LANGLEY, BC - On a cool, beautiful Friday evening at Langley’s McLeod Athletic Park, Vancouver Whitecaps FC women fell 1-0 in their home opener against an inspired Colorado Rush in the United Soccer Leagues (USL) W-League. The result gave Colorado their first ever win against the 'Caps.
The game got off to a tentative start amidst the thunderous cheers of the 1,210 Whitecaps FC faithful. Vancouver maintained a firm grip on possession until the five-minute mark, with the first shot forcing a strong save from ‘Caps goalkeeper Gurveen Clair, who parried the high shot from the top left corner after it was delivered from Brittany Bock.
Such was the storyline right through the ten-minute mark, as Colorado gained momentum, resulting in a low shot to Clair’s bottom corner that forced a save and subsequent corner kick. This time, it was right winger Demi Stokes who made the save, as her goalline clearing header was crucial in preventing the game's first goal 11 minutes in from the set-piece. The ‘Caps were again caught on their heels in defence, as Kendall Johnson provided width up the left flank for Colorado and squared a ball for striker Danica Evans, but her point blank shot was well saved by Clair on 12 minutes.
The Rush finally pounced on 13 minutes, as Evans was given too much space in the final third and let loose a high rocket past a diving Clair to give her side the early 1-0 lead.
Colorado looked to be in inspired form for the evening, as their high-pressure play was constantly hindering the creative play of Whitecaps FC in all areas, whilst also testing the defensive focus of Vancouver.
On 34 minutes, the home side got a sniff at goal when Kaylyn Kyle took a page from Colorado’s book and ran through a gap at midfield, setting up a ball to Desiree Scott who nearly chipped the 'keeper, but Colorado successfully defended the lead.
Whitecaps FC began to illustrate the fighting spirit that was on display in their opener at Victoria Highanders FC, as the final five minutes of the first half was filled with attack and tenacity, often resulting in fouls for both sides. In the end, Colorado was up to the task and defended their first-half lead.
It was at the 10-minute mark of the second half when Colorado lived up to their name, as a rushed throw in sent Evans on a run down the left wing, with the goalscorer coolly cutting back and firing at goal, but only to see the eventual rebound fired high.
Vancouver received some much-needed momentum at the 80-minute mark, with the fans at full blast as the team carried possession towards Colorado. The visitors kept up their counter-attack, however, notching another deadly strike in the 87th minute from Briana Campos, with the rebound nearly converted by Sidney Szabo.
The ‘Caps kept their 'never-say-die' attitude right until the 90th minute, with a last ditch headed effort from Danielle Johnson perfectly connected towards goal, but Colorado’s Canadian goalkeeper Dayle Colpitts made a superb catch to deny an equalizer.
Following the match, 'Caps head coach Jesse Symons offered some encouraging words for his side following the gritty performance. “We kept building as the game wore on, and unfortunately, just couldn’t find the back of the net," he told whitecapsfc.com. "For the most part, we had a good run of play, but we’ll just have to keep building. Defensively, we were very solid in the second half and we’ll definitely look at that as a positive. The crowd support was fantastic and we really appreciate all the support we got and how much it pushed the players."
Next up for Whitecaps FC women is a Pacific Northwest tilt against rivals Seattle Sounders next Sunday, May 27, at Percy Perry Stadium in Coquitlam, BC. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. PT. For schedule and ticket information, visit whitecapsfc.com or contact Hugh Hamilton at 778-330-1360.
13' - CLR - Danica Evans
Shots: Vancouver 13 - Rush 15
Saves: Vancouver 5 - Rush 2
Fouls: Vancouver 14 - Rush 14
Corners: Vancouver 5 - Rush 3
Offsides: Vancouver 1 - Rush 2
75' - VAN - Jenna Richardson
89' - CLR - Sidney Szabo
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
30.Gurveen Clair; 23.Jenny Jeffers, 16.Mary Kate McLaughlin, 18.Nicole Setterlund, 7.Brienna Shaw (22.Brandi Vega 79'); 11.Desiree Scott (2.Taylor Patterson 81'), 6.Jaclyn Sawicki (3.Jenna Richardson 41'), 88.Kaylyn Kyle (19.Molly Rouse 76'), 4.Danielle Johnson; 29.Mele French, 8.Demi Stokes
Substitutes not used: 31.Alyssa Williamson, 20.Alison Fenter, 34.Janine Frazao
1.Dayle Colpitts; 5.Kendall Johnson, 7.Kellyn Farrell, 7.Samantha Harder, 24.Carlie Davis; 6.Kelsey Loupee (20.Briana Campos 55'), 11.Brittany Bock. 13.Jacy Drobney, 14.Olivia Wagner; 9.Melinda Ingalls (26.Sidney Szabo 65'), 22.Danica Evans
Substitutes not used: 18.Megan McCain, 12.Kerstyn Farrell, 19.Larissa Campos