Playing in their first United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) Winter Showcase, Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency teams had to settle for a pair of draws versus FC Dallas Academy at the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, on Friday.
In what was the first of three non-conference matches for both the U-16 and U-18 Residency squads this weekend, both sides faced one of the top USSDA clubs in the academy teams of Major League Soccer rivals FC Dallas on a warm and windy day in Florida.
In the early match, the U-18 Residency side were held to a 2-2 draw by FC Dallas Academy U-17/18’s. The U-16 Residency squad also had to settle for a stalemate after a 1-1 draw with FC Dallas Academy U-15/16’s.
In what was a highly anticipated morning game, the U-18 Residency squad took a two-goal lead over FC Dallas Academy U-17/18’s. Recent MLS signing Bryce Alderson gave Vancouver the lead with a fine strike off the underside of the bar on 28 minutes. The young ‘Caps extended their lead on 53 minutes from the penalty spot, with Caleb Clarke converting after the striker was initially taken down in the FC Dallas box. However, the Texas-based outfit pulled a goal back three minutes later before earning a draw with a second goal on 80 minutes.
“This was a very tough game for us today, but these are the type of games we want to play because it’s these kind of games that help players get better,” Residency technical director and head coach Richard Grootscholten told whitecapsfc.com. “FC Dallas have very mature players and are one of the best teams I’ve seen in the Academy league, so I’m pleased with the way we competed against them today.”
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency U-18
Callum Irving; Adam Polakiewicz, Daniel Stanese, Jason van Blerk, Declan Rodriguez; Alex Rowley (Tim Hickson 73’), Bryce Alderson (Ben McKendry 45’), Ben Fisk; Spencer DeBoice (Wesley Cain 62’), Yassin Essa (Carlos Marquez 70’), Caleb Clarke
Subs not used: Marco Carducci, Titouan Chopin
Playing two 40-minute halves, the U-16 Residency side had a similar outcome as their U-18 club teammates, as they were held to a 1-1 draw by FC Dallas Academy U-15/16’s. Vancouver took the lead just before halftime from a corner played into the far post. Defender Sam Adekugbe headed the ball back across the face of goal, where striker Brody Huitema was on hand to head home for 1-0. The lead lasted until near the midway point of the second half, as FC Dallas equalized on the counter-attack on 57 minutes to earn the draw with their Canadian opponents.
“We played well against a good FC Dallas team, but there weren’t a lot of chances from our side during the game,” said Grootscholten. “We played with a pretty young squad that included some of our U-14 Residency players. We might have deserved a little bit more from this game, but we’re pleased with what we got from the match. We also received some very positive feedback from people at the Showcase as well.”
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency U-16
Nolan Wirth; Quinton Duncan, Jackson Farmer, Alex Comsia, Sam Adekugbe (Matthew van der Eyden 57’); Ali Musse, Mitch Piraux, Carlos Patino (Marco Bustos 52’); Sebastian Cabrera (Francesco Saporito 65’), Brian Im (Titouan Chopin 40’), Brody Huitema
Subs not used: Jasdeep Lally, Elijah Adekugbe, Evan Libke, A.J. Lopez