HOUSTON, TX – Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-18 Residency earned an important 1-1 draw against Colorado Rapids Academy on Friday in their final group match at the United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) Finals in Houston, Texas. With the result the U-18 ‘Caps advance to the championship final against FC Dallas U-18 Academy on Sunday at BBVA Compass Stadium – home of Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo.
"I think it was honestly our best performance, even though we didn't get the win,” Whitecaps FC U-18 Residency head coach Craig Dalrymple told whitecapsfc.com. “We held possession by a country mile. We weren't as clinical in the final third as we had been the previous games, but I'm pleased that the players held up the ball for long periods of time and generally made the other team work. It was a good performance and I'm very pleased for the lads."
Only requiring a draw to guarantee their place in the final, the Vancouver youngsters buckled down in the first half to keep things scoreless. Colorado’s back line did well to fend off talented ‘Caps striker Caleb Clarke and despite some good opportunities for both sides, the teams seemed content to round out the first half at 0-0.
Despite the ‘Caps best efforts to keep Colorado off the scoresheet, the Rapids would finally open up the scoring in the 63rd minute when striker Idi Camara capitalized on a Whitecaps turnover and hammered a low drive from the top of the 18-yard-box to take the lead.
The ‘Caps would come close to leveling things seven minutes later. After taking the time to build a strong attack, Yassin Essa played a brilliant ball in to Carlos Patino who’s strike deflected off the post.
But the ‘Caps maintained focus and their diligence finally paid off in the 78th minute after some clever passing from Wesley Cain to Ben Fisk and finally Spencer DeBoice who cut inside past a Colorado defender to knock in the equalizer and tie the match 1-1.
The Blue & White youngsters would get another opportunity to seal the deal just moments later, earning a penalty shot after Carlos Marquez was taken down in the box. Marquez would step up to take the shot himself but fired a touch wide of the woodwork. Regardless, the ‘Caps held on to the draw ensure their progression.
"The team has really come together as a unit which has been a climax of the season so far," explained Dalrymple. "Now they just need to rest and regenerate then I fully expect them to put in another good performance on Sunday."
Sunday's USSDA championship final sees Whitecaps FC square off with the winner of Group 2, FC Dallas U-18 Academy, who defeated Solar Chelsea SC 3-2 on Friday in their final group match to clinch their spot in the final. The U-18 ‘Caps final match will be streamed live with links from whitecapsfc.com. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. PT.
RAP - 65 - Idi Camara
VAN - 78 - Spencer DeBoice