell rattled one off the Huskies crossbar from Davide Chiumiento's corner. The rebound went right to the boot of Salgado, who managed to fire a shot straight into the Washington goalkeeper's arms.
Forced to play more defensively in the second half, the Huskies had a couple of breaks on the counter-attack, but could not find a way through the ‘Caps backline, which looked solid throughout Friday's friendly.
Vancouver’s reserve side will play four more home matches during their MLS Reserve League campaign. This includes Whitecaps FC’s next reserve match on Sunday, April 22, versus Pacific Northwest rivals Portland Timbers reserves at Swangard. That is followed by three matches at Thunderbird Stadium on the campus of the University of British Columbia (UBC): Tuesday, June 12, against LA Galaxy reserves; Monday, July 23, against Chivas USA reserves; and Monday, September 10, against San Jose Earthquakes reserves. Kickoff will be 3 p.m. PT for the April 22 match at Swangard and 11 a.m. PT for the three matches at UBC Thunderbird Stadium.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC reserves
18.Brad Knighton; 32.Greg Klazura, 2.Michael Boxall, 19.Carlyle Mitchell, 31.Russell Teibert (30.Sam Adekugbe* 73’); 16.Matt Watson (27.Jun Marques Davidson 46'), 28.Gershon Koffie (7.Sébastien Le Toux 46'), 36.Bryce Alderson (20.Davide Chiumiento 46'); 9.Atiba Harris (35.Ben Fisk* 61’), 23.Long Tan (34.Caleb Clarke* 68’), 17.Omar Salgado
Substitutes not used: 24.Callum Irving*
*Whitecaps FC Residency player