VANCOUVER, BC – After the Whitecaps FC Girls Elite team won the women's final earlier in the day on Saturday, the 'Caps MLS Boys Academy followed suit by edging past Victoria Highlanders FC in a shootout after an initial 1-1 draw at BC Place.
Whitecaps FC would start the game on the front foot, getting shots away from Sydney Wathuta and Yayo Mutombo in the opening stages.
Cohen Park would be called into action to deny Michael Henman on a breakaway inside 20 minutes, making a reaction save with his leg.
The Highlanders would come close once again off a corner 15 minutes before half, with Caden Rogozinski rising above the rest off a corner and nodding his effort over the bar.
Minutes later, Patrick Izzet almost sent Luke Norman on goal, but his pass was slightly under hit, before Kody Greaves would fire a shot just over for Highlanders.
The game would stay cagey for the majority of the game until the last minute of added time of the first half. Highlanders’ Koby Greaves would drill a pass to Michael Henman, whose half-turn would give him enough space to fire a shot past Park to open the scoring with the last kick of the first half.
Henman would have another chance inside the first five minutes of the second half, getting on the end of a longball, but his falling effort would sit comfortably into Park’s hand.
Highlanders would continue to hold firm defensively, keeping the ‘Caps at bay until the 60th minute. A set-piece cross would fall to Amir Ghasemi, who would lay the pass of to Sydney Wathuta. Wathuta would then hit it first time and beat Daniel Zadravec at his near post to level the affair at 1-1.
Highlanders came close to taking the advantage again less than 10 minutes later, when Gordon Hall’s headed effort would sail just over the bar.
Henman would get a glorious opportunity to take the lead for the Higlander 10 minutes from time after sliding into the box for the tap in, but would just miss it and get called back for the foul. Not a minute later, Ghasemi would go to the other end and fire a shot just inside the box for Zadravec to push wide.
In spite of a couple half-chances for either side, the two teams could not be separated across 90 minutes and the League1 BC title would go to a shootout.
And it would be Luke Norman who was the hero of the night, slotting away the final effort in the ninth round after Park made a save, giving the 'Caps a double of playoff title wins on the night, in addition to the Juan de Fuca Plate.
Referee: Amer Ramic
45’+1 – VIC – Michael Henman (Koby Greaves)
60 – VAN – Sydney Wathuta (Amir Ghasemi)
18’ – VAN – Nikolas White
57’ – VAN – Benedict Florent
59’ – VIC – Caden Rogozinski
85’ – VAN – Brennen Fuerst
88’ – VAN – Amir Ghasemi
90’+3 – VIC – Gordon Hall
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Boys MLS Academy
80.Cohen Park; 79.Benedict Florent, 68.Nikolas White, 73.Jaden Manetta; 94.Yayo Mutombo, 77.Joven Mann (72.Kyler Vojvodic 79’), 82.Brennen Fuerst © (71.Luka Assaf 90’), 85.Sydney Wathuta; 96.Luke Norman, 23.Amir Ghasemi; 55.Patrick Izett (87.Chad Baker 72’)
99.Matheus De Souza, 88.Aidan Fong, 89.Immanuel Mathe, 98.David Ajagbe
Victoria Highlanders FC
1.Daniel Zadravec; 6.Cody Gysbers, 5.Caden Rogozinski, 17.Gordon Hall; 18.Hagon Kim (3.Keisean Brooks 64’ (13.Aziz Yousef 90’+3),14.Kensho Ando, 7.Koby Greaves, 21.William Libbey (11.David Schaefer 72); 10.Jonathan Walter (8.Javier Sagaste 75’), 12.Anthony Preston (8.Francesco Bartolillo 72’); 9.Michael Henman
Substitutes not used
19.Logan Brooks, 25.Charlie Stewart