On a picture perfect afternoon at the University of British Columbia’s Thunderbird Stadium, Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 (2W-2L-1D) played a close knit match, suffering a 2-1 loss against Portland Timbers U-23 (4W-0L-0D).
Both sides came into the match calm and collected with a steady pace over possession. The first ten minutes saw many threatening passes made from both ground and air, with the most coming from the ‘Caps. Vancouver was given a promising set-piece on 10 minutes, which was promptly cleared by the tall defence of the Timbers. The visitors were given a mirror-image set-piece one minute later, taking better advantage of Cameron Vickers’ cross with a headed goal from Chris Harms who joined the set-piece from his defensive post.
The lead did not last long for the visitors, as the ‘Caps captain Gagandeep Dosanjh was prolific in making a tackle from half and surging through two players before having a strike into the top corner of the net in the 19th minute.
A string of chances arose for Portland at the 34-minute mark, starting with Andrew Ribeiro’s shot from outside the area following a corner kick. The ‘Caps were lucky not to concede over the next five minutes, as a handful of interceptions were made by the visitors in the home side's third. Whitecaps FC held strong and went into halftime with the score level.
Second-half proceedings got off with both sides again locked in a close battle for the advantage. Dosanjh again found his way through the towering opposition, as he joined the attack inside the eighteen and provided a pass through the box for substitute Ben Fisk, who was unable to capitalize on the strike in the 57th minute.
Defensive displays made up the bulk of the second half, as Vancouver did well to cut out the dangerous positioning of Mark Sherrod with well-timed offside traps. After a handful of modifications for both sides, Portland came out with the first difference maker in Clark Phillips, who was found up the right channel and cut back into the ‘Caps box in the 75th minute to slot away Portland’s second goal of the afternoon.
With a mountain to climb in the final minutes, Vancouver was injected with motivation. In the 89th minute, Dosanjh kept possession through the opposing line of defence and kicked a shot that ricocheted back into an open space with no one to pounce. This was then followed by a blistering strike from Fisk from 20 yards out that forced a fingertip save from Timbers U-23 goalkeeper Ricky Spencer.
Despite the last efforts of the ‘Caps, Vancouver were left disappointed at the hands of the U-23 Timbers, who left with further insurance at the top of the table.
“Portland knocked everything long today to get behind our backline and it’s hard to play against a team like that if you don’t get rhythm, possession, and tempo, which we didn’t have today,” Whitecaps U-23 head coach Craig Dalrymple told whitecapsfc.com. “When we get the ball, we must cherish it and be productive, but we were too disjointed today, compared to recent weeks.”
Next up for Whitecaps FC-U23 is the first of four road matches, starting with a trip to Seattle Sounders U-23, where they will hope to avenge a 2-1 defeat to the side that took place on May 11 at Swangard Stadium. Kickoff is set for Wednesday night at 6 p.m. PT at Curtis High School in University Place, Washington.
11’ – POR – Chris Harms (Cameron Vickers)
19’ – VAN – Gagandeep Dosanjh
75’ – POR – Clark Phillips
Shots: Vancouver 10 – Portland 8
Saves: Vancouver 2 – Portland 4
Fouls: Vancouver 11 – Portland 22
Offsides: Vancouver 3 – Portland 10
Corners: Vancouver 4 – Portland 7
52’ – POR – Eric Miller
88’ – VAN – Ben McKendry
Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23
00.Callum Irving; 9.Adam Polakiewicz, 2.James Farenhorst, 4.Shawn Parks, 12.Bobby Jhutty; 15.Gagan Josan (8.Ben McKendry 35’), 11.Reynold Stewart (21.Mike Marousek 60’), 16.Gagandeep Dosanjh; 19.Sangyoon Hwang (13.Spencer DeBoice 68’), 18.Cam Hundal, 6.Carlos Marquez (10.Ben Fisk 54’)
Substitutions not used: 1.Sean Melvin, 3.Wesley Cain, 20.Tyrin Hutchings
Portland Timbers U-23
1. Ricky Spencer; 11.Chris Harms (24.William Seymore 65’), 26.Evyn Hewitt, 16.Anthony Hobbs, 13.Marc Tonkel (6.Nicholas Hamer 64’); 10.Roberto Farfan (14.Clark Phillips 68’), 17.Eric Miller, 18.Andrew Ribeiro, 7.Cameron Vikers (5.John McFarlin 73’); 15.Steven Evans (4.Joey De Mare 88’), 12.Mark Sherrod (9.Richard Carillo 75’)
Substitutions not used: 0.Justin Baarts