SPRINGFIELD, OR – It took them more than 90 minutes, but Vancouver Whitecaps FC (8W-3L-3D) earned their eighth straight victory on Tuesday night by taking down Lane United FC (2W-9L-2D) 2-1 in their regular season finale.
Defender Jordian Farahani converted a nice header from Ali Musse at the death to seal the victory and push the ‘Caps back into first place in the United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League (PDL) Northwest Division. Musse scored Vancouver’s first goal in the 69th minute, while midfielder Edgar Gomez provided the scoring for Lane United.
With the win, Whitecaps FC U-23 are guaranteed at least a berth in the knockout round of the playoffs – a match between the second and third place team in the division. Depending on the results of the remaining matches, the ‘Caps could also hold onto first in the division, in which case they would automatically qualify for the Western Conference Final Four.
Both sides had their chances to open the scoring in the first half of Tuesday’s affair at the Willamane Center. The home side had the first real chance early on, when Lane United forward Rolando Velazquez got behind the ‘Caps back line before Farahani disrupted the play with a well-timed slide tackle.
At the other end of the park, Vancouver came close in the 33rd and 34th minutes through a 20-yard Brett Levis strike and close-range Cody Cook opportunity, but neither player managed to find the back of the net as the score remained level at the half.
All three of the game’s goals were scored after the break.
Musse, a second-half substitute, drew first blood for Vancouver at 69 minutes. Levis sent in a nice cross to Musse, who made an excellent move down the left flank and put the ball past Lane United goalkeeper Wade Hamilton to make it 1-0.
A substitute responded for Lane United FC, as Gomez curled a well-placed free kick into the back of the net from 25 yards to tie the match up at 1-1 in the 81st minute.
Finally, as the clock winded down in stoppage time, a Whitecaps FC free kick was delivered into a crowded Lane United box. Musse rose from the area to direct the ball to an oncoming Farahani, who nodded the ball in with almost no time left to give the ‘Caps the 2-1 win.
“I thought we played a fine game, especially later on as we got our legs back under us,” said Whitecaps FC U-23 assistant coach Steve Meadley. “In the second half, we were pressuring much better and created a lot of chances. [Musse] was terrific on the flank for us and, in the end, as close as it was, we got the result.”
After going winless in their first six matches, Whitecaps FC U-23 will be riding an eight-match winning streak heading into the USL PDL playoffs. The ‘Caps will have a clearer picture of what’s to come by next Wednesday, July 16, at which point all Northwest Division teams will have concluded their season.
69’ – VAN – Ali Musse (Brett Levis)
81’ – LUFC – Edgar Gomez
90' + 3 – VAN – Jordian Farahani (Ali Musse)
30' - LUFC - Dirk Van der Velde
80' - VAN - Head Coach Niall Thompson
Shots: Lane United 9 – Vancouver 23
Saves: Lane United 9 – Vancouver 3
Fouls: Lane United 12 – Vancouver 8
Offsides: Lane United 3 – Vancouver 3
Corners: Lane United 4— Vancouver 7
Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23
1.Nolan Wirth; 27.Chris Serban (11.Jordan Haynes 66’), 26.Jackson Farmer, 6.Jordian Farahani, 2.Colton O’Neill; 17.Mitch Piraux, 23.Reynold Stewart (4. Mark Baldisimo 75’), 14.Brett Levis; 28.Marlon Ramirez (30.Adam Jones 68’), 24.Cody Cook (21. Ali Musse 45’); 9.Niall Cousens.
Substitutes not used