In the first match of a club doubleheader in Richmond, BC, Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 (6W-6L-3D) suffered a 2-1 home defeat to British Columbia rivals Victoria Highlanders FC (6W-6L-4D) on Sunday afternoon.
Two first-half goals by Ashley Burbeary gave Victoria all three points in their final match of the season at Minoru Park Oval. Though Cam Hundal replied for the Blue and White in the second half, the result ended Whitecaps FC U-23’s hopes of making the playoffs in the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (PDL).
Sunday’s result also meant that the inaugural Juan de Fuca Plate competition between the three PDL clubs from BC will be decided at Vancouver’s final league match versus Fraser Valley Mariners FC on Wednesday night.
“We were undone by two early mistakes,” Whitecaps FC U-23 head coach Craig Dalrymple told whitecapsfc.com. “Credit to the boys, they fought back and got one late on. It’s a heartbreaking result for the players because I think we again played the best soccer and out-possessed Victoria. We just didn’t get the win.”
The visitors from Vancouver Island won the game in the first quarter of an hour, with Highlanders FC taking the lead on a fine volleyed finish from Burbeary on six minutes.
The U-23 ‘Caps responded with several chances, with the best of those efforts being a powerful Michael Marousek free kick that flew just over the Victoria crossbar on 11 minutes.
It was a similarly taken free kick that extended Victoria’s lead on the quarter-hour mark, as Burbeary powered his set-piece past Whitecaps FC U-23 goalkeeper Nolan Wirth and into the roof of the Vancouver net for a 2-0 Highlanders FC lead.
Though they had further chances through Marousek, captain Gagandeep Dosanjh, and Bobby Jhutty before the break, Victoria took a two-goal lead into the halftime break. In fact, Victoria almost scored a third goal on 41 minutes when Sam Prett and Jordie Hughes threatened the Whitecaps FC goal.
The second half saw an improved display from the U-23 ‘Caps, as their passing and movement created opportunities after the restart. Dosanjh, in particular, tried his best to pull Vancouver back into the match.
The U-23 ‘Caps skipper played his part in Vancouver’s consolation goal on 66 minutes. Dosanjh’s pass to Hundal allowed the University of Victoria midfielder to run into the Highlanders FC box and finish past Victoria goalkeeper Elliott Mitrou to cut the deficit to 2-1.
It was as close as the home side would come on Sunday. In fact, Victoria nearly scored a third goal after hitting the woodwork through goalscorer Burbeary and substitute Jared Stephens in the late stages.
Whitecaps FC U-23 will wrap up their 2012 PDL campaign at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, BC, on Wednesday night, as they host Fraser Valley at 7:30 p.m. PT. Admission to Wednesday’s match is free of charge.
6' - VIC - Ashley Burbeary (Jordie Hughes)
15' - VIC - Ashley Burbeary
66' - VAN - Cam Hundal (Gagandeep Dosanjh)
Shots: Vancouver 16 - Victoria 12
Saves: Vancouver 5 - Victoria 9
Fouls: Vancouver 11 - Victoria 16
Offsides: Vancouver 1 - Victoria 5
Corners: Vancouver 6 - Victoria 3
33’ – VIC – Ashley Burbeary
Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23
1.Nolan Wirth; 9.Alex Marrello, 4.Shawn Parkes, 2.James Farenhorst, 11.Reynold Stewart; 5.Bobby Jhutty, 3.Kianz Froese (12.Declan Rodriguez 70'); 18.Cam Hundal, 16.Gagandeep Dosanjh, 17.Coulton Jackson (19.Sangyoon Hwang 67'); 21.Michael Marousek (6.Carlos Marquez 45')
Substitutes not used: 30.Raegyn Hall, 20.Tyrin Hutchings
Victoria Highlanders FC
29.Elliott Mitrou; 18.Liam Davis (12.Sasa Plavcic 64'), 2.Kalem Scott, 14.Kevan Brown, 15.Andrew Ravenhill; 20.Tommy Mallette (19.Jared Stephens 59'), 16.Souroush Amani (23.Bryan Taylor 79'), 26.Sam Prette (11.Craig Gorman 59'), 24.Gareth Langdon; 17.Jordie Hughes, 10.Ashley Burbeary
Substitutes not used: 13.Brock Reed, 5.Ryan Ashlee, 6.Josh Heard