Vancouver Whitecaps FC women are back in Coquitlam on Wednesday as they take on LA Strikers in United Soccer Leagues (USL) W-League action – hosted by Coquitlam Metro-Ford Soccer Club.
In their last match this past Friday, the ‘Caps battled to a 0-0 draw on the road against the high-flying Seattle Sounders FC Women. The shutout was the first of the season for the team and ended Seattle’s four-match winning streak to start the year.
“We’ve begun defensively to put together a full 90 minutes,” said Jesse Symons, Whitecaps FC women’s head coach. “We were very focused defensively and didn’t allow much. The players showed a great work rate and commitment to get a result.”
Standing out for the ‘Caps last match was goalkeeper Gurveen Clair. The Surrey, BC, native came up with several huge saves, including a massive diving stop with five minutes left to pull out a hard-earned point for her team.
Like the ‘Caps, the Strikers have had a tough start to their season in the extremely competitive W-League Western Conference, starting out with three straight losses. However, LA are coming off of their first win of the season, a convincing 3-0 victory at home against Victoria Highlanders FC.
Head coach Demian Brown brings a team more than capable of giving any squad in the league problems. One player to keep an eye on for the Strikers is English midfielder Hannah Beard. The attacking threat formerly played for fellow Western Conference nemesis Santa Clarita Blue Heat, who handed the ‘Caps their lone two regular season defeats last season. Beard was the top scorer for the Blue Heat last year, scoring four goals and recording one assist – including a goal and an assist in the Western Conference Final. Two other key players for the Strikers will be Australian internationals Amy Chapman and Caitlin Munoz, as both players have experience playing for their national team.
Last season was the first for the Strikers in the W-League. Whitecaps FC won both matches, winning 4-2 on the road on June 3, 2011, and then taking a 1-0 victory at home on June 10, 2011.
Following Wednesday’s match, the ‘Caps next play on Friday, June 22, at home to Santa Clarita Blue Heat at Newton Athletic Park in Surrey. Kickoff for that match is set for 7:30 p.m. PT.