Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency teams are back in action on Saturday for matches against rivals Seattle Sounders at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Washington.
The U-16s (1W-2L-1D) are coming off a morale-boosting 4-1 victory over Crossfire Premier – their first win of the season – while the U-18 (1W-2L-1D) side will be spurred on to grab three points after conceding a last-minute equalizing goal against the Redmond, WA-based outfit the same day.
The 18s – under the guidance of Steve Meadley - kick off proceedings at 12 p.m. PT, before the 16s, with Craig Dalrymple at the helm, take the field at 2.30 p.m. PT.
Whitecaps FC were unlucky not to come away with the three points in their last outing, with Meadley describing that last-gasp equalizer as a “bit of a kick in the teeth for the players”.
But he has been impressed with the way the team has rebounded from that result on the training track.
“They reacted really well this week with a good week of training and they’re looking forward to tomorrow,” Meadley said. “We’re playing another MLS club so that adds to the occasion as well.”
It has been an indifferent start to the season for the 18s but Meadley is urging the players to keep plugging away because better results are on the horizon.
“The boys are ready, I think they’re feeling like they’ve had a fairly disappointing start to the season results-wise,” he said. “Although the performances have been good, they haven’t been getting the results that they feel we deserve.
“But it’s just a matter of just digging a little bit deeper to get that desired result.”
Looking ahead to the match with Seattle (1W-1L-4D), Meadley is anticipating a bruising battle.
“We expect a well-organized team,” he said. “They’ll be physical, they’ll be strong and they’ll give us a good match that’s for sure.
“We’ve had good battles in the past and I’m sure tomorrow will be the same.”
The 16s broke through for their first win of the season in emphatic fashion against Crossfire Premier on October 20, a result that will no doubt give them plenty of confidence against a Sounders side that is 3W-1L-2D in 2012.
Dalrymple said the players have been in good spirits after that performance, but reiterated the focus was on individual performance and development rather than team success at this stage of the season.
“The mood has been good,” he said. ”Obviously they are all competitive and all the boys want to have success, so that (4-1 win) buoyed them on a little bit and they’re hungry to go out there and compete again tomorrow.
“Generally we’re seeing a nice trend in training, we’re seeing more of an understanding of the expectations from the players and what we expect from them. I think they’re adapting well to the life of an aspiring fulltime professional.”
Dalrymple is looking forward to seeing how his younger players – especially those born in 1997 and 1998 – match up against mature opposition tomorrow.
“Seattle have a good character about them,” he said. “They’re very fast paced, reasonably direct with their play, they’ll throw a lot of bodies forward and try and pick up second phase balls and generally be a menace to our back four.
“We’re somewhat the opposite of that, we like to play a more composed style of possession and build up through each third of the field so it will definitely be a contrast in styles tomorrow.”