EDMONDS, WA – It was a battle of two depleted lineups as Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 (7W-4L-3D) wrapped up their United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League (PDL) season with a dominant 4-1 win against North Sound SeaWolves FC (2W-10L-2D) at Edmonds Woodway High School.
With a win, the ‘Caps finish the PDL regular season in good form and end up in 3rd place in the Northwest Division. They will now face Portland Timbers U-23 in the first round of the PDL playoffs.
On 14 minutes, the first chance of the match came as Bobby Jhutty lined up a shot from just outside the box, but North Sound goalkeeper Keegan Rogers was there to scoop up the ball.
The SeaWolves countered immediately off the ‘Caps attack when Daniel Van Vleet saw Bradley Jacobson, whose shot was stopped by Simon Thomas.
On 23 minutes, Jacobson gave his team the lead when a lovely touch by Van Vleet ended in a rebound, with Jacobson firing a shot that went off the post and in the net despite Thomas being able to get a hand on the ball.
Minutes later, Vancouver equalized when Niall Cousens put a nice touch on the ball, which was initially stopped by Rogers, but with his right foot he put the rebound in the back of the net to equalize, 1-1.
Towards the end of the half, Cam Hundal slipped a through ball to Cousens, but Rogers again stopped his rocket.
On one of the final offensive plays of the first half, in added time, Jhutty fired a shot from the top of the box, but once again Rogers grabbed the ball and held onto it.
Going into the second half, the ‘Caps looked to remain dangerous and capitalize on their second half chances, and it did not take long for the Blue and White to take the lead.
Early in the second half, Hundal made lots of space for himself and fired home his chance to give the ‘Caps the 2-1 lead. The go-ahead goal seemed to spark the ‘Caps, as they continued their offensive onslaught for the remainder of the half.
Shortly after Hundal’s goal, the SeaWolves got their chance to equalize as Brady Ballew collected the ball with his right foot, but his shot failed to amount to a goal.
The ‘Caps dominant attack struck again when a defensive collapse by the SeaWolves left Sasa Plavsic wide open in front of the net, allowing him to fire the ball in the net for the 3-1 lead.
Nearing the end of the half, Hundal netted his second goal of the match as he made a nice run and finished his opportunity to give the ‘Caps four unanswered goals and continue the ‘Caps dominating road performance.
Despite the SeaWolves attempt to come back with a few chances, the ‘Caps held strong to end the regular season with a 4-1 win.
Head of high performance Stuart Neely was pleased to end the regular season strong.
“It was great to end the season on a positive note,” commented Neely. “At times they pressed us and it took us a good 45 minutes to get our legs and find our way around the pitch again. We made a few adjustments at halftime and I thought the boys played a much better attacking game in the second half. I’m happy the boys responded in the second half the way they did.”
Next up, the Blue and White take on Portland Timbers U-23 in a knockout round in the PDL playoffs on Tuesday, July 23 at Doc Harris Stadium in Camas, Washington. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. PT.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Lineup:
1.Simon Thomas; 6.Jon Poli, 16.Michael Winter, 26.Kevin Cobby, 2.Colton O’Neill; 7.Harry Lakhan, 10.Bobby Jhutty (12.Sasa Plavsic), 20.Aminu Abdallah;, 23.Cam Hundal, 17.Niall Cousens (12.Sasa Plavsic 60’), 3.Ethen Sampson (24.Peter Bow 45’)