All season, Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 assistant coach Steve Meadley has maintained that, “as long as the club plays the Whitecaps way, then the results will come.”
Friday night’s performance against Puget Sound Gunners FC embodied that mantra perfectly, as the ‘Caps were brilliant in all facets of the game, and dominated en route to a 5-0 road win in Washington, The victory was Vancouver’s fourth straight in United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League (PDL) action.
The match started off a little slowly, as both teams refused to make a costly mistake early on. In addition, the defending on both sides was terrific in the early stages of the match.
At 17 minutes, Gunners centre back Matthew Eronomo cleared the first real chance of the match off of the goal line after Niall Cousens had directed a cross from Cook behind Puget Sound keeper Keegan Rogers.
Cook got the ‘Caps on the board in the 24th minute, as he picked up the ball at the top of the 18, turned and fooled Rogers with a seeing-eye shot that went in off the left post. At this point, Vancouver began to dominate.
Marlon Ramirez got the ‘Caps second tally of the night on a phenomenal effort by defender Colton O’Neill. O’Neill made a great run down the right flank, around Puget Sound defender Joshua Miller, and delivered a perfectly placed ball to Ramirez at the back left post. The Honduran made no mistake and put the Blue and White up 2-0 at the 34 minute mark.
Cook had a nice attempt as halftime approached, as he fought off Gunners defenders and put a contested ball just over the bar from inside the box. The two sides went into the dressing room at the same 2-0 score.
The ‘Caps came out of the break and effectively put the result out of reach for Puget Sound, as Niall Cousens picked up a great ball from midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy, raced down the left side, broke in on Rogers, and put a strike behind the Gunners keeper. The tally put the ‘Caps up 3-0 in the 48th minute.
Cook added another for the Blue and White at the 56 minute mark, as a ball bounced into the Gunners’ box, and the forward capitalized, directing the bouncing ball into the back of the Puget Sound cage.
However, the ‘Caps weren’t finished there as, on a Brett Levis rebound, Cousens found himself all alone with Rogers in the Puget Sound area. With no other choice, Miller barreled into the Vancouver forward from behind, resulting in a penalty kick. Cousens finished easily, getting his second goal of the match, and putting Whitecaps FC up 5-0 in the 77th minute.
The Blue and White closed out final 22 minutes without incident, cruising to a convincing win. The victory vaults them to second place in the Northwest Division, three points back of leaders Kitsap Pumas.
Head coach Niall Thompson was straight-forward in his assessment of the victory, and emphasized the team's unified mindset going into the contest.
"Our performance matched our mindset gong into the game," Thompson told whitecapsfc.com after the match. "We wanted to achieve certain team goals and I think we hit them all."
Next up, the ‘Caps head home to take on Cascadia rivals Seattle Sounders FC U-23 at UBC Thunderbird Stadium on Sunday, June 29. The match is set to kick off at 3:00 p.m. PT.
24' – VAN – Cody Cook (Reynold Stewart)
34’ – VAN – Marlon Ramirez (Colton O’Neill)
48’ – VAN – Niall Cousens (Mehdi Ballouchy)
56’ – VAN – Cody Cook (Marlon Ramirez)
77’ – VAN – Niall Cousens (penalty kick)
49’ – VAN – Niall Cousens
76’ – PS – Luke Broz
Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23
1.Nolan Wirth; 2.Colton O’Neill, 6.Jordian Farahani, 7.Harry Lakhan (30.Adam Jones 46’), 23.Reynold Stewart; 8.Mehdi Ballouchy (18.Sean Einarsson 70’), 36.Bryce Alderson,14.Brett Levis; 24.Cody Cook, 9.Niall Cousens, 28.Marlon Ramirez,
Substitutes not used
Puget Sound Gunners FC
1.Keegan Rogers; 5.Michael Dodds, 3.Joshua Miller, 4.Matthew Eronomo (13.Luke Broz), 12.Kevin Cook (Rhys Williams); 2.Justice Duerksen, 6.Zachary Hammond, 17.Erik Orzua (18.Vincent McCluskey), 8.Josimar Evangilista (7.Max Smith); 10.Brady Ballew, 9.Quinton Beasley