On paper, there is not much to separate Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-16 (1W-0L-1D) and Charlotte Soccer Academy (1W-0L-1D).
As they proved Wednesday in Frisco, Texas, on the pitch, there is even less.
With a monumental three points on the line, Whitecaps FC played to a scoreless draw with Charlotte in what was an epic battle between two evenly matched sides.
Coming off victories in their respective United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) playoff openers yesterday, both squads entered the match looking to jump into the driver’s seat in Group 3.
But neither side was willing to give an inch.
The final result should come as no surprise considering Charlotte and Vancouver boast two of the top ranked defences in the league, having each surrendered only 22 goals in league play this season.
“Our performance was better than the day before,” Residency head coach Craig Dalrymple told whitecapsfc.com. “We managed the conditions and the heat better and we were really solid defensively as we’ve been all season. It just seemed like we were denied by a little bit of lady luck today, but I was pleased with the overall performance.”
With four points apiece and one match remaining, both teams now have a day of rest to prepare for the final day of competition Friday with a berth in the USSDA Final Eight still up for grabs.
“I think with a day off know, they’ll recharge,” Dalrymple said. “They need to understand the positives from today’s game and not drop their heads because they didn’t win it.”
Although the ‘Caps did not find the back of the net against a physical and well-organized side from Matthew, North Carolina, it was not for a lack of effort.
Striker Matthew Chow broke into the area destined to give the ‘Caps an advantage twice in the first half, but was pulled down on both occasions.
Even striker Brody Huitema, who has been scoring like a man on a mission, could not crack the stingy Charlotte back line. Coming off a two-goal performance last night against FC Greater Boston (0W-2L-0D), Huitema got his head on a number of crosses in the second half, but it was not to be as the important Group 3 showdown ended in a 0-0 draw.
Since Charlotte’s goal differential of +2 is one better than that of the ‘Caps, the Blue and White will need to earn at least a point on Friday against the top seeded South Carolina United Battery (1W-1L-0D) to have an opportunity to move on.
Depending on Charlotte’s result, a win or draw Friday could be enough for the ‘Caps, or they may need some help in the goal differential category. Either way, the ‘Caps will be looking to bring their best effort of the season.
“It’s still in our hands,” Dalrymple said. “We’re a confident group and we’re going into the last game knowing that with a positive result, we’ll go through.”
Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-16 Residency
Nolan Wirth; Quinton Duncan, Jackson Farmer, Alex Comsia, Sam Adekugbe; Liam Elbourne (Marcos Bustos 49'), Mitchell Piraux, Kalifala Konneh (Titouan Chopin 49'); Sebastian Cabrera (Jordan Haynes 55'), Matthew Chow (Parker Ellis 68'), Brody Huitema