With only six games left to play in the United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) regular season for both Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-16 and U-18 Residency teams, the push for playoff spots is in full gear.
“It’s an important weekend for us in the standings”, said Richard Grootscholten, Whitecaps FC Residency technical director and head coach. “Hopefully we can separate ourselves this weekend.”
Late week, both Residency squads earned positive results over the Fresno, California-based Cal Odyssey, with Whitecaps FC U-18’s defeating their West Conference rivals 5-0, while the ‘Caps U-16 squad captured a 3-0 victory.
On Saturday, the Residency squads square off against USSDA West Conference, Northwest Division rivals De Anza Force. While on Sunday, the ‘Caps residency squads will face off against another division foe in the Santa Cruz Breakers. These matches will have huge playoff implications for both residency squads.
Saturday sees the U-18 Residency squad (13W-4L-3D) play first at 12 p.m. PT versus De Anza Force’s U-17/18 squad, followed by the U-16 Residency squad (20W-11L-5D) taking on De Anza Force’s U-15/16 side at 2:30 p.m. PT. On Sunday, the U-18 Residency squad will play at 11 a.m. PT versus Santa Cruz Breaker’s U-17/18 squad, followed by the U-16 Residency squad taking to the pitch for a 1:30 p.m. PT match against the Santa Cruz side.
After this weekend’s matchups, the ‘Caps Residency teams will then earn some well deserved rest, as their next matches won’t be played until May 19, at home to California Development Academy at Surrey’s Newton Athletic Park.
The U-18 ‘Caps head into this weekend’s matchups coming off of a 5-0 victory over Cal Odyssey last Thursday up at Simon Fraser University. The squad was led by Caleb Clarke and Yassin Essa, who each scored two goals as goalkeeper Sean Melvin posted the clean sheet. They’ll be hoping to play equally well this weekend in sunny California.
“Saturday will be an even game between two great teams,” said Grootscholten of De Anza Force. “They play a similar style as we do, so we will be expecting their best.
“Then on Sunday – with back-to-back games – we just have to get the players to focus and try to get them to compete again at a high level with little rest time.”
The U-18 Residency squad currently sit third in the West Conference, Northwest Division standings.
The U-16 squad is coming off of a convincing 3-0 victory over division rival Cal Odyssey. Matthew Chow played an integral role in the win, as his two wonderful assists coupled with a clean sheet from goalkeeper Marco Carducci leading the ‘Caps to victory over their California rivals. The Blue and White will be looking for that strong play to continue, especially if they are to capture a playoff spot. The ‘Caps will have to do so without the services of Carducci, defenders Alex Comsia and Jordan Haynes, and midfielder Marco Bustos, who are all away with Canada’s U-17 national team.
“We haven’t achieved anything yet,” stated Grootscholten “There’s never an easy game in the league, especially within our division. We will be missing four key players to national duty, but it gives other players a chance to step up and show that they can play.”