Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency teams are back in action on Saturday - almost a month after their last United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) matches.
The U-16 and U-18 sides will make the relatively short trip to Redmond, Washington to take on Crossfire Premier. The U-18 match kicks off at 11 a.m. PT with the U-16s due to start at 1.30 p.m. PT.
The U-18 squad will look to build on their 1W-2L-0D record, while the U-16 team will look for a first win on the season.
The last time the Residency outfits were in action was on September 22, with the U-18s and U-16s falling to Real Salt Lake AZ 3-1 and 2-0 respectively.
Residency assistant coach Martin Nash will be at the helm for this weekend’s games, which will see another set of challenges in the development of the young 'Caps
The U-18’s currently sit in sixth position in the Northwest Division of the West Conference and after opening the season with a 3-1 defeat of Pateadores.
It will be a tough test, with Crossfire occupying second place on the table with a 2W-1L-OD record.
Although there is firepower waiting to be unleashed up front, the team needed to show more balance across the pitch, Nash said.
“They’ve been a little inconsistent since the first game,” he noted. “But it’s still early in the season and they’ve been training hard and working as a team.”
However, conceding six goals in the past two matches has been a concern for the coaching staff.
“They’ve got a lot of talent, but we want to be a bit more solid defensively than we have been the last two games,” said Nash. “They have a lot of talent going forward so hopefully the defenders can defend well and leave the forwards with some freedom in attack.
“It’s a good test to see where they stand. Crossfire love to get stuck in, so it’s going to be a really competitive game and we must stand up to the challenge.”
The U-16s will be looking to tighten the ship defensively and find more potency up forward against a team that is also winless this season.
“We want to be better defensively,” Nash told whitecapsfc.com. “Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been trying to become more solid at the back, while on the other side of the ball, we’re looking to penetrate the backline a bit more and create more opportunities on goal.
“We’ve struggled to get many numbers forward at times, so we’ve also been working on our transition from defence to attack to rectify that.”
Nash said a bright start and playing with a high level of intensity would help the boys.
“Obviously we want to win, but we’re trying to build the team up,” he said. “It’s been a bit of a struggle from our results, so the trick is to get a good start.
“We’ve got to have the right mindset. Crossfire teams love to battle, so we’ve got to match their intensity as well. It’s going to be an interesting game. They’re in the same boat as us (in terms of goals scored and against) so we can take advantage of that ourselves.”