SATURDAY MARCH 2 - Whitecaps FC vs. Real So Cal (by Darcy Green)
For most of the first half, Whitecaps FC U-18 controlled the play before the second half brought two goals, one for each team.
On 53 minutes, the first goal of the match came from Whitecaps FC U-18 striker Brody Huitema.
Following the goal, there were chances for both squads, as the 'Caps looked well on their way to victory. This was successful until the 88th minute, when Real So Cal was able to net a late goal to equalize the match, which finished with a final score of 1-1.
Overall, head coach Gordon Forrest was very pleased by his team’s play.
“We controlled the play for most of the match but unfortunately, we conceded a goal in the end,” said Forrest. “Overall, the performance was good from our squad. Every match we can take something out of, and we can take a lot out of this one.”
Whitecaps FC U-18:
Sean Melvin, Matthew van der Eyden, Alex Comsia, Nicholas Prasad; Liam Elbourne, Marco Bustas (Mitch Piraux 75’), Kianz Froese (Sebastian Cabrera 46’); Titouan Chopin (Yassin Essa 52’), Spencer DeBoice (Jordan Haynes 68’), Brody Huitema
For most of the first half, Real So Cal U-16 dominated physically, with some players towering over a young Blue and White squad which had many players born in 1998.
The first goal of the match came at 15 minutes, when Real So Cal converted a diagonal ball that split the 'Caps defence.
The home side then converted another goal on 41 minutes when they broke down the left flank, cut the ball back inside the box and knocked it passed ‘Caps goalkeeper Marco Carducci.
However, this sparked a feisty reaction from the Blue and White as they controlled the final 38 minutes of the match. The ‘Caps switched their formation from a 4-4-2 to a 4-2-3-1 and began to put pressure on their California opponents.
Five minutes into the second half Whitecaps FC were able to reduce Real So Cal’s lead to 2-1 when Jeevin Kang forced a turnover, which Aymar Sigue collected and finished for the first and only goal of the match for the ‘Caps.
Unfortunately, the strong second half play of the U-16s was not enough to equalize and the young U-16 squad fell to a 2-1 defeat.
Despite the loss, head of high performance Stuart Neely felt his team had a very strong second half.
“Overall, it was a 2-1 loss, but in the second half particularly, we played excellently,” said Neely. “In the first half, we were overwhelmed by the size of the opponent’s players, but because of our play in the second half, we could have easily walked away with a draw.”
Whitecaps FC U-16:
Marco Carducci; Eric de Graff (John Kasper 55’), Riley Pang, Vagelli Boucas, Matthew Baldisimo (Matteo Bordignon 73’); Jeevan Kang, David Norman (Cole Morokhovich 71’), Thomas Gardiner (Erik Morden 73’), Dario Zanantta (Francesco Saporito 41’); Aymar Sigue (Terran Campbell 55’), Daniel Sagno
SUNDAY MARCH 3 - Whitecaps FC vs. Arsenal FC (by Sandy Beeson)
Whitecaps FC (9W-3L-5D) produced a solid all-round performance to comfortably beat their Arsenal FC counterparts 3-0 to come away from the weekend with a pair of wins.
Early pressure saw Whitecaps FC awarded a penalty after 13 minutes but the spot-kick was missed and the game would remain goalless until right on halftime. A ball into the box found Spencer Deboice in space on 45 minutes and the Whitecaps FC striker buried the opportunity.
Bustos then grabbed another assist in the 82nd minute has he put the ball behind the Arsenal FC defence for Brody Huitema to score his second goal of the weekend and seal a 3-0 victory.
U-18s coach Gordon Forrest was happy with both of the weekend’s performances
“They’ve done well today, there are some things to tidy up that we’ll look to improve on next time but they worked hard, got three goals and created a few more chances,” said Forrest.
“It was probably a better performance on the Saturday than today but certainly the performance today was a real good hard-working performance. The results are not the main focus, we learn from the games and take things forward but overall it was a good weekend.”
Whitecaps FC U-18 lineup:
Sean Melvin (Marco Carducci 85); Matthew van der Eyden, Alexander Comsia, Nicholas Prasad, Sam Adekugbe (Jordan Haynes 85’); Mitch Piraux, Marco Bustos, Sebastian Cabrera (Liam Elbourne 60’); Yassin Essa (Titouan Chopin 71’), Brody Huitema, Spencer Deboice (Matthew Chow 57’).
A young Whitecaps FC side (6W-10L-2D) fell to a 3-0 defeat against direct opposition in to come away from the weekend trip to California with two losses.
Whitecaps FC enjoyed some early dominance and had a number of opportunities to open the scoring. Dario Zanatta drove into the box and played the ball across which led to a goalmouth scramble in which both Francesco Saporito and David Norman were denied.
Despite Whitecaps FC enjoying spells of possession, their opponents looked to counter-attack quickly with long balls behind the defence. In the 26th minute they opened the scoring when they caught the Whitecaps FC defence out with a direct pass, with their midfielder latching onto the ball to score.
Five minutes later, Whitecaps FC conceded a similar goal as they went into the break 2-0 down.
A number of changes were made at half-time and with no change in the scoreline Whitecaps FC changed to a 3-4-3 formation to try and push for goals. However, they were undone by another long ball in the 80th minute to confirm the 3-0 defeat.
Whitecaps FC head of player management and advancement Stuart Neely saw plenty of positives from the weekend’s action for the young side.
“The boys played against a team that played fairly direct, they put balls over the top so we had to contend with that. Early on I don’t think we dealt with it well but when we did win it we played some good football, we connected passes and we got ourselves forward into good areas,” Neely commented.
“It was a special weekend for those boys because we had ten players born in 1998 travel with us and they all got playing time. It’s a great experience for these boys because they could feasibly play for this team for another two years at this age bracket. We’re pretty excited by that and what the future holds.”
“Yes, they were two losses but for our coaching staff and the players I think the victory was in them playing football and the knowledge that they can play against the bigger stronger opposition and still have elements of success. We want to prepare our players for the U-18s and we want to prepare the U-18s for our first team so I think we had a successful weekend for what we want to accomplish long-term.”
Whitecaps FC U-16 lineup:
William Diaz (Aidan Aylward 40’), Riley Pang, John Kasper, Vagelli Boucas (Eric De Graaf 40’), Matteo Bordignon (Matthew Baldisimo 40’), Francesco Saporito, Jeevin Kang (Erik Morden 51’), David Norman (Cole Morokhovich 51’), Thomas Gardner, Terran Campbell (Aymar Sigue 40’), Dario Zanatta (Daniel Stagno 40’).