Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-18 and U-16 Residency teams both fell to Seattle Sounders FC Academy in their respective United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) matches in Tukwila, Washington this afternoon.
The U-18’s got off to a slow start against the Sounders at Starfire Sports Complex – conceding two early goals – but fought their way back into the game before eventually losing 4-2.
Despite the result, new U-18 head coach Gordon Forrest made the trip down to see his team in action and was impressed with what he saw.
Meanwhile, the U-16 side took to the field boasting 12 players in their match day squad that were underage.
While coach Craig Dalrymple was disappointed with the 4-0 defeat, he couldn’t fault the effort of his young charges against more experienced opposition.
Whitecaps FC were on the back foot early as Seattle found the back of the net twice inside the first 11 minutes.
The visitors pulled a goal back through a neat free kick from striker Spencer DeBoice in the 18th minute but they couldn’t score another goal before halftime despite creating chance after chance.
After the interval, the Sounders struck twice within a span of 10 minutes before Liam Elbourne headed home a cross eight minutes from time.
Assistant coach Steve Meadley bemoaned his team’s slow start but was proud of their ability to fight back and create opportunities until the final whistle.
“We started late and once we got our legs and got into the game, we were very positive and bright and several scoring chances went begging,” he said. “We were 2-1 down at halftime and really sort of coming on in the game. We missed several chances just before the half and unfortunately we let that third one in which kind of broke our back a bit.
“Then they got the fourth goal. However, right up until the last few minutes of the game we were still creating scoring chances and the amount of chances we had today was quite incredible.
“So full credit to the boys, they kept playing which was pleasing, the effort was there and it obviously gives us a lot of positive things to go forward with."
Forrest observed the U-18 side in action for the first time and said he liked what he saw both from an individual and team perspective.
“There were lots of positives from the game,” he said. “We won’t focus on the final result, we just created a lot of chances and there were lots of good things that we can take into the future.
“First and foremost, our goal is to produce players that can play at the first-team level so sometimes you’ve got to take that focus away from the final result to try and achieve these goals.
“It’s always good to end up getting results but that will come. The harder we work and the more things we can implement together, we might up getting that desired end result."
Whitecaps FC U-18 lineup (4-3-3):
Nolan Wirth; Matthew van der Eyden, Jackson Farmer, Alejandro Varela, Sam Adekugbe; Mitch Piraux, Kianz Froese (Liam Elbourne 62’), Carlos Marquez (Sebastian Cabrera 57’); Yassin Essa, Brody Huitema (Titouan Chopin 65’), Spencer DeBoice.
It was a valuable learning experience for the young Residency side against a strong Sounders outfit, who scored two goals in each half.
Dalrymple gave starts to two players born in 1998 in Matthew Baldisimo and Terran Campbell and he was pleased with their output.
Disregarding the final score, Dalrymple awarded the team an A and a B for the performance and the application of what they had worked on in training.
“Seattle relied on a lot of speed and power and direct play while we relied a little bit more on finesse and composure,” he said. “Unfortunately we lost the physical battle at both ends of the field, but 12 of the 17 players were underage, so I’m pleased for the lads.
“The performance certainly didn’t correlate with the end result and I think the future is bright for a lot of these young players. If they can perform that well against a very good – and older - MLS academy squad then I’m pleased.
“We have to understand how to win games too but if I look at individual performances across the board, I think everyone can hold their hand up and say they did a good job.”
Whitecaps FC U-16 lineup (4-4-2):
Marco Carducci; Matthew Baldisimo, Alex Comsia, Evangelos Boucas (Marcello Polisi 65’), Jordan Haynes (Olamide Ajibike 60’); Matteo Bordignon, Jeevin Kang (Joshua Cuthbert 72’), Francesco Saporito (Matthew Chow 55’), Marco Bustos, Terran Campbell (A.J. Lopez 70’), Dario Zanatta (Aymar Sigue 55’).