COQUITLAM, BC - On a cloudy Wednesday night in Coquitlam, BC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC women achieved their first win of their United Soccer Leagues (USL) W-League season with a 3-1 home result over LA Strikers. Mele French scored two goals with a third from Marissa Mykines, while Jenna Richardson added two assists. The match was hosted by Coquitlam Metro-Ford Soccer Club.
With a rambunctious crowd in support at Percy Perry stadium, the ‘Caps started the match with far more composure than the opposing side. The opening minutes saw great chances go astray, with French set up for a breakaway from Jenny Jeffers’ pass in the fourth minute, but her shot went wide. Richardson was the next to threaten with a shot from the top of the18-yard box in the 12th minute, but LA goalkeeper Alyssa Congdon was up to the challenge.
Despite some convincing play early on, Vancouver soon found themselves paying for a turnover, as Mary Ronau was gifted possession and fired a shot high off the crossbar and in, giving the visitors the early advantage.
After going down a goal, the ‘Caps did more than recover from the deficit, with rapid goals from French and Mykines in the 19th and 20th minute putting Whitecaps FC up 2-1. The home support was sent into rapture and LA looked a deflated side.
The 'Caps continued to pile on pressure and keep the defence on their heels as the half went on. Just before the halftime break, Whitecaps FC put on a great display of passing from Mykines to Richardson, who then outran the onrushing goalkeeper to cross to the head of French for a headed goal and her second of the evening, making the score 3-1 for the 'Caps at the half.
Vancouver were a fortress in defence for the second half, limiting the Strikers to just four shots. Substitute Jacklyn Sawicki made her presence known in midfield, with multiple forays into the attacking end and effective through balls to her teammates up front.
The Strikers made a goalkeeping switch in the 74th minute when Nicoline Jorgeunsen replaced Congdon. The new 'keeper was quick to work with shots from ‘Caps substitute Brandi Vega kept out to keep her side in the game.
In the end, Vancouver finished on the positive end of the result - thanks to a convincing all-around performance.
“The players showed great character and weren’t going to let this one get away tonight,” Whitecaps FC women’s head coach Jesse Symons told whitecapsfc.com. “We’ve had some very good performances this year so far, but haven’t managed the games well enough at times, so we’ll definitely look at this as a positive for the next game."
With the victory, Whitecaps FC jump up to sixth spot in the W-League Western Division standings with five points. The 'Caps will look to climb further up the standings next Friday night, June 22, when they host fifth-place Santa Clarita Blue Heat at Newton Athletic Park in Surrey, BC. Kickoff for next Friday's match is set for 7:30 p.m. PT. For schedule and ticket information, visit whitecapsfc.com or contact Hugh Hamilton at 778-330-1360.
15’– LA – Mary Ronau
19’ – VAN – Mele French
20’ – VAN – Marissa Mykines (Jenna Richardson)
42’ – VAN – Mele French (Jenna Richardson)
Shots: Vancouver 26 – Los Angeles 9
Saves: Vancouver 2 – Los Angeles 10
Fouls: Vancouver 11 – Los Angeles 9
Corners: Vancouver 4 – Los Angeles 3
Offsides: Vancouver 2 – Los Angeles 0
26’ – LA – Vanessa Valentine
57’ LA – Sarah Halpenny
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
30.Gurveen Clair; 4.Danielle Johnson, 33.Shannon Woeller, 25.Jenna Carosio, 8.Demi Stokes; 23.Jennifer Jeffers (18.Nicole Setterlund 70’), 21.Paige Adams (6.Jaclyn Sawicki 45’), 19.Molly Rouse (28.Brittany Galindo 90’), 24.Marissa Mykines (22.Brandi Vega 68’); 3.Jenna Richardson, 29.Mele French (20.Ali Fenter 83’)
Substitutes not used: 31.Alyssa Williamson, 2.Taylor Patterson
Los Angeles Strikers
1.Alyssa Congdon (0.Nicoline Jorguensen 74’); 9.Vanessa Valentine, 6.Rachel Fleming, 3.Kristin Krohn, 21.Dominique Richardson; 5.Chelsea Cline (25.Christina Murillo 63’), 2.Caitlin Munoz (23.Kelsey Gudgeon 87’), 10.Kassi Massey; 13.Barbara Roberts (14.Zakiya Bywaters 45’), 12.Hannah Beard, 7.Mary Ronau (20.Sarah Halpenny 45’)
Substitutes not used: 8.Caroline Stanley