VANCOUVER, BC – A chilly night at UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium saw Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 (1W-1L-0D) fall to a defeat 3-2 to Victoria Highlanders FC (3W-0L-0D) on Friday.
The first chance for the ‘Caps came on 18 minutes, when a corner kick ended up on the head of Derrick Bassi, whose header went just over the top of the crossbar.
On 33 minutes, another chance for the home side came as Adam Clement headed a ball towards Highlanders’ goalkeeper Elliot Mitrou, but his attempt also went over the crossbar.
In first-half added time, the Highlanders had their first chance of the match when Brett Levis sent a hard shot in on Simon Thomas, but the tall ‘keeper was there to punch the ball away.
Despite a slow first half, the ‘Caps looked to earn a win in the second half, which proved to be action-packed from the start.
On 49 minutes, Victoria had a chance to take the lead when a shot by Matt Polster went just wide of the net. Just a minute later, however, the away side took a 1-0 lead when Jordie Hughes found the ball land fortunately at his feet and tapped it past Thomas.
The 'Caps responded quickly though. Two minutes later, on 52 minutes, Sasa Plavsic made a nice pass to spring striker Niall Cousens, who fired in past Mitrou to equalize.
But Victoria were not to be denied. Just a minute later, on 53 minutes, Tyler Hughes played a nice corner kick into the box, where Riley O’Neill finished with a header to give the Highlanders the lead once again as the match stood at 2-1 for the away side.
In the 76th minute, Levis looked to increase the lead as he broke in and tried several moves around the Whitecaps FC defenders, but his eventual shot ended up being stopped by a sprawling Thomas.
In the 81st minute, the Highlanders did increase their lead when Jordie Hughes scored his second of the match after receing a breakaway pass from Craig Gorman. Calmly and collectedly, he was able to slide the ball past Thomas to take a 3-1 lead for the visiting side.
Just five minutes later, on 86 minutes, a second goal by Cousens put the ‘Caps within one after a corner kick resulted in a header goal by Cousens, cutting the deficit to 3-2.
In the end, the home team couldn't find an equalizer as they were downed by their provincial rivals.
Head of high performance Stuart Neely felt that Victoria deserved the win.
"At the end of the day, I think Victoria earned the result," commented Neely. "I think from the get-go tonight, our boys weren't mentally focused and they came out a big sluggish. There are positives to take from this. We finished off strong, but we just didn't get enough to break Victoria down."
Next up, Whitecaps FC U-23 travel to Oregon to face Portland Timbers U-23 on Thursday, May 23.
50' - VIC - Jordie Hughes
52' - VAN - Niall Cousens (Plavsic)
53' - VIC - Riley O'Neill (Hughes)
81' - VIC - Jordie Hughes (Gorman)
87' - VAN - Niall Cousens (Hundal)
Shots: Vancouver 11 - Victoria 13
Saves: Vancouver 5 - Victoria 2
Fouls: Vancouver 10 - Victoria 4
Offsides: Vancouver 0 - Victoria 3
Corners: Vancouver 5 - Victoria 5
32' - VIC - Riley O'Neill (Caution)
61' - VAN - Sasa Plavsic (Caution)
64' - VAN - Bobby Jhutty (Caution)
Whitecaps FC U-23:
1.Simon Thomas; 5.Derrick Bassi, 6.Adam Clement (2.Colton O'Neill 81'), 16.Michael Winter, 3.Ethan Sampson (4.James Farenhorst 85'); 20.Aminu Abdallah, 7.Harry Lakhan, 23.Cam Hundal, 10.Bhupinder Jhutty; 17.Niall Cousens, 12.Sasa Plavsic (21.Marco Vistinin 65')
Whitecaps FC U-23 Subs:
13.Sean Melvin, 4.James Farenhorst, 9.Gagandeep Dosanjh, 24.Peter Bow, 2.Colton O'Neill, 21.Marco Visintin
Victoria Highlanders FC
29.Elliot Mitrou; 4.Gavin Barrett, 13.Tyler Hughes, 5.Ryan Ashlee, 2.Kalem Scott; 10.Riley O'Neill, 14.Matt Polster, 22.Tarnvir Bhandal, 11.Craig Gorman; 16.Brett Levis 24.Gareth Langdon 90'), 17.Jordie Hughes
Victoria Highlanders FC Subs:
1.Joel Wilson, 19.Jermele Campbell, 24.Gareth Langdon, 20.Thomas Mallette, 18.Craig Taylor, 8.Bryan Taylor, 23.Adam Ravenhill