Vancouver Whitecaps FC women (2W-3L-3D) are coming off an impressive weekend. One, in which, they captured four out of a possible six points in the United Soccer Leagues (USL) W-League.
This included a 2-0 victory over Santa Clarita Blue Heat on Friday and a 0-0 draw against the first-place Pali Blues on Sunday.
Now, the ‘Caps face their toughest test of the season, as they travel to California to take on Pali in the second match of a back-to-back series of league games. Jesse Symons' side, who are now unbeaten in five straight matches, will look to extends that streak it six games on Wednesday night.
This will mark the start of the ‘Caps longest road trip of the season, as the Blue and White will be California dreaming, with three games over the Canada Day long weekend.
Vancouver's last game was a hard fought defensive stalemate with the Blues at Kinsmen Stadium in North Vancouver, BC. The ‘Caps became the first team to capture a point off the W-League Western Conference leaders.
Although Whitecaps FC played well, they did not quite generate enough offensively. “I look for us to be more aware and precise in regards to when we can play through them,” Symons told whitecapsfc.com.
The ‘Caps will also look to come up with a game plan to deal with Pali’s size, as their centre back combination of Christie Shaner and former Vancouver player Sasha Andrews gave the 'Caps fits, especially on set-pieces.
“We have to focus on not giving up so many fouls,” noted Symons. “We controlled their centre backs on set-pieces pretty well, but you can’t give them endless chances to score.”
Overall, it was a tidy defensive performance from a Whitecaps FC team that is looking to get as many points as they can right now to help them climb up the Western Conference standings.
“The players were pleased to get a point off Pali, but nowhere near satisfied,” claimed Symons. “We will look to carry the momentum we have created over the last five games forward.”
Pali returns home for their first home game in over three weeks. The Blues are coming off a five-game road trip and one which saw Pali play three games in six days in the Pacific Northwest.
Charlie Naimo’s squad captured a huge 2-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC Women last Wednesday, then a 4-0 victory over Victoria Highlanders FC on Friday night. However, on Sunday afternoon, they succumbed to their fatigue and a focused ‘Caps squad.
The draw was the first point Pali has given up to an opponent this season, as they have amassed a record of 9W-0L-1D, while having a goal differential of plus 24.
Although the Blues carried the majority of the play, the ‘Caps back four, along with goalkeeper Gurveen Clair, were solid and kept a dangerous Pali attack at bay.
With only four games remaining on the Blues schedule and all of them coming at home, Pali will look to wrap up top spot in the Western Conference in their coming games.
Whitecaps FC women will then travel to the greater Los Angeles area and venture to Occidental College to take on LA Strikers this Friday night at 7 p.m. PT.
The Blue and White return home for their final home match of the season versus British Columbia rivals Victoria Highlanders FC on Sunday, July 8. Kickoff from Minoru Park in Richmond, BC, is set for 4 p.m. PT.