DALLAS, TX – Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-18s kicked off their United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) playoff campaign with a 3-0 win against fellow MLS academy side Chicago Fire U-18s on Monday.
Vancouver sealed the match with two goals in the final 20 minutes to keep themselves in a good position to qualify from the group stage with three points from the opening match.
Whitecaps FC made the perfect start to the match when they took the lead after 20 minutes. Kianz Froese found space on the edge of the area and produced a fine finish past the Chicago Fire 'keeper.
A close first half finished 1-0, but it was Vancouver who came close right after the break when Titouan Chopin went in one-on-one on the Fire 'keeper, but the striker put his effort wide.
Chicago pressed Whitecaps FC in search of an equalizer, which allowed the Blue and White to attack on the break. The 'Caps capitalized with a priceless second goal in the 65th minute.
Jordan Haynes won the ball in midfield with a tenacious challenge and played the ball forward. After a couple of attempts on goal, the ball fell for Marco Bustos 15 yards out and the midfielder made no mistake to double Vancouver’s lead, 2-0.
With time running out for Chicago to get back into the match, Whitecaps FC sealed the result five minutes from time when Bustos turned provider, sending in a far post cross for Brody Huitema to head in from close range for a 3-0 final.
With a strong result in the bag, Whitecaps FC U-18 head coach Gordon Forrest took a great deal of positives from the team’s opening performance.
“I think this was a good performance in many ways,” Forrest commented. “First of all, we scored three great goals, with two of our U-16 players scoring too. And we’re really pleased to keep a clean sheet.”
“The big thing for me was the challenge; we’ve had a difficult performance but come out on top. It was a very challenging game, but for developing young players that’s what we want. They’ll have a good recovery tonight and then we’ll prepare them the best we can to perform well in the next game.”
PA Classics defeated Houston Dynamo 2-0 in the other match of the day, meaning that Whitecaps FC currently sit atop Group 1 after one match played by each team.
Next up for Whitecaps FC U-18s is another MLS academy opponent as they take on Houston Dynamo U-18s on Tuesday. Kickoff at FC Dallas Sports Park is at 5 p.m. PT.
Whitecaps FC lineup:
Sean Melvin; Quinton Duncan (Matthew van der Eyden 78’), Nicholas Prasad (Alex Comsia 85’), Jackson Farmer, Sam Adekugbe; Spencer Deboice (Titouan Chopin 10’), Mitch Piraux, Kianz Froese (Jordan Haynes 63’), Marco Bustos; Yassin Essa (Matthew Chow 78’), Brody Huitema