DAEJEON, SOUTH KOREA – A youthful Vancouver Whitecaps FC Development Squad fell 3-1 to Daejeon Citizen FC on Saturday in front of a boisterous crowd of 24,194 at the Daejeon World Cup Stadium.
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Patrick Metcalfe scored the lone goal for the ‘Caps in the 45th minute, winning the ball in midfield with the help of Kamron Habibullah before firing home a powerful strike. Metcalfe’s tally levelled the score at 1-1, however Daejeon’s In-Hyeok Park struck twice late to seal the victory.
It was an invaluable learning experience for the young ‘Caps, who fielded a starting XI with nine teenagers and an average age of 17.8
“It was an incredible experience,” said Whitecaps FC Development Squad head coach Nick Dasovic. “There were 20,000-plus boisterous fans here tonight and what an experience in terms of the quality of opposition. I told the kids after the game, when they bring on their number nine and don’t rest him for a game like this, it means you guys obviously did something to motivate them. He comes on and scores a few goals, but our kids learned a lot tonight.”
This was the 13th time Daejeon hosted the International Friendly Soccer Match Event – sponsored by South Korea’s local media outlet, Joongdo Ilbo. Daejeon, who currently compete in the Korean second division, are also the former club of Whitecaps FC midfielder Inbeom Hwang.
It all made for a festive atmosphere at Daejeon World Cup Stadium, which hosted three matches at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, including South Korea’s memorable Round of 16 victory over Italy.
“It’s been first class and something we could never have dreamed of,” Dasovic said. “We just want to thank the people of South Korea for this unbelievable experience and we’ve got one more left.”
70. Chituru Odunze; 77.Deylen Vellios+, 79.Gianfranco Facchineri+, 26.Brendan McDonough* © (80.Vasco Fry+ 78’) , 52.Gabriel Escobar (76.Christopher Lee+ 85’); 62.Damiano Pecile, 54.Simon Colyn* (63.Emiliano Brienza 78’), 57.Patrick Metcalfe; 58.Brandon Cambridge (81.Thomas Raimbault+ HT), 50.Theo Bair*, 59.Kamron Habibullah
* MLS Roster
+ Academy call-up