VANCOUVER, BC – After three weeks in between league matches, Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency teams are right back at it this weekend hosting fellow MLS club San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, March 29 in United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) action. The U-18 match will be at 12 p.m. and the U-16 match at 2:30 p.m. PT. Both matches will be held at Minoru Park Field #2 in Richmond, BC.
In their last action, the ‘Caps U-18s faced Real So Cal and Arsenal FC at home in a pair of weekend matches to begin the month of March. Against Real So Cal, the Blue and White took an early lead with a pair of goals from Ali Musse and Matthew Chow, putting the squad up 2-0. A fierce back and forth match would eventually finish in a tough 3-3 draw, with Real So Cal coming from behind and tying the match in the last minutes of play. The ‘Caps redeemed themselves the next day as they came out firing against Arsenal FC, bombarding them 6-1 to mark their highest goal output of the season. Musse found the back of the net twice, while teammate Marco Bustos netted a hat-trick. Mason James had a goal of his own in the late minutes of the game for good measure.
The ‘Caps now hold a record of 11W-4L-3D and are two points back from first in the Northwest Division. With his recent goal outburst, Bustos is now tied for the team lead in goals with Kianz Froese at eight. Both players trained with the MLS squad during their 2014 preseason preparations.
The U-18 squad may also see the return of goalkeeper Marco Carducci, who recently signed a Homegrown contract with the MLS team on March 4, 2014. The 17-year-old Calgary, Alberta, native remains eligible to play for the U-18 squad in the USSDA.
San Jose Earthquakes sit two spots bellow the ‘Caps at fourth with a record of 9W-5L-4D in the Northwest Division.
In their last meeting on September 15, 2013, Whitecaps FC bested the Quakes by a score of 2-1 at Mustang Soccer Complex in Danville, California. After the Earthquakes scored in the 29th minute, 'Caps midfielder Jordan Haynes answered back with a goal of his own one minute later to finish the first half at 1-1. Froese would put the ‘Caps ahead in the 65th minute for what would be the eventual game winner in a 2-1 victory.
Recently joining the 'Caps Residency coaching staff is Niall Thompson, a former player with Vancouver 86ers in 1998 and again with Whitecaps FC from 2002 to 2003. In his role as staff coach, Thompson has been working with the U-18 squad.
“I'm very excited,” Thompson told whitecapsfc.com. “I’m a local boy who has played for the Whitecaps, and I’m just excited to take this project on. I'm looking forward to help develop players for the first team.”
Whitecaps FC U-18 hold a solid home record with 7W-1L-2D, while the Earthquakes have a strong away record of 5W-1L-3D.
“We’re really excited about the challenge this weekend against San Jose,” Thompson told whitecapsfc.com. “I think there has been a real positive tension in the squad with regards to getting out and playing. I know the squad was a bit disappointed with not getting two wins in our last series of games. We had the one tie and one win and we know we should have grabbed six points. So I think the team is in a positive mind frame and they're itching to get this game going.”
The ‘Caps U-16 boys are on a hot streak with only one loss and one draw in their last nine games. In their most recent action they swept both games against Real So Cal and Arsenal FC in impressive fashion to begin the month of March. Against Real So Cal the ‘Caps finished the first half up 3-1 with a pair of goals from Daniel Sagno and a goal from Kadin Chung. In the second half Andre Baires added a goal of his own in the 79th minute to put his squad up 4-1, which would be the final score of the match. The next day against Arsenal FC the U-16 boys continued their momentum in a come-from-behind 2-1 victory. The squad showed its depth as substitutes Rahid Rahiem and Kadin Chung both found the back of the net.
With the two wins, the ‘Caps now hold a record of 11W-3L-4D and sit second in the Northwest Division. Dario Zanatta is the squad’s top scorer with 12 goals, while goalkeeper Aidan Aylward has recorded five shutouts this season.
San Jose Earthquakes are right behind the ‘Caps at third, only one point back with a record of 11W-4L-3D in the Northwest Division.
Whitecaps FC U-16 and San Jose Earthquakes U-16 last faced each other on September 15, 2013. The ‘Caps shutout the Earthquakes 4-0 as Terran Campbell and Aymar Sigue recorded a goal each, while Dario Zanatta scored twice. Goalkeeper Aidan Aylward earned the clean sheet.
The ‘Caps hold a record of 5W-2L-3D at home this year, while the Earthquakes have been strong on the road holding a record of 7W-1L-D.
“Once again we are happy to be back playing at home in front offamily, friends and the supporters,” U-16 head coach Rich Fagan told whitecapsfc.com. “Every game is important but with only nine games left to play, and with it being so tight at the top of our division, both teams need no extra motivation. I expect a very good game of football between two top MLS academy teams.”