A stellar performance from the U-18s highlighted a pair of away matches for Whitecaps FC Residency teams as they took on San Juan Soccer Club at Mather Soccer Complex Saturday.
In their first matches since the Christmas break, the U-18s stormed to an emphatic 9-0 win whilst the U-16s battled their way to a 0-0 draw and a well earned point.
With a clean sheet apiece and plenty of positives to be taken from their performances, both teams will be happy to have picked up points to continue their successful seasons.
Whitecaps FC (6W-5L-5D) showed a ruthless streak in front of goal as they tormented the San Juan SC backline.
Yassin Essa started the rout after 10 minutes and there were further goals for Sam Adekugbe in the 18th minute and Brody Huitema in the 20th minute before Essa completed a first half hat-trick with finishes in the 39th and 41st minutes. Huitema notched his second of the game on the stroke of halftime to give Whitecaps FC a commanding 6-0 lead going into the break.
The goals continued to come in the second half with Kianz Froese scoring on 48 minutes, and Carlos Marquez on 56 minutes, before Essa scored the pick of the bunch with a strike into the top corner from outside the box in the 70th minute.
Coach Gordon Forrest was understandably pleased with the performance and pointed to the hard work put in at training since coming back from the holiday break as the decisive factor for his team.
"We worked on a few things in training during the week and all those things clicked," said Forrest. "Our possession was one of our key focuses and not to lose any goals.
"We created quite a few chances today and they had to work very hard to create the chances. They were clinical with their finishing today."
"The result is the outcome of all these processes that we've been focusing on. They've prepared well over the past couple of weeks and it was great to be back playing."
Whitecaps FC U-18 lineup:
Sean Melvin; Quinton Duncan, Jackson Farmer, Nicholas Prasad, Sam Adekugbe (61 Matthew Van der Eyden); Kianz Froese (55 Marco Bustos), Mitch Piraux, Carlos Marquez (58 Liam Elbourne), Yassin Essa, Titouan Chopin; Brody Huitema
A young Whitecaps FC side (6W-4L-2D) battled to gain a point but Craig Dalrymple's side were frustrated by a terrific goalkeeping performance in the San Juan SC net.
With several players making their debut at this level, Whitecaps FC grew into the game, but they were unable to grab a decisive goal despite a particularly strong showing in the second half.
Terran Campbell came closest with a chance that went just past the post while his teammates were stumped by a number of quality saves to keep the scores level.
Dalrymple was encouraged by his side's ability to cope with the physicality of the game, especially after the long break. "We got beat up a little bit and caught off guard a bit in the first half due to us not playing since December 14," he said.
"Second half we regrouped and controlled the match. We created a lot of chances and were very resolute with our defending. I'm pleased for the boys, the performance was good especially in the second half."
The coach reserved special praise for the younger members of the squad. "We played five U-15 players, some played full games and some came on and made the difference, so I was pleased for them to come in.
"David Norman, Liam Fraser, Tommy Gardner; this is their first exposure to this level and they acquitted themselves well. The future is very bright".
Whitecaps FC U-16 lineup:
Matthew Baldisimo (65 Bordignon), Vagelli Boucas, Alexander Comsia, Jordan Haynes, Thomas Gardner, Francesco Saporito (75 Liam Fraser), Joshua Cuthbert (41 Terran Campbell), Matthew Chow, Aymar Sigue, Dario Zanatta (70 David Norman)