Playing their third match of the week, Vancouver Whitecaps FC women wrapped up their California road trip with a 2-1 win against Santa Clarita Blue Heat on a blistering hot Sunday afternoon at Valencia High School in Santa Clarita, California.
With six changes from Friday’s starting line-up, the ‘Caps came out energized and took an early lead on 15 minutes. Jenna Richardson played in Mele French and the Hawaiian struck a shot into the back of the net for her fifth goal of the season and a 1-0 lead.
Having outshot the home team 11 to three in the first half, the ‘Caps looked to be in full control of the match. However, Santa Clarita came back with a goal against the run of play when Stacey Rodwell fired a 25-yard shot over the head of 'Caps goalkeeper Alyssa Williamson to tie the match 1-1.
Not to be denied, Whitecaps FC responded with a second tally, as Richardson rifled a shot from 18 yards out, restoring the lead for the visitors with less than 20 minutes to go. The goal was the fourth in the past three matches for the Surrey, BC, native.
Vancouver continued to press with breakaway chances for Richardson, French, and substitute Brandi Vega, but Blue Heat goalkeeper Cynthia Jacobo came up with save after save to keep her team in the game.
In the end, the final whistle blew and the ‘Caps hung on for their third win of the season and first on the road in 2012.
“The players showed a lot of character today after a frustrating finish against LA Strikers on Friday,” 'Caps head coach Jesse Symons told whitecapsfc.com after the match. “They demonstrated their true spirit and worked extremely hard for this win.
“We’ve been getting better and better. We’re a confident team right now and we’ll look to bring that into our final home match next weekend.”
The 'Caps play their last home match of the season next Sunday, July 8, at Minoru Oval Park in Richmond, BC, when they take on Victoria Highlanders FC at 4 p.m. PT. The match will be a doubleheader, as Whitecaps FC U-23 also take on Victoria in PDL action in the first match at 12 p.m. PT. For schedule and ticket information, go to whitecapsfc.com or contact Hugh Hamilton at 778-330-1360.
15' - VAN - Mele French (Jenna Richardson)
57' - SC - Stacey Rodwell
69' - VAN - Jenna Richardson
Shots: Vancouver 18 – Santa Clarita 8
Saves: Vancouver 1 – Santa Clarita 4
Fouls: Vancouver 7 – Santa Clarita 6
Corners: Vancouver 4 – Santa Clarita 3
Offsides: Vancouver 3 – Santa Clarita 3
Santa Clarita Blue Heat
1.Cynthia Jacobo; 2.Kayla Kret (32.Stacey Rodwell 20'), 20.Taylor Ramirez (17.Sydney Vermillon 16'), 5.Katie Russ, 29.Madison VanDine; 19.Ana Borges, 6.Taryne Boudreau (25.Jessica Luevano 85'), 21.Elizabeth Hein, 9.Marisha Schumacher (16.Shasta Fisher 57'); 18.Edite Fernandes, 11.Laura Luis (8.Rachel Nuzzolese 57')
Substitutes not used: 31.Kaci McCain, 23.Danielle Bitonti
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
31.Alyssa Williamson; 4.Danielle Johnson, 20.Ali Fenter, 33.Shannon Woeller, 8.Demi Stokes; 19.Molly Rouse (25.Jenna Carosio 63’), 18.Nicole Setterlund (16.Mary Kate McLaughlin 67’), 21.Paige Adams (6.Jaclyn Sawicki 45’) (23.Jenny Jeffers 88’); 2.Taylor Patterson (15.Nikki Ambrose 74’), 29.Mele French, 3.Jenna Richardson (22.Brandi Vega 77’)
Substitutes not used: 28.Brittany Galindo