In their first of two matches in Coquitlam this season, Vancouver Whitecaps FC women will look for their first W-League win of the season as they take on cross-border rivals Seattle Sounders Women at Town Centre Park this coming Sunday, May 27. Following this match, the ‘Caps will return to Coquitlam on Wednesday, June 13 to take on LA Strikers.
The ‘Caps enter the match with momentum on their side following a hard fought 1-1 draw with the Canadian women’s national team on Thursday, with a goal from striker Mele French. “We showed that we have the ability to compete with anyone,” said Jesse Symons, Whitecaps FC women’s head coach.
Now back in W-League play, Whitecaps FC will be looking to rebound from a surprising 0W-2L-0D start to their season. The ‘Caps were in Langley last weekend for their home opener against Colorado Rush, and despite a terrific performance from goalkeeper Gurveen Clair, they were unable to find the back of the net and ultimately fell 1-0.
Aside from the seven players who are away with the Canadian women’s national team in Moncton, New Brunswick, to take on China on Wednesday, Symons will be able to choose from a nearly full complement of players for the first time this season. Players such as Marissa Mykines, Jenna Carosio and Jenna Richardson will look to make a huge impact for the Blue and White now that they’ve fully integrated with the group.
“We need to get three points,” said Rich Fagan, Whitecaps FC women’s assistant coach. “We need to carry forward the good things we’ve done so far and continue to stick to our game plan. If we can do that we’ll be fine.”
Playing their first match of the season, the Sounders will be hoping to start their season strong. Head coach Michelle French brings a wealth of soccer experience to Seattle after winning a silver medal with the United States at the 2000 Olympic Summer Games in Sydney, Australia.
French has assembled an experienced team with a few key players to keep an eye on. The squad is littered with United States national team stars such as goalkeeper Hope Solo and strikers Alex Morgan and former Whitecaps FC player Sydney Leroux. The Sounders won’t be able to count on these players on Sunday, however, as they’re missing the match due to an international match with against China in Philadelphia.
That said, the Sounders are still a talented group. Striker Veronica Perez uses her speed to attack defenders and create offense. The American-born striker has dual citizenship and has earned four caps for the Mexico women’s national. As a product of the University of Washington, the former Husky will be happy to return to the Evergreen State. Striker Sophie Reiser, meanwhile, led the Sounders Women in goals in 2011. She did this without even playing the entire season. Reiser tore her ACL late in the season and was forced to miss the W-League Final Four – where the Sounders lost 2-1 in third place match to Whitecaps FC. Before joining the Sounders in 2011, Reiser played professionally for the WPS Chicago Red Stars. Reiser was drafted in 2010 after being named the Ivy League Player of the Year while competing for Columbia University. She also brings experience with the United States U-23 national team.
The ‘Caps will have to keep an eye on Perez and Reiser, as they’re both dangerous and could prove to be a tough test for the back four.
This will be the 39th meeting between Vancouver and Seattle, who are each celebrating their 12th season of competition. The 'Caps lead the all-time series 24W-6L-8D, and are 13W-3L-4D at home. The teams played three times last season, with the 'Caps winning their home opener against the Sounders 1-0 in Coquitlam, followed by a 1-1 draw at Starfire Sports Complex, and ending with a 2-1 Whitecaps win back at Starfire in the W-League Third Place match.
For ticket information, visit whitecapsfc.com or contact Hugh Hamilton at 778-330-1360.