It was a banner day for Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency teams in United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) action on Sunday as both the U-18 and U-16 squads defeated their Seattle Sounders FC Academy counterparts at Simon Fraser University Field #4. Both teams have now claimed the West Conference, Northwest Division title for their respective age groups.
Though they’d already won their division, the U-18 Residency squad was determined to put on a good performance. Coming off their worst match of the season – a disappointing 4-0 defeat against Crossfire Premier – the ‘Caps U-18 team responded with an emphatic 9-0 win against Seattle Sounders FC Academy U-18.
Yassin Essa got things started 18 minutes in, as Ben McKendry fed Caleb Clarke down the left flank before he found Essa, who then hit an unstoppable shot off the crossbar and in. Essa was back at it again two minutes later, volleying in a second goal off a fine cross from Wesley Cain. Three minutes after that it was 3-0, as McKendry struck home a shot from a corner kick. The fourth goal came off the foot of Clarke, as Ben Fisk found him in front of net. Clarke then found his second of the day just before halftime, stealing the ball from the defender and slotting home another goal to make it 5-0 at the break.
The second half began with Clarke finishing off his hat-trick as Fisk got another assist. Fisk then scored one of his own, receiving a cross-field ball from Alex Rowley before beating his defender down the end line and nudging a cheeky finish past the goalkeeper short-side to make it 7-0. On 64 minutes Essa finished his own hat-trick, heading in a ball that popped up in the six-yard box after Clarke had sent in a cross. Five minutes later Cain got the last one, as he beat a defender down the right and unleashed a terrific blast into the back of the net to make it 9-0.
With an insurmountable lead, the only thing left for the ‘Caps to do was keep a clean sheet. Seattle though was awarded a penalty kick on 81 minutes, but with goalkeeper Callum Irving guessing the right way, the shooter fired high and struck the crossbar, preserving the shutout.
“We asked them to respond after the last result and in the training since that game we’ve focused on just being a team again,” head coach Craig Dalrymple told whitecapsfc.com. “Today they showed themselves at their best.”
Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-18
Callum Irving; Declan Rodriguez, Jason van Blerk, Daniel Stanese, Adam Polakiewicz (Tim Hickson 67’); Alex Rowley, Ben Mckendry (Carlos Patino 71’), Wesley Cain; Ben Fisk (Spencer DeBoice 60’), Caleb Clarke, Yassin Essa
In a battle for the Northwest Division title, the U-16 ‘Caps prevailed 2-0 in a fantastic match against Seattle Sounders FC Academy U-16.
The ‘Caps got off to just the start they were looking for five minutes in when Sebastien Cabrera darted down the left flank and hit a long shot that evaded the Sounders goalkeeper and struck back netting to give Whitecaps FC an early 1-0 lead.
The remainder of the half was back-and-forth, with the importance of the match clearly visible by the intensity on the field. Seattle came close to leveling on several occasions, but goalkeeper Marco Carducci came up with a number of saves for the ‘Caps. The biggest of those saves came on 36 minutes when Seattle were awarded a penalty kick. Carducci guessed correctly and dove to his left, stopping the shot and corralling the ball to send the home side into the break with their 1-0 lead intact.
With the match heating up, Seattle went a man down on 69 minutes as one of their midfielders was shown a red card for a rough challenge. The man advantage allowed the ‘Caps to press for an insurance goal, which they got late from striker Brody Huitema after defender Sam Adekugbe found him in front of goal. As the final whistle blew, the boys in white received a loud cheer from the crowd on hand, saluting a well-deserved clean sweep of Northwest Division titles for the ‘Caps.
“I didn’t speak a word about the division title before the game,” Dalrymple told whitecapsfc.com. “It was up to them to find a way to win and they did it. To win out this division with this level of competition is a pleasing thing for them. In the first game against the Sounders in December we lost 4-0 and that was the low point for the season. Now you can see the tremendous growth, and that to me is more important than winning the division.”
Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-16
Marco Carducci; Quinton Duncan, Alex Comsia, Jackson Farmer, Sam Adekugbe; Matthew Chow (Titouan Chopin 65’), Liam Elbourne (Marco Bustos 45’), Mitch Piraux, Sebastien Cabrera (Jordan Haynes 72’); Sadi Jalali (Kalifala Konneh 60’), Brody Huitema