In their third consecutive road match, Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 (2W-4L-2D) lost 3-1 to an inspired North Sound SeaWolves FC (2W-3L-0D) squad on Wednesday evening. The SeaWolves took their first home win in their United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League (PDL) campaign, ultimately keeping Whitecaps FC in sixth place in the Western Conference, Northwest Division standings.
With patient play, the two sides kept each other at bay for a large portion of the first-half proceedings. It took 17 minutes for a clear-cut chance, where Vancouver’s Caleb Clarke had back-to-back efforts on experienced North Sound goalkeeper Claudio Lazar well saved.
The SeaWolves’ patience eventually gave way to a breakaway pass to Abduwali Aman in the 37th minute. However, the striker put too much on his chipped ball and saw it sail over the Vancouver crossbar. Two minutes later, the SeaWolves broke the deadlock through Quinton Beasley courtesy of a cross from Aman.
Down a goal at halftime, the U-23 'Caps came back in the second half with a fresh dose of creativity that has been showcased throughout the season. Despite a wealth of opportunities, Lazar was well up to the task of defending the slender lead of the SeaWolves, making one goalline save after the other and parrying away the many pin-point crosses of Yassin Essa from the flank.
Callum Irving did well against repeated tests by Aman in the second half, but was unable to hold off a well-placed high drive to the top corner of the Vancouver net in the 71st minute when caught out of position. A hard-earned boost arrived for Whitecaps FC in the 76th minute after Bobby Jhutty’s searching pass found returning striker Coulton Jackson, who found the back of the net one-on-one against Lazar.
Amidst an on-field injury for Vancouver, the ‘Caps found themselves unexpectedly having to defend a rush from North Sound, and were subsequently handed a nail in the coffin when Brady Ballew combined with Aman for the SeaWolves' third goal in the 80th minute.
Unable to muster any more goals, the U-23 ‘Caps were forced into their fourth loss of their PDL campaign.
“It was a game of missed chances and defensive mistakes,” Whitecaps FC U-23 head coach Craig Dalrymple told whitecapsfc.com. “We dominated possession, even though they had pressed us high. We’re performing well, but unfortunately, we’re not doing enough of the right things to get results. Their goalkeeper and our errors prevented some momentum that could’ve got us points in the match today.”
Whitecaps FC U-23 complete their four-game road trip on Saturday night, as they meet Victoria Highlanders FC for the second time at Victoria’s Royal Athletic Park. A result on Vancouver Island would prove invaluable to the PDL side's Juan De Fuca Plate chances, with Victoria currently level with the U-23 ‘Caps on six points. Kickoff time is set for 7 p.m. PT.
39’ - NSS - Quinton Beasley (Abduwali Aman)
71’ - NSS - Abduwali Aman
76’ - VAN - Coulton Jackson (Bobby Jhutty)
80’ - NSS – Brady Ballew (Abduwali Aman)
Shots: North Sound 19 – Vancouver 10
Saves: North Sound 3 – Vancouver 4
Fouls: North Sound 7 – Vancouver 6
Offsides: North Sound 3 – Vancouver 2
Corners: North Sound 3 – Vancouver 3
North Sound SeaWolves FC
1.Claudio Lazar; 18.Ryan Blair (2.Christian Strangis 70’), 14.Kevin Cook, 15.Buba Findi Jammeh, 20.Devin Thomas (24.Benjamin Elliott 75’); 11.Brady Ballew, 9.Quinton Beasley (5.Derik Chaney 65’), 8.Mark Conrad (5.Renato Bandeira 45’), 21.Marshall Kosaka, 8.Junpei Tsuji (10.Nasyir Rodriguez 45’); 17.Abduwali Aman (16.Josh Hamilton 87’)
Substitutes not used: 0.Evan Gaul
Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23
1.Callum Irving, 5.Bobby Jhutty, 2.James Farenhorst, 8.Ben McKendry (17.Coulton Jackson 65’), 9.Adam Polakiewicz; 11.Reynold Stewart (18.Cam Hundal 70’), 22.Bryce Alderson, 16.Gagandeep Dosanjh (19.Sangyoon Hwang 80’); 10.Ben Fisk, 7.Yassin Essa, 23.Caleb Clarke
Substitutes not used: 30.Lucas Menz, 15.Gagan Josan, 20.Tyrin Hutchings, 21.Michael Marousek