REDMOND, WA – Vancouver Whitecaps FC’s Residency squads capped off their respective United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) regular seasons with a couple of impressive performances, as both of the U-18 and U-16 sides secured victories over their Crossfire Premier counterparts on Saturday afternoon.
Both sides had already secured their playoff berths heading into the weekend, but the U-18s still came out with a 1-0 win and the U-16s took their match by a tally of 3-2.
The USSDA regular season playoffs will begin on June 23 in Indiana.
A pair of Marcos, with a little help from Kianz Froese, provided the spark Whitecaps FC U-18 Residency (16W-6L-5D) needed to come away with a 1-0 win in a hard-fought match with Crossfire Premier on Saturday. Goalkeeper Marco Carducci a few massive saves midway through the second half, which allowed Marco Bustos to play the role of hero in the 87th minute.
It seems fitting that the final goal of their regular season came on a combined effort from the ‘Caps two leading scorers, as Froese delivered a beautiful corner into the six-yard box for Bustos. The Winnipeg native did well to beat his man to the ball in the air and made no mistake, putting his header behind the Crossfire keeper to take the lead. Bustos concludes the regular-season with a team-high 17 goals in 21 appearances.
“It was a tough game – they made it difficult for us. There wasn’t a lot of spectacular stuff going on.” Whitecaps FC U-18 assistant coach Steve Meadley told whitecapsfc.com after the match. “We created a lot of half chances, but not a lot of clear cut chances. We played against a tough Crossfire team that were hard to break down.”
With the win, the 'Caps conclude the season with a 16W-6L-5D record and 53 points, which is good enough for second in the West Conference, Northwest Division.
“We’re happy to end our season on a positive note," Meadley said. "That was important to us, that we move on to the playoffs in a positive frame of mind. We worked for it and we’re in a good place right now, ready for playoffs.”
87’ – VAN – Marco Bustos (Kianz Froese)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-18
22.Marco Carducci; 27.Chris Serban, 15.Vaggeli Boucas, 5.Nicholas Prasad, 12.Nike Azuma; 4.Mark Baldisimo, 11.Jordan Haynes (41.Terran Campbell 67’), 10.Marco Bustos; 20.Kyle Jones (17.Mitch Piraux 46’), 16.Mason James (32.Dario Zanatta 46’), 19.Kianz Froese
Like their older counterparts, Whitecaps FC U-16 Residency (15W-5L-7D) didn’t run away with a victory against Crossfire Premier (13W-10L-4D). Instead, they fought until the final whistle and were rewarded with a 3-2 win.
The ‘Caps drew first blood at the 20-minute mark, as Thomas Gardner made a great run starting from just beyond the centre line. The 16-year-old midfielder cut to his left, then back to his right, and around the 20-yard mark, noticed that the Crossfire goalkeeper was a little too far off his line. Garder wasted no time taking advantage of his opponent’s mistake, as he put a high shot just out of the keeper’s reach.
Crossfire Premier tied it up just before half, however, and the teams went into the break knotted up at 1-1.
The ‘Caps came out of the second half with something to prove, and Gardner had no trouble making his presence felt again. He laid out a beautiful corner for Aymar Sigue, who buried a chance from in close to make it 2-1 for Vancouver at 50 minutes.
The lead wouldn’t last long, as Crossfire rallied to tie it up at 60 minutes.
At 79 minutes, a pair of substitutes connected as Marcello Polisi put a nice ball over Crossfire’s back line to Francesco Saporito. The Edmonton-born midfielder charged at Crossfire’s defenders and, as he was doing so, their centre back tried to make a tackle and ended up getting more Saporito than ball. Saporito made no mistake on the ensuing penalty kick, and the ‘Caps held on to end their season with a tough win against a scrappy Crossfire side.
“For the 80 minutes, we controlled the pace, we controlled the tempo,” Whitecaps FC U-16 head coach Rich Fagan told whitecapsfc.com. “We asked the boys to do things that were difficult, and when you play that way, you give up goals. We’re absolutely over the moon with their overall effort and performance.”
Fagan's U-16s finish the season with a 15W-5L-7D record, tops in the West Conference, Northwest Divison.
20’ - VAN – Thomas Gardner
44’ - CP
50’ - VAN – Aymar Sigue (Thomas Gardner)
60' - CP
79’ - VAN – Francesco Saporito (penalty kick)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-16
30.Aidan Aylward; 51.Manraj Bains (31.Erik Morden 60’), 34.Eric de Graaf, 33.Matthew Baldisimo, 39.Josh Cuthbert (32.Kadin Chung 51’); 37.Jeevin Kang, 24.Vana Markarian (38.Marcello Polisi 51’), 28.Thomas Gardner (45.Rahid Rahiem 75’); 43.Daniel Sagno, 14.Aymar Sigue, 36.Cole Morokhovich (23.Francesco Saporito 61’);