VANCOUVER, BC - On a cloudy Friday evening, Vancouver Whitecaps U-23 (7W-3L-3D) defeated Lane United FC (2W-7L-2D) 1-0 in the first ever meeting between the two teams in the United Soccer League (USL) Premier Development League (PDL).
A second-half goal from substitute Adam Jones propelled the Blue and White to their seventh straight victory and first place in the PDL’s Northwest Division, leapfrogging Kitsap Pumas.
The Northwest Division champions will automatically qualify for the USL PDL playoffs, while the second and third place teams will play a knockout match to determine the division’s second and final post-season berth.
The visitors had the first chance of the evening. On three minutes, defender Casey Phillips’ effort grazed just over the bar.
Eight minutes later, Phillips threatened again, this time off a free kick from 30-yards out; Marco Carducci sprawled quickly to his left to deny Lane United FC the early advantage.
In the twenty-eighth minute, the 'Caps had their best chance of the first half, as Niall Cousens’ header beat United's keeper Matt Bersano, but was denied by the post.
On 61 minutes, right back Ethen Sampson made his return from a right knee injury, replacing Colton O’Neill, who had played every minute of every PDL match up until that point. It was Sampson’s first competitive minutes in nearly 10 weeks.
After knocking on the door for the first two thirds of the match, the Blue and White got the well-deserved go-ahead goal courtesy of second-half substitute Adam Jones. A timely cross from Ali Musse, followed by a deflected headed from Cousens across the six-yard box, found Jones. The right wingers first shot was blocked but he was first to the rebound and finished nicely to give the home side the advantage in the 70th minute.
Jones came close to doubling his tally nine minutes later, as he was the recipient of a well-placed cross from the returning Sampson, the Port Moody native’s header sailed wide-left.
On nearly the last kick of the game, Mitch Piraux was denied from four yards out by a terrific kick save from Lane United’s substitute ‘keeper Wade Hamilton.
All in all, Thompson was satisfied with the way his squad found a way to grind out a victory tonight against a resilient Lane United side.
“It was a good victory,” Thompson told whitecapsfc.com. “You could sense we felt a little bit of pressure when a few of our chances weren’t going in. However, after 90 minutes, we got the result, which we’re happy about."
The U-23 'Caps will look to secure their spot in the playoffs when they travel down to Springfield, Oregon, to face Lane United FC in the second leg of the home-and-home series on Tuesday, July 8. Kickoff for the 'Caps finale of the U-23’s regular season is scheduled for 7 p.m. PT.
70’ - VAN - Adam Jones
Shots: Vancouver 19 – Lane United 6
Saves: Vancouver 1 – Lane United 8
Fouls: Vancouver 15 – Lane United 12
Offsides: Vancouver 1 – Lane United 1
Corners: Vancouver 7—Lane United 0
74' - LU - Casey Phillips
Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23
22.Marco Carducci; 2.Colton O’Neill (25.Ethen Sampson 62’), 26.Jackson Farmer, 6.Jordain Farahani, 3.Sam Adekugbe; 14.Brett Levis, 28.Marlon Ramirez (30.Adam Jones 65’), 17.Mitch Piraux, 23.Reynold Stewart (4.Mark Baldisimo 79’), 24.Cody Cook (21.Ali Musse 65’); 9.Niall Coussens.
Substitutes not used
1.Nolan Wirth, 7.Harry Lakhan, 27.Chris Serban.
Lane United FC
18.Matt Bersano (22.Wade Hamilton 45’); 23.Dirk Van der Velde (2.Ryan Trutner 45’), 27.Luke Connolly, 6.Casey Phillips, 16.Daley Stevens; 7.Francisco Vizcaino (12.Mikel Selles 79’), 15.Joseph Bolous, 8.Mikhail Doholis (9.Rolando Velazquez 74’), 10.Martin Lukaschik (24.Christian Dietrich 67’), 5.Josep Baldovi; 14.Conner Bevans
Substitutes not used
3.Johnny Chronopoulos, 19.Pierce Kiembi