CHILLIWACK, BC – It was a damp and chilly Friday night at Exhibition Stadium in Chilliwack, BC, for what proved to be a highly competitive contest, as Vancouver Whitecaps FC women (0W-3L-1D) captured their first point of the season in a 1-1 draw with Colorado Rapids Women (1W-0L-1D) in United Soccer Leagues (USL) W-League action. A hearty crowd of 1,005 ‘Caps supporters turned out to support the Blue and White, as they took on the Rapids for the first time this season. The fixture marked the 23rd all-time meeting between Vancouver and Colorado.
With the Rapids being hung up at the border, the game had a delayed start of 7:55 p.m. PT, but that did not dampen the mood for ‘Caps supporters out in the ‘Wack, as they were loud and supportive from the first whistle. Whitecaps FC rewarded their faithful by carrying the play and attacking early against Colorado.
The hard work paid dividends, as ‘Caps forward Marissa Mykines pushed the ball through the Rapids box, and was taken down just as she was winding up to shoot. Colorado defender Kelsey Neal was shown a yellow card and the ‘Caps were awarded a penalty. ‘Caps forward Mele French stepped to the spot and buried the shot low to the far post past Rapids goalkeeper Lauren Robertson to give the Blue and White a 1-0 lead on 24 minutes.
“I just tried to make good contact on my penalty,” French told whitecapsfc.com. “I thought we put together a really good game. However, there are areas where we will still have to improve.”
The teams continued to trade chances back and forth. As the first half came to a close, the ‘Caps clung to their 1-0 lead.
As the second half started, the skies opened up and drenched the pitch at Exhibition Stadium. Colorado came out strong in the second half and tried to push the pace offensively. Rapids forward Samhia Simao got a ball past ‘Caps defensive stalwart Jenny Jeffers, forcing her to take her down Simao on the edge of the box. As a result, Jeffers was shown a yellow card, and Colorado midfielder Erin Gunther took the free kick and wired it past Gurveen Clair to even the score at 1-1 on 53 minutes.
“There was a lot of stops and fouls in the second half,” said Jesse Symons, Whitecaps FC women’s head coach. “It was hard for us to find a good rythym.”
The Blue and White had a couple of glorious chance to retake the lead, as Paige Adams put a shot just wide and French got stopped on a point-blank chance in the second half.
“We asked the players to push the pace offensively, and I think they responded very well,” noted Symons.
“It was very slick out there on the pitch,” noted Whitecaps FC captain Danielle Johnson. “I think we played really well; our final pass just seemed to let us down tonight.”
The draw gives Vancouver their first point of the season, but luckily the team still has plenty of time with a long road ahead to move upwards within the W-League Western Conference standings. Next on the docket for the ‘Caps women is a road match against Seattle Sounders FC Women next Friday, June 8, at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila, Washington. The Blue and White then return home for a match against LA Strikers FC, slated for Wednesday, June 13. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. PT at Percy Perry Stadium in Coquitlam, BC. For schedule and ticket information, visit whitecapsfc.com or contact Hugh Hamilton at 778-330-1360.
24' - VAN – Mele French (penalty)
53’ – COL – Erin Gunther
Shots: Vancouver 12 - Colorado 5
Saves: Vancouver 4 - Colorado 3
Fouls: Vancouver 23 - Colorado 16
Corners: Vancouver 7 - Colorado 3
Offsides: Vancouver 3 - Colorado 1
23’ - COL – Kelsey Neal
50’ – VAN – Marissa Mykines
52’ – VAN – Jennifer Jeffers
60’ – VAN – Mel French
68’ – COL – Katrine Korsaard
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
30.Gurveen Clair; 28.Brittany Galindo (20.Alison Fenter 81’), 23.Jennifer Jeffers, 33.Shannon Woeller, 4.Danielle Johnson; 29.Mele French, 18.Nicole Setterlund (19.Molly Rouse 45’), 16.Mary Kate McLaughlin (34.Janie Frazao 78’), 8.Demi Stokes; 21.Paige Adams, 24.Marissa Mykines (22.Brandi Vega 55’)
Substitutes not used: 31.Alyssa Williamson; 2.Taylor Paterson, 6.Jaclyn Sawicki
Colorado Rapids Women
1.Lauren Robertson; 6.Laura Thacker, 15.Brooke Spence, 4.Kelsey Neal; 3.Scotti Culton, 19.Erin Gunther, 5.Erin Belle, 7.Megan Woodsworth (17.Lexi Tagen 81’); 11.Katrine Korsaard, 12.Amanda McMullan (10.Ode Fulutudilu 73’), 8.Samhia Simao
Substitutes not used: 0.Kat Donovan; 14.Kelci Newlin, 2.Lynnsey Janes; 15.Allison Belsterling, 16.Kayla Davis