Fresh off a weekend victory in Portland, Vancouver Whitecaps FC reserves (3W-1L-1D) extended their lead at the top of the MLS Reserve League’s West Division standings with a 2-1 victory at Pacific Northwest rivals Seattle Sounders FC reserves (1W-3L-1D) on Friday evening.
Two headed goals by Carlyle Mitchell gave the ‘Caps reserves a second straight Reserve League win, with all of Vancouver’s reserve team victories coming away from home this season. Though Seattle pulled a late goal back through substitute Dominique Dismuke, Paul Ritchie’s side held on to claim all three points at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila, Washington.
Vancouver kept faith with many of the players that put in a fine performance in defeating Portland Timbers reserves last Sunday afternoon, and it was the visitors that looked the brighter side early on. Sounders FC reserve goalkeeper Andrew Weber made an important stop from Darren Mattocks’ close-range header on 14 minutes before Omar Salgado struck a shot wide of the target for the Blue and White.
A big story from Friday’s reserve match was the return to action of Seattle winger Steve Zakuani for the first time since he suffered a leg fracture in a Major League Soccer match at Colorado Rapids in April 2011. His speed and quickness made him a handful for the visitors in the first half, with Whitecaps FC reserves goalkeeper Brad Knighton making a fingertip save to deny Zakuani after he latched on to a Weber clearance on 21 minutes.
The ‘Caps second string took the lead on 26 minutes, with Mitchell scoring his second Reserve League goal of the season. The Trinidad & Tobago international finished a downward header from Michael Nanchoff’s corner to give Vancouver a 1-0 halftime lead. Vancouver nearly extended their advantage before the break, while Seattle’s David Estrada went close to equalizing with a 44th-minute header from a Christian Sivebaek cross.
The second half saw plenty of end-to-end action, with Weber denying Mattocks one-on-one on 54 minutes, while Seattle youngster Aaron Kovar forced Knighton into a good save five minutes later. Whitecaps FC reserves sealed victory with a second head goal of the night from Mitchell on 72 minutes. The Caribbean centre back was left unmarked at the far post to head home Floyd Franks’ free kick from 30 yards out and extend Vancouver’s lead to 2-0. It was Mitchell’s third Reserve League goal of 2012, with all his strikes coming against Sounders FC reserves.
Though they were two goals down, Seattle made it a grandstand finish by pulling a goal back on 81 minutes. A pair of Sounders FC Academy players combined for the consolation strike, as Kovar’s byline cross was slotted home by Dismuke to cut Vancouver’s lead to 2-1. Seattle then had a chance to equalize on 88 minutes, but Knighton did brilliantly to deny Michael Seamon and Servando Carrasco before the final whistle confirmed a third away win for Ritchie’s side.
“It was a fantastic result and I thought the players acquitted themselves very well,” Ritchie told whitecapsfc.com after Friday’s win. “To come away from home and get a victory against a very good Seattle team is fantastic for the players. Very similar to Sunday in Portland, we played some great stuff in the first half and created a number of chances that we didn’t take before hanging on at the end. We chatted with the players about game management and seeing games out, but they are learning all the time, especially the younger players.”
Whitecaps FC reserves are back in Reserve League action on Tuesday, June 12, when they host LA Galaxy reserves at Thunderbird Stadium on the campus of the University of British Columbia (UBC). Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. PT. The ‘Caps second string also have two more home matches remaining this season at UBC Thunderbird Stadium - Monday, July 23, against Chivas USA reserves and Monday, September 10, against San Jose Earthquakes reserves. Kickoff for those two matches is also 11 a.m. PT. Admission to all Reserve League home matches is free of charge.
26' - VAN - Carlyle Mitchell (Michael Nanchoff)
72’ - VAN - Carlyle Mitchell (Floyd Franks)
81’ - SEA - Dominique Dismuke (Aaron Kovar, Michael Seamon)
Shots: Seattle 19 - Vancouver 15
Shots on Goal: Seattle 7 - Vancouver 7
Saves: Seattle 5 - Vancouver 6
Fouls: Seattle 12 - Vancouver 9
Offsides: Seattle 2 - Vancouver 2
Corners: Seattle 3 - Vancouver 9
36’ - SEA - Servando Carrasco
Seattle Sounders FC reserves
33.Andrew Weber; 22.Mike Seamon, 30.Andrew Duran, 40.Michael Gallagher*, 37.Jacob Beck*; 23.Servando Carrasco, 36.Aaron Kovar*, 28.Christian Sivebaek (21.Cordell Cato 81'), 24.Roger Levesque, 11.Steve Zakuani (14.Michael Tetteh 45’); 16.David Estrada (38.Dominique Dismuke* 61’)
Substitutes not used: 35.Bryan Meredith, 39.Jordan Schweitzer*
*Sounders FC Academy player
Vancouver Whitecaps FC reserves
18.Brad Knighton; 32.Greg Klazura, 19.Carlyle Mitchell, 3.Jordan Harvey, 31.Russell Teibert (43.Daniel Stanese** 39’); 26.Floyd Franks, 16.Matt Watson (36.Bryce Alderson 69’), 8.Etienne Barbara; 17.Omar Salgado, 13.Michael Nanchoff (23.Long Tan 56’), 22.Darren Mattocks (34.Caleb Clarke 79’)
Substitutes not used: 1.Callum Irving**
**Whitecaps FC U-23 PDL/Residency