SAN PEDRO DE ALCÁNTARA, SPAIN – Vancouver Whitecaps FC kicked off the start of the 2024 preseason with a 1-0 victory over Hungarian first division side Diósgyőri VTK on Saturday morning at the Marbella Football Center.
Canadian striker and 2024 MLS SuperDraft selection Nicolas Fleuriau Chateau scored the lone goal in the second half, while goalkeepers Yohei Takaoka and Isaac Boehmer kept the clean sheet while splitting duties in net.
Whitecaps FC head coach Vanni Sartini started his side in a 4-3-1-2 formation with a diamond midfield. The starting XI included 10 returning players and offseason addition Damir Kreilach.
Right off the hop, the ‘Caps looked to get on the scoresheet as forward Levonte Johnson made a run straight up the middle but wasn’t able to get a clear shot on target.
DVTK, who were playing their third match in the winter training camp, had a couple half-chances early on that Takaoka routinely saved.
In the fifth minute, a Ryan Gauld corner kick fell to midfielder Alessandro Schöpf. The Austrian did well to find space but his shot just missed the far post.
On 26 minutes, Schöpf found Berhalter just outside the box, but his shot went high.
Later in the half it appeared as if Gauld may have been fouled in the box, but no call was made as the teams went into the half level at 0-0.
Halftime saw a complete lineup change, with three first team players, four WFC2 and camp invitees, and four unsigned MLS SuperDraft picks and trialists taking the pitch.
Just past the hour mark, ‘Caps midfielder J.C. Ngando found space down the left side and squared it to Darko Ilić just inside the 18. The left back took one touch before he forced the DVTK keeper into a diving save. However, Fleuriau Chateau was quick to react and calmly slotted home the rebound to score the decisive goal.
The two sides would trade chances just before fulltime with Javain Brown coming closest with a header off a corner from Eliot Goldthorp.
Prior to the match, goalkeeper Max Anchor, defender Luís Martins, and forward Fafà Picault, as well as WFC2 midfielder Malcolm Simmons and trialist keeper Joe Bendik had a training session on the opposite side pitch and all five players will likely be available for selection in Monday’s second preseason game. Wingback Sam Adekugbe, midfielder Ali Ahmed, and camp invitee Thomas Hasal continue their return to play programs.
Meanwhile, striker Brian White is set to join the ‘Caps in Spain on Monday, January 22 following today's United States men's national team international friendly against Slovenia. Finally, midfielder Pedro Vite will join the ‘Caps in February following Ecuador’s 2024 CONMEBOL Pre-Olympic Tournament in Venezuela, also kicking off today, and Cyprian Kachwele will join the group following Tanzania's Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Ivory Coast.
65’ – VAN – Nicolas Fleuriau Chateau
25’ - VAN - Mathías Laborda
63’ - VAN - Lowell Wright
63’ - DVTK - Lund Nielsen Marco
78’ - VAN - Javain Brown
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
18.Yohei Takaoka; 2.Mathías Laborda, 4.Ranko Veselinović, 6.Tristan Blackmon, 27.Ryan Raposo; 16.Sebastian Berhalter, 20.Andrés Cubas, 8.Alessandro Schöpf; 19.Damir Kreilach; 28.Levonte Johnson, 25.Ryan Gauld ©
32.Isaac Boehmer ©; 23.Javain Brown, 53.Buster Sjöberg+ (95.Joshué Ndakala^ 79’), 48.Belal Halbouni+, 43.Darko Ilic^ (51.Dembo Saidykhan^ 69’); 41.Eliot Goldthorp+, 59.Jeevan Badwal^, 26.J.C. Ngando; 42.Lowell Wright^; 92.Jay Herdman^, 52.Nicolas Fleuriau Chateau+ (49.Malek Mehri^ 69’)
^ WFC2 & Academy camp invitee
+ Unsigned SuperDraft selection or trialist