Ben Fisk
Bob Frid

Late heroics earn Whitecaps FC Residency an important PDL away win over Tacoma Tide on Friday night

With the first challenge of a two-match weekend road trip in the books in the United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League (PDL), Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency (6W-4L-2D) disposed of hosts Tacoma Tide FC (1W-10L-3D) 2-1 in Washington State on Friday night.

After drawing with the Tide on Bell Pitch at Empire Field back on June 3, the Residency team got some last-minute heroics from Ben Fisk to earn an important road victory in the latter stages of their 2011 PDL season. Fisk’s goal, which came in the 89th minute, was a tough pill to swallow for Tacoma, as Fisk sent in a long cross that miraculously found its way over the Tide goalkeeper Jordan Jennings and into the back of the net for the match winner.

With the victory, the young 'Caps were able to kickstart the beginning of a three-match road spell on the right note. "Tonight’s match was a very high tempo game and a very physical atmosphere. I was very proud of the way we played and it is always nice to get the win," said Residency head coach Richard Grootscholten. "This will give us a lot of confidence heading into our match on Sunday against Portland. The guys are very happy right now."

Led by Major League Soccer roster players Philippe Davies and Alexandre Morfaw, the Residency team used their size, speed, and experience to handle a difficult Tacoma side, who currently sit in the basement of the PDL's Western Conference, Northwest Division standings. With goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre not able to travel with the squad due to injury, Sean Melvin received the nod from Grootscholten to start in goal and backstop Whitecaps FC to victory in 'The City of Destiny'.

Action picked up early in the match, as the Residency team came out hungry, looking to establish positive energy away from Empire Field and work on their overall goal of finishing scoring opportunities early. Vancouver scored their first goal on five minutes with a creative passing play that saw forward Caleb Clarke find Yassin Essa sprinting behind the Tide centre back before he pounded a left-footed strike past the Tacoma goalkeeper for a 1-0 lead.

The match was a physical endeavour that saw plenty of aggressive tackling and competitive spirit, and that allowed the Tide to climb back into the match. By the end of the first half, Tacoma had replied with a goal of their own when Cameron Vickers set up Kellan Brown to make it 1-1. The equalizer seemed to have both sides destined for another draw.

Yet, with the help of Davies, who played his best match of the PDL campaign, and a strong all around effort from Bryce Alderson, the Residency team were able to strike the decisive winner right at the end of the contest through Fisk.

With the win, Whitecaps FC Residency currently sit in a two-way tie for second place in the PDL's Western Conference, Northwest Division, and will be looking to use their upcoming fixtures to secure second spot and the final playoff berth in the standings. The side that is able to claim that final postseason berth will join Kitsap Pumas in the PDL playoffs, with the Washington State outfit having been the Northwest Division’s premier squad all season long.

Whitecaps FC Residency will continue their two-match road trip, as they travel to 'The City of Roses' to battle Portland Timbers U-23's on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. PT. Following this weekend’s action, the Residency team will travel back into Washington State for a date with Kitsap Pumas on Saturday, July 16, at 6 p.m. PT. Tacoma, meanwhile, will battle another British Columbia opponent in Abbotsford Mariners on Sunday before concluding their PDL season against Washington Crossfire on Friday, July 22.

Scoring summary:
5' - VAN - Yassin Essa (Caleb Clarke)
45' - TAC - Kellen Brown (Cam Vickers)
89' - VAN - Ben Fisk

Match Stats:
Shots: Vancouver 11 – Tacoma 6
Saves: Vancouver 1 – Tacoma 2
Fouls: Vancouver 3 – Tacoma 8
Offside: Vancouver 1 – Tacoma 3
Corners: Vancouver 4 – Tacoma 1

27' – TAC - Facundo Dipascuale
30' – TAC - Devin Thomas
49' – TAC - Devin Thomas
70' – TAC - Brandon Henry

49' - TAC - Devin Thomas

Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency
30.Sean Melvin; 5.Derrick Bassi, 12.Tim Hickson, 19.Jason van Blerk (4.Daniel Stanese 74'), 20.Adam Polakiewicz; 8.Bryce Alderson, 11.Spencer DeBoice, 15.Philippe Davies, 16.Alexandre Morfaw (10.Ben Fisk 79'); 9.Caleb Clarke, 22.Yassin Essa (17.Carlos Marquez 78')

Subs not used: 1.Callum Irving, 3.La'Vere Corbin-Ong, 25.Alex Rowley

Tacoma Tide
1.Jordan Jennings; 2.Brandon Henry, 3.Devin Thomas, 13.Michael Uyehara (15.Quinn Grisham 86'), 25.Elliot Morton; 11.Daniel Gray, 22.Austin Kelly, 23.Facundo Dispasquale (9.Quinton Beasley 85'); 4.Cameron Vickers, 6.Chase Tangney (10.Rory Agu 73'), 10.Kellan Brown

Subs not used: 5. Adam Bettencourt, 21.Max Thomas, 27.Jimmy Baggett