VANCOUVER, BC – Whitecaps FC Residency teams continue with their second of back-to-back matches against Cascadia rivals when they take on Portland Timbers Academy in the United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) this Saturday at the Timbers Training Facility in Portland, Oregon.
Sitting on top of the West Conference, Northwest Division, Whitecaps FC U-18s hold a 13W-6L-2D record going into the weekend’s match against Portland, who find themselves in fifth place with an 8W-9L-3D record. Kickoff is at 1:00p.m. PT as Whitecaps FC look to avenge a 6-3 home defeat just before Christmas.
Following the conclusion of the U-18s match, the U-16s will be hoping to improve on their current sixth place in the West Conference, Northwest Division as they hold a 6W-12L-3D record. They kickoff at 3:30p.m. PT against fourth placed Portland Timbers who boast an 8W-6L-6D record.
Both Residency teams will be without key players as five members of the program will be representing Canada at the 2013 CONCACAF U-17 Championship which starts this coming Saturday.
The U-18s will want to extend their current four match winning streak to maintain first place in the league. In last weekend’s match the ‘Caps beat previous league leaders Seattle Sounders FC with a close 1-0 win against their Cascadia rivals.
Coach Gordon Forrest is looking forward to coming up against another MLS side and seeing how some of the younger players handle the step up.
“The guys are in a decent space and have been doing quite well over recent weeks which is down to their hard work, which is great. This is another game against MLS opposition and there’s the rivalry so it’s another good test for their mental preparation as well,” Forrest said to whitecapsfc.com.
“We’re right down to the bare squad but we’re bringing in younger ones from the U-16s. It’s something we deal with and it’s a great opportunity for these guys to come up and experience the U-18 environment in preparation for going forward. From our point of view it’s about developing these players so these opportunities are always seen as a good test and a challenge, and an opportunity for them to experience the higher age group.”
With a 3-1 loss against cross-border rivals Sounders FC last time out, the U-16s will be looking to bounce back against fellow Cascadia team Portland Timbers, who they beat 2-0 earlier on in the season.
Coach Craig Dalrymple will be looking for his team to show how far they’ve come since the last time they played the Timbers.
“It’s definitely a good test”, commented Dalrymple to whitecapsfc.com. “Again, as we said against Seattle, it’s the second time we’ve seen Portland and going in to Portland it’s a good opportunity for the lads to demonstrate how they’ve progressed through the season.”
Dalrymple also pointed out that, with the U-18s calling up several of his squad, he will be giving a chance to some of the younger Pre-Residency players.
“With some of the call-ups to the national team it does leave the U-18s team short on numbers so they will be drawing players out of the U-16s, which is a good opportunity for them, so we’ll call up nine U-15 players. We’re bleeding in the younger players and we’ll see how they deal with the competition on Saturday.”
“One of them is Rahid Rahiem; he had a ruptured Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) at the end of last season, so he’s fully recovered now and we’re pleased to welcome him back. He’s now having his first opportunity to come in to the U-16s so we’re pleased for him.”