Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency (4W-3L-2D) kick off a Canada Day long weekend of provincial competition on Friday afternoon by hosting Victoria Highlanders FC (6W-3L-2D) in a United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League (PDL) match-up at Richmond’s Minoru Park. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. PT.
Whitecaps FC will then travel to the Fraser Valley on Monday to face Abbotsford Mariners (3W-5L-2D) at Bateman Park at 6 p.m. PT.
Whitecaps FC and Highlanders FC meet for the third and final time in the PDL Western Conference, Northwest Division this season, with the previous two games ending in a 2-2 draw and a 2-1 Residency victory. It is also the third and final meeting of the season between the 'Caps and Abbotsford, with the Residency team winning both of their previous matches by a combined score of three to one.
The Residency team welcome back five players this weekend, as Bryce Alderson, Yassin Essa, Adam Polakiewicz, Matteo Pasquotti, and Daniel Stanese all return from international duty with Canada's U-17 squad following their elimination from the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Mexico this past weekend.
The five returnees each gained an immeasurable amount of experience in Mexico, and should return to PDL action fit and determined to help end the 'Caps current two-game losing streak. Coupled with the addition of MLS roster players Philippe Davies, Alexandre Morfaw, Bryan Sylvestre, and Long Tan, the Residency squad will look to get back in the win column and return to the top of the Northwest Division standings.
Polakiewicz and Pasquotti, and Stanese should help to support a backline that has leaned heavily on captain Derrick Bassi in recent weeks, while Alderson and Essa will help focus the attack and add some finish to a squad that has had no problem generating scoring chances this season.
Victoria come into Friday’s match having won three straight, including back-to-back home victories this past weekend over Abbotsford Mariners and Tacoma Tide. The winning streak has catapulted Highlanders FC into second place in the Northwest Division, five points behind division leaders Kitsap Pumas and three points ahead of defending PDL champions Portland Timbers U-23's.
Pacing Highlanders FC during the recent winning streak has been forward Ashley Burbeary, who accounts for two goals and three assists in the past three matches. Look for Jamar Dixon to complement Burbeary in attack, with goalkeeper Eliot Mitrou handling the last line of defence.
Abbotsford enter Monday's match-up on the back of a 4-1 home victory over Tacoma Tide this past Wednesday night. Although in the middle of the Northwest Division standings, Abbotsford have been able to put forth strong efforts against some of the teams ahead of them, including victories over Portland and North Sound SeaWolves. Leading the attack for the Mariners is forward Sasa Plavsic with three goals in seven appearances, while goalkeeper Lucas Menz has seen the bulk of the action in goal thus far.
Whitecaps FC Residency travel south for a match against Tacoma Tide on Friday, July 8, as they enter the final third of their PDL regular season schedule. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. PT at Curtis High School in Tacoma, Washington.
Friday's match is part of a Canada Day doubleheader at Richmond's Minoru Park. First, at 4 p.m. PT, Whitecaps FC Residency host Victoria Highlanders FC in USL Premier Development League action, then at 7 p.m. PT, the women take the field, as Whitecaps FC and Victoria Highlanders FC meet in an all-British Columbia W-League derby clash. The game is part of the Whitecaps Women's Soccer Series presented by Kia - in partnership with the Girls Metro Soccer League - and is hosted by the Richmond Girls Soccer Association. Tickets for Friday's doubleheader are available online for just $12 at www.whitecapsfc.com/wtickets.