WESTFIELD, IN - Vancouver Whitecaps U-16 Residency took another step forward in qualifying for the United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) quarterfinals with a 1-0 win over fellow MLS academy Houston Dynamo on Wednesday afternoon. The ‘Caps now hold a 2W-0L-0D record in the group stage of the USSDA Playoffs, and control their own destiny going into their final Group C match against Weston FC.
The ‘Caps came out flying against Houston, and struck quickly against a stingy Dynamo defence. A ball was fed out wide to forward Daniel Sagno, who did well to get behind the back line and send a beautiful cross into the Houston area. Striker Dario Zanatta, who potted both Whitecaps FC goals in yesterday’s match against Match Fit Academy U-16, added another goal to his total as he connected with the cross and directed it past the Dynamo keeper at the far post.
Neither side had much in the way of offensive pressure for the next 80 minutes, as both back lines were excellent at containing the play to the middle third of the field. In particular, Vancouver’s back four of Jeevin Kang, Eric de Graaf, Andre Baires, and Kadin Chung were excellent, as they didn’t allow Houston a single opportunity that really threatened goalkeeper Aidan Aylward.
Houston, on the verge of elimination in the final 10 minutes, even brought their goalkeeper forward on set pieces to try and salvage their playoff hopes. However, Whitecaps FC’s defense stood tall, and closed out the 1-0 win.
Residency technical director Craig Dalrymple admitted that, despite the game’s lack of flash, it was a solid performance from the young ‘Caps.
“The boys played with some solid fundamentals," Dalrymple told whitecapsfc.com. "We’ll look to add some more scoring chances next match.”
That next match is set up to be a fantastic showdown, as in other Group C action, Weston FC beat Match Fit Academy 3-1. Both Weston and Vancouver have a 2W-0L-0D record going into their match against one another this coming Friday, June 27. With Weston FC holding the greater goal differential, Whitecaps FC must win in order to finish top of the group and advance to the quarterfinal stage.
Here are the updated group standings going into the final matches:
Dalrymple admits that the challenge of facing Weston FC, who won the Southeast Division in the regular season, is something that’s exciting for both the staff and the boys.
“It’s why we come to these events,” Dalrymple said. “We want to play the best teams across the continent, and this is one of them. We’re quietly confident going into this match. We haven’t conceded a goal yet, we’re scoring at the other end, so we’re confident that we can go in there and get the job done.”