There were mixed fortunes for Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency teams on Saturday as they travelled to California to take on Cal Odyssey at College of the Sequoias Turf Field.
Following the long journey down that saw both teams arrive at their hotel at 2 a.m. PT the night before, the U-18s came from behind to win 2-1 whilst the U-16s suffered their first defeat since November, losing 3-0.
Despite the testing conditions, both teams will take heart from their performances as they travel down to San Jose to take on the Earthquakes Academy teams on Sunday.
Whitecaps FC (7W-5L-1D) proved their mettle by coming back from 1-0 down to beat Cal Odyssey 2-1.
Vancouver enjoyed the early pressure but were stung on the counterattack as Cal Odyssey scored with a strike from an impressive angle on 28 minutes.
There was an enforced change on 38 minutes as Quinton Duncan came off with an ankle injury, but Whitecaps FC were unable to find an equaliser in the first half.
After the break, Cal Odyssey looked to hold on to their lead and were under constant pressure from Vancouver. In the 72nd minute they had a man sent off for a second bookable offence and Vancouver soon capitalised on their numerical advantage.
On 75 minutes, Yassin Essa collected the ball outside the area and took a long range shot which the goalkeeper spilled into the back of the net.
The win was completed on 83 minutes as Brody Huitema was taken down inside the area with Essa stepping up to bury the resulting penalty.
Head of high performance Stuart Neely was impressed with the team's ability to cope with the circumstances against a physical side. "Even through the tired legs and the wearyness they kept their cool against a very physical team and a very stacked team who really clogged up the midfield," said Neely.
"It was a good ugly performance by the boys. They kept trying to play and did the simple things well late on in the game that allowed us to get a tying goal and then the second to seal a good comeback."
Whitecaps FC U-18 lineup:
Sean Melvin, Quinton Duncan (38 Matthew van der Eyden), Jackson Farmer, Nicholas Prasad (78 Alexander Comsia), Sam Adekugbe, Mitch Piraux (80 Liam Elbourne), Marco Bustos (45 Spencer Deboice), Kianz Froese (80 Sebastian Cabrera), Titouan Chopin (45 Brody Huitema), Yassin Essa, Carlos Marquez.
The U-16s (6W-5L-2D) endured a frustrating afternoon in front of goal as they came up against a solid Cal Odyssey team.
Two early goals in the 10th and 20th minutes gave Whitecaps FC a mountain to climb. Matthew Chow almost reduced the deficit before halftime but saw his shot hit the crossbar.
Cal Odyssey were defending well and never allowed Vancouver a clear sight of goal. Despite conceding a third goal on 50 minutes, Whitecaps FC carried on trying to make a breakthrough and Chow was unfortunate to hit the crossbar twice more before the final whistle.
Coach Craig Dalrymple was pleased with the spirit of Vancouver's performance. "We didn't get much luck at one end and unfortunately a couple of mistakes at the other end was the difference in terms of the scoreline," said Dalrymple.
"We don't focus on mistakes, we focus on them trying to do the right thing, which they were. We could have continued playing for another 80 minutes and we would've hit the woodwork another three or four times. There's a lot of positives from today. It was a great learning experience for the boys, especially the young lads that travel with us."
Whitecaps FC U-16 lineup:
William Diaz (45 Matteo Carducci), Eric De Graaf (45 Matteo Bordignon), Matthew Baldisimo (70 Evan Libke), Vagelli Boucas, Jordan Haynes, Tommy Gardner, Francesco Saporito, Joshua Cuthbert (45 David Norman), Matthew Chow, Aymar Sigue (45 Terran Campbell), Dario Zanatta