In their second visit to Victoria this season, Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 (3W-4L-2D) picked up their first road win of the season against Victoria Highlanders FC in United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League (PDL) action with a 4-2 result on Saturday evening. The match marked the end of four consecutive away matches for the ‘Caps, who now jump above Victoria to fifth place in the PDL Western Conferece, Northwest Division standings with the victory.
Victoria came into the match with back-to-back wins over Fraser Valley Mariners FC earlier this month, and looked to defend their first place lead in the Juan De Fuca Plate derby. The U-23 Whitecaps took to an altered line-up for their second go at the Highlanders. Lucas Menz was given his second start in goal for the ‘Caps, while Bobby Jhutty moved from his defensive post to midfield and Niko Saler made his debut in the Vancouver backline.
Vancouver dictated much of the play in the early stages of the match with a firm grip on possession. Victoria were able to answer back with threatening strikes, the first coming in the 13th minute, but flying just wide from the boot of Jared Stephens.
At the half-hour mark, Menz was called to action for a penalty shot from a hand ball in the 'Caps box against the run of play and made a great save to keep the visitors level going into halftime.
Vancouver took to the pitch with a patient motivation that produced a goal in the 60th minute. After great build-up play from midfield, Ben Fisk hit a one-time strike to give the U-23 Whitecaps the lead and take his season tally to four goals.
Craig Gorman responded for Highlanders FC, quickly scoring an equalizer in the 64th minute with an assist from Ashley Burbeary. Not long after going level, Vancouver was dealt another blow when Bryce Alderson received an unexpected second yellow card for encroachment, bringing Vancouver down to ten men.
The ‘Caps then began a string of extremely effective substitutes, with Michael Marousek replacing Caleb Clarke in the 74th minute and scoring just three minutes later. Coulton Jackson kept the ball rolling after replacing Fisk with another goal on the 83rd minute mark – his second straight game with a goal since returning to the club.
Still with some life left, Victoria found the back of the net again with Gorman’s corner kick cross finding Stephens in the box to draw one back for the Vancouver Island outfit. However, it was the turn of 16-year-old substitute and debutant Kianz Froese to link up with Jackson and put away the fourth and final goal. The result now puts Vancouver tied for first place with Victoria on seven points in the Juan De Fuca Plate derby tournament, with a game in hand over Highlanders FC.
“It was probably the most eventful game I’ve been involved in,” head coach Craig Dalrymple told whitecapsfc.com. “Today was the first time in the last few weeks where we looked good in possession and didn’t lose the result with errors. It’s important for the boys to understand that they have quality and they trust and believe that they can do good things. They’re beginning to show the organization's winning mentality, which is important for the future.”
Next up for Whitecaps FC U-23 is a return to the friendly confines of Simon Fraser University Field #4, where they meet Washington Crossfire on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. PT.
60' – VAN – Ben Fisk
64' – VIC – Craig Gorman (Ashley Burbeary)
77' – VAN – Michael Marousek
83' – VAN – Coulton Jackson
90' – VIC – Jared Stephens (Craig Gorman)
90' – VAN – Kianz Froese (Coulton Jackson)
Shots: Victoria 14 - Vancouver 8
Saves: Victoria 2 - Vancouver 6
Fouls: Victoria 18 - Vancouver 5
Offsides: Victoria 1 - Vancouver 4
Corners: Victoria 3 - Vancouver 1
45’ - VIC - Jared Stephens
64’ - VAN - Bryce Alderson
70’ - VAN - Bryce Alderson
70’ - VAN - Bryce Alderson
Victoria Highlanders FC
29.Elliott Mitrou; 2.Kalem Scott, 9.Matt Mehrassa, 13.Tyler Hughes, 15.Andrew Ravenhill, 18.Liam Davis (12.Sasa Plavsic 89’); 16.Sourosh Amani, 17.Jordan Hughes (6.Josh Heard 80’); 10.Ashley Burbeary, 11.Craig Gorman, 19.Jared Stephens
Substitutes not used: 1.Rab Bruce-Lockhart, 5.Ashlee Ryan, 20.Thomas Mallette, 23.Stephen Ewashko, 26.Daniel Cato
Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23
30.Lucas Menz; 20.Tyrin Hutchings, 2.James Farenhorst, 4.Shawn Parkes, 13.Niko Saler; 5.Bobby Jhutty, 11.Reynold Stewart, 22.Bryce Alderson; 18.Cam Hundal (3.Kianz Froese 60’), 23.Caleb Clarke (21.Mike Marousek 74’),10.Ben Fisk (17.Coulton Jackson 77’)
Substitutes not used: 1.Callum Irving, 15.Gagan Josan, 19.Sangyoon Hwang