By Brandon Timko/whitecapsfc.com
Vancouver Whitecaps Prospects Men suffered a 2-1 defeat to Vancouver Thunderbirds, despite a valiant effort at Simon Fraser University on Tuesday evening.
Two goals by Sebastian Crema gave the Pacific Coast Soccer League leaders their fifth victory of the season. Rhys Volkenant scored a consolation goal for the Whitecaps at SFU's Terry Fox Field.
The Thunderbirds thought they had an early lead after Blair Robertson headed home a Ryan Reynolds cross five minutes into the match. However, the goal was called back for offside.
The Thunderbirds would keep up the pressure, with Steve Deblasio flicking a close-range back heel on target on 21 minutes, but he was unable to beat Prospects goalkeeper Matthew Robinson, who was making his first PCSL Premier Division appearance of the year.
Then Bart Choufour's squad were given an opportunity to open the scoring on 29 minutes. A clearance by Thunderbirds goalkeeper Justin Baarts deflected off the head of Riley Newport and on to the foot of Lucas Barrett, but the striker's quick shot rolled wide of the net. The Thunderbirds would make them pay seconds later, as Baarts' long goal kick up field found Crema. His powerful strike into the far corner of Robinson's goal gave the visitors a 1-0 lead.
The 'Caps looked to respond on 33 minutes when an Erik Hacker free kick from midfield bounced towards Lucas Barrett at the side of the Thunderbirds goal, with the striker managing to get a shot on net before having it cleared off the goal line.
The Thunderbirds would have increased their lead on 44 minutes, if not for a brilliant save by Robinson from Crema's point-blank strike. The Prospects keeper got his hand on the ball, despite diving in the opposite direction.
Choufour's side would go into the halftime break down only a goal, and knowing that they have played well in the second half of matches so far this season.
The Prospects looked to even the match on 65 minutes when a Ruben Casablanca corner kick was headed just wide of the target by Lucas Barrett. The 'Caps would threaten again two minutes later when Casablanca's through ball was met by Gavin Barrett, but the striker's shot was fired right into the arms of Baarts.
The young 'Caps comeback efforts were deflated on 72 minutes, as Crema was sent in on a breakaway. The Thunderbirds marksman calmly slotted his second goal of the match past Robinson, with Crema making it three goals against the Whitecaps in their last two league encounters.
The Whitecaps were eager to get back into the match, and would be given an opportunity on 76 minutes with a free kick from 25 yard out. It was well struck by Carlos Del Aguila, but it struck the post and bounce out for a goal kick - much to the dismay of the home side.
Del Aguila would get another free kick opportunity in time added on. The substitute sent the ball into the Thunderbirds box before having it bounce out to Volkenant, who promptly fired a low shot into the bottom corner to get the 'Caps on the scoresheet. Choufour's squad, however, would run out of time, as the final whistle meant a 2-1 win for the visitors.
Choufour felt his team found their stride again in the second half. "We were a little bit disjointed in the first half," Choufour told whitecapsfc.com. "In the second half, we went with somewhat of a different mindset. I thought we played much better, we had more of the ball and we had some chances."
The Prospects Men will now have some time off from PCSL Premier Division action, with their next league match coming on Saturday, June 13, when they host Victoria United at SFU's Terry Fox Field. Kick off is at 4:00 p.m. PDT.
Whitecaps Prospects Men
Matthew Robinson; Jerome Lou (Adam Staschuk 45’), Paul Bahia, Erik Hacker (Cameron Parkes 71’), Kyle Knees (Rhys Volkenant 63’), Ruben Casablanca (Bryan Cha 79’), Harry Lakhan, Riley Newport (Carlos Del Aguila 45’), Ashley Ankiewicz (Curtis Helm 32’), Gavin Barrett, Lucas Barrett
Justin Baarts; Devin Smith, Jason Gill, Aaron Richer (Julio Alveraz 59’), Blair Robertson, Sebastian Crema, Alex Marrello, Steve Deblasio (Steve Johnson 84’), Nick Perugini, Ryan Reynolds (Ben Hemphill 68’), Ryan Glanville (Steve Johnson 16’) (Brandon Ho 45’) (Ben Hunt 71’)