BELLINGHAM, WA – Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-16 Residency saw their season come to a heartbreaking end on Tuesday afternoon, falling 2-1 to Chicago Magic PSG U-16 in the United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) quarter-final.
Chicago took an early 2-0 lead through striker Kendall Stork, who led the team with 18 goals in the regular season, before Dario Zanatta got Whitecaps FC on the board late.
The ‘Caps created a number of opportunities in the second half, including two crossbars, a post, and no less than three chances saved off the goalline, but in the end Chicago held on for the hard-fought victory and a berth in the USSDA Final Four.
“It’s always tough when you get to a quarter-final and lose, but I have to say the performance was there,” said Whitecaps FC U-16 Residency head coach Rich Fagan. “On another day, we could have been looking at a different result.”
Although Chicago scored both goals in the first half, Whitecaps FC U-16 Residency came out flying at Whatcom Community College and had several chances of their own.
In fact, they won the ball back immediately after the opening kickoff before David Norman saw a strike just miss off the side-netting in the third minute. It was “by no means a poor half,” said Fagan, adding that the ‘Caps were “outstanding” after the interval.
The Blue and White broke through in the 65th minute, when Zanatta headed in an Aymar Sigue cross from the top of the six-yard box. It was Zanatta fifth goal in four playoff matches and 30th on the season including regular season competition.
Despite a dominating second half, the young ‘Caps fell just short in their first-ever USSDA quarterfinal appearance. Despite the loss, Fagan said he’s “so pleased and proud” with the team’s season.
The U-16s claimed the Northwest Division title before finishing atop their group in the Round of 32 to earn a berth in Tuesday’s quarter-final. It was the team’s most successful season to date.
“It was a massive year for their personal development as individuals but also a team,” Fagan said. “We’ll move forward and move on and be better for it.”
16’ – CHI – Kendall Stork
24’ – CHI – Kendall Stork
65’ – VAN – Dario Zanatta (Aymar Sigue)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-16
30.Aidan Aylward; 32.Kadin Chung, 2.Andre Baires (38.Marcello Polisi 41’), 34.Eric de Graaf, 37.Jeevin Kang; 13.David Norman (23.Francesco Saporito 65’), 28.Thomas Gardner (43.Daniel Sagno 55’), 33.Matthew Baldisimo; 41.Terran Campbell, 9.Dario Zanatta, 25.Hayden Simmonds-O’Grady (14.Aymar Sigue 41’)