Vancouver Whitecaps Prospects Men suffered a 5-0 defeat to Surrey United in their Pacific Coast Soccer League home opener at Simon Fraser University on Sunday afternoon.
Bart Choufour's side were looking for their first PCSL win of the season, but it was never going to be easy against league-leading Surrey.
United went on the attack early, and took the game to the young Whitecaps. Their efforts were rewarded on 25 minutes, as forward Lucas Barrett fired Surrey into the lead with a powerful shot from the top of the area. Barrett came close again ten minutes later, as he rattled a header off the outside of the post.
The Whitecaps came more into the game as the first half progressed. Forward Ian Clark looked especially dangerous, and tested veteran United goalkeeper Drew Smiley with a couple of shots. But United remained a threat on the counter-attack, with Barrett firing into the side netting on a breakaway. Minutes later, Bryan Fouler took advantage of a favourable high bounce to get a good shot away, which Whitecaps goalkeeper Coady Nett did well to stop.
After showing promising signs in the first half, it was with a sense of optimism that the Whitecaps took to the field after the interval. But a few moments of lost concentration would prove costly, as Surrey scored three quick goals to put the game out of reach.
On 48 minutes, Rizal Ganief got up well to head Surrey to a 2-0 lead. Four minutes later, Ryan Reynolds beat the Whitecaps offside trap and strolled in all alone before slotted the ball home. Four minutes after that, some slick passing and a nice dummy freed up Harpreet Khakh to the left of the Vancouver goal and he finished well to make it 4-0.
To their credit, the Whitecaps continued to battle and had Surrey under pressure from a number of corner kicks. However, they couldn't beat goalkeeper Drew Smiley or his eventual replacement Justin Baarts. They came closest on minute 70 when a header from defender Ben Leggett was redirected by the head of Surrey's Lee Grant into what would have been an own-goal, if not for a great reaction save from Baarts.
At the other end, Whitecaps substitute goalkeeper Matt Jordan did well to stop a chance from Ryan Reynolds, and later denied Khakh with a kick-save, as he broke in on goal. However, Jordan could do nothing to stop Surrey's Phil Lensky on a breakaway in minute 73, as United closed out the scoring.
"For me, the most important thing is that they don't get down, and that they keep playing, and that we learn every single time and get better at what we're trying to do," said Choufour after Sunday's defeat.
The 0-3-0 Prospects Men will look to do better on Saturday, May 31, when they host the Seattle Wolves at SFU. PCSL leaders Surrey United, meanwhile, now sit at 5-0-0 and host Peace Arch SC next Saturday.
Whitecaps Prospects Men - starting line-up v Surrey United
Coady Nett; Gavin Barrett, Branden McLean, Ben Leggett, Jordan Casoli; Rhys Volkenant, Riley Newport, Nat Blaiklock, Flo Liu; Ian Clark, Ben Hemphill