Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 (1W-1L-1D) are playing at Simon Fraser University Field #4 on Wednesday in a showdown against local rivals Fraser Valley Mariners FC (0W-3L-1D) in United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League (PDL) action. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. PT.
This will also be the 'Caps second match in the supporters-driven "Juan de Fuca Plate" derby series between Whitecaps FC, Mariners FC, and Victoria Highlanders FC. For more information on the new cup, visit http://www.juandefucaplate.ca.
The 'Caps enter the match after a weekend off following grueling set of rivalry matches the previous weekend that saw a loss against Sounders FC U-23 and a draw on Vancouver Island versus Victoria. Whitecaps FC will hope to capitalize against a Mariners side that has so far conceded 12 goals in four matches. This includes a 6-0 defeat at the hands of Vancouver’s first victims this season: Kitsap Pumas. The ‘Caps hold an overall record of 8W-2D-1L against the Mariners in the PDL.
WHITECAPS FC U-23
Vancouver have rounded back to an even record after their first three games, albeit they've all been against strong sides and under the heavy pressure of league rivalries. Now, the side are determined to benefit from their displays of possession, defence, and high tempo attacking, much like that of the senior Whitecaps FC MLS team. Striker Carlos Marquez has shown inspired form for the side, notching 2 goals and 2 assists in his three games thus far.
The squad have also benefitted from the influence of Major League Soccer (MLS) roster players on loan as well, with defender Michael Boxall, midfielders Bryce Alderson and Russell Teibert, as well as strikers Caleb Clarke and Long Tan all seeing time in the PDL so far this season, with Boxall, Clarke, and Tan each finding the back of the net.
With a convincing head-to-head record already established, Vancouver will be confident in taking home an important three points towards 'Juan De Fuca Plate' glory.
Formerly Abbotsford Mariners, Fraser Valley have had a difficult start to their PDL campaign thus far, being outscored 12-2 through their first four matches while recording only a single point. With that said, the Mariners have improved in recent matches, drawing Washinton Crossfire 1-1 and falling to a narrow 2-1 defeat against North Sound SeaWolves. The team doesn’t need to look back too far to remember their last win against the ‘Caps, as last year's July 4 clash was won by the Mariners with the aid of a faulty clearance from a set piece. Fraser Valley will need to replicate that fighting spirit in order to jumpstart their season against a determined Vancouver side.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 return to action this coming Saturday, May 26, at 2 p.m. PT, in another 'junior' Cascadia Cup standoff at UBC's Thunderbird Stadium against Portland Timbers U-23.