For the second time this season the Whitecaps FC Residency teams earned a split against Cascadia rivals Portland Timbers as they took them on at the Timbers Training Facility on Saturday.
In a reverse of the results in December, it was the U-18s that came away with a win by beating Portland 2-0 whilst the U-16s fell to a 4-0 defeat that did not give a true reflection of the performance of the young team.
After claiming top spot in the league last time out, Whitecaps FC (14W-6L-2D) continued their impressive run of form with a hard fought 2-0 win against Portland Timbers.
They took and early lead when defender Sam Adekugbe stormed forward but was brought down in the box. Yassin Essa kept his composure to score from the resulting penalty and the score remained 1-0 until the break.
Portland looked to get back into the match in the second half and won a penalty of their own on 55 minutes but Sean Melvin produced a save to keep the 'Caps in front.
For much of the second half, Whitecaps FC were penned into their own half as Portland pressed for an equaliser but the result was sealed two minutes into injury time as Liam Elbourne broke with the ball and laid it off to Essa who in turn squared it to Spencer Deboice in the area. The striker took a touch and produced a cool finish to seal the win.
Coach Gordon Forrest was pleased with the performance, particularly as it completed two wins on the spin against fellow MLS academies.
"It was a very positive end result on the road again against another rival MLS club," said Forrest.
"It's always good playing against the other MLS academies. It's a challenge but it's good to see where we're at, where we stand and where we need to go. Over the last few games we've had some really good performances so it's all good for the environment that we're trying to create with the boys and the confidence going forward."
Whitecaps FC U-18 lineup:
Sean Melvin; Quinton Duncan, Jackson Farmer, Nicholas Prasad, Sam Adekugbe; Liam Elbourne, Mitch Piraux, Yassin Essa; Matthew van der Eyden (Dario Zanatta 85'), Titouan Chopin (Aymar Sigue 56'), Spencer Deboice
A depleted Whitecaps FC side (6W-13L-3D) lost 4-0 with all of the goals coming in the second half as the gulf in age between the sides took it's toll.
Whitecaps FC started brightly and could have gone into the break with a couple of goals as Francesco Saporito was twice denied by good saves.
Vagelli Boucas almost opened the scoring when his header beat the Portland 'keeper but came back off the crossbar as the 'Caps maintained the pressure.
Vancouver were made to pay for missing their chances as Portland struck on the counter attack with goals in the 55th and 65th minutes. There were chances for Terran Campbell and Joshua Cuthbert but the game was finally killed off with two further goals on the break on 70 and 75 minutes.
U-16s coach Craig Dalrymple was encouraged by the performance from a team that was lacking many of its regular starters.
"That was probably the best game this group, where we didn't have many of the regular group due to injuries and call-ups, have played this season," commented Dalrymple. "It's not lip service, that's the best performance this squad has had this season."
"It was a very pleasing performance, obviously a disappointing result and the players need to be disappointed with the result and they need to learn from that and harbour those feelings and channel them into something positive. It's important now as coaches that we highlight and emphasize all the positives and success that we had today against an MLS squad that are two years older."
Whitecaps FC U-16 lineup:
William Diaz; Matteo Bordignon (Evan Libke 65'), Vagelli Boucas, Matthew Baldisimo, Eric de Graaf; David Norman, Jeevin Kang, Francesco Saporito; Terran Campbell (Cole Morokhovich 65'), Andy Xu (Daniel Sagno 55'), Joshua Cuthbert (A.J. Lopez 70')