WESTFIELD, INDIANA – And then there were eight.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-16 Residency will host a USSDA quarter-final match on July 8 after playing to a scoreless draw with Arsenal FC on Friday in their Round of 32 group stage finale.
The draw secured the top spot in Group H for the U-16s – and as a result, a home playoff date. Meanwhile, the U-18s saw their season come to an end after a 1-1 draw with D.C. United U-18.
U-16s conclude group stage undefeated after weather-shortened finale
After big wins in their first two matches, the U-16s came into Friday’s match knowing a draw was all they needed to progress. And that’s exactly what they got, playing to a scoreless deadlock with Arsenal FC in a match that was called after 68 minutes due to lightning and funnel clouds in the area.
It was a gritty performance from the young ‘Caps, who didn’t put in their best display but still managed to come away with a result in difficult conditions.
The U-16s conclude the group stage undefeated (2W-0L-1D), outscoring their opponents 11-1 in the process. They will now host Georgia United in the USSDA quarter-final on July 8 (time/location TBD).
“I’m extremely happy and proud of their achievements and honesty this week,” said Whitecap FC U-16 head coach Adam Day. “The players have acquitted themselves very well and credit must also be given to the staff behind the scenes who have worked tirelessly this week to make sure the group has everything they need to be prepared. We will look to recuperate over the next couple of days and then start preparations for our next game in the quarter-final.”
Whitecaps FC U-16
30.Aidan Aylward; 32.Kadin Chung, 31.Frazer Poulter, 4.Mathew Baldisimo, 48.Terrell Smith (33.Michael Baldisimo 48’); 13.David Norman (47.Jonas Hakkinen 60’), 45.Munir Saleh (37.Nicolas Apostol), 28.Thomas Gardner; 38.Noah Verhoeven (49.Gloire Amanda 55’), 27.Daniel Sagno, 14.Terran Campbell (36.Cole Morokhovich 41’)
Cuthbert scores late equalizer, but U-18s finish second in Group A
On another night, this could have very easily been a ‘Caps victory.
D.C. United took the lead in the 21st minute and the U-18s equalized late through a goal from substitute Joshua Cuthbert, who headed in an Ali Musse free kick shortly after D.C. went down to 10 men.
In between, the Blue and White controlled play and had several chances, including a crossbar and two Musse goals that were called back. Meanwhile, Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Marco Carducci wasn’t busy, but he made a few big saves at key moments to keep the ‘Caps in it.
Rich Fagan’s side fought until the final whistle to earn the draw, but it wasn’t enough to propel them into the top spot in Group A. Instead, they finish second with a 1W-1L-1D record in this week’s Round of 32 matches and see their 2014-15 campaign come to a heartbreaking end.
“The boys should be proud of their performances this week,” Fagan said. “I know I am. The results maybe didn't go our way this time but we played some wonderful football and represented the club and Residency program to the fullest. Overall we have had a successful season. Four players have been promoted to the professional ranks and several other have earned top Canadian and American athletic scholarships.”
Whitecaps FC U-18
1.Marco Carducci; 5.Evangelos Boucas (39.Joshua Cuthbert 46’), 2.Andre Baires, 6.Eric de Graaf (3.Nike Azuma 70’), 11.Jordan Haynes (15.Drake Rendle 55’); 7.Marcello Polisi, 24.Vana Markarian; 21.Dario Conte, 20.Kyle Jones (23.Franceso Saporito 65’), 12.William Grayson (Alan Camacho 65’); 8.Ali Musse