VICTORIA, BC – On a sunny evening at Royal Athletic Park in Victoria, Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 (3W-2L-0D) battled to a 5-3 win against Victoria Highlanders FC (3W-1L-1D) in their fifth United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League (PDL) match of the season.
With Victoria able to capture the Juan de Fuca Plate with a win tonight, the ‘Caps showed they wanted their own chance to capture the hardware awarded to the top PDL team in British Columbia, which is decided based on the results between Whitecaps FC and Victoria Highlanders FC.
It took just a few minutes for Victoria to score, when on nine minutes striker Jordie Hughes fired a shot past Sean Melvin to give the Highlanders the early lead.
On 15 minutes, the home side increased their lead as Brett Levis deked the ‘Caps defender and slid the ball into the net to give the Highlanders a 2-0 lead.
Ten minutes later, in the 25th minute, the Blue and White fought back and earned a tally as Derrick Bassi’s shot found the back of the net to reduce the Highlander’s lead to one.
The ‘Caps had a wonderful chance to equalize when Harry Lakhan was awarded a penalty kick, but his attempt was stopped by Highlanders’ goalkeeper Elliot Mitrou.
On 37 minutes, the ‘Caps had another opportunity to level the match and this time, Niall Cousens came through for the away side to put the match at 2-2 to end the first half.
An exciting first half set the stage for an eventful second half, as the ‘Caps managed to overtake the Highlanders in the opening minute of the second half with the goal coming from Aminu Abdallah.
Victoria managed to equalize with Hughes scoring his second goal of the match on 56 minutes. Just two minutes later, on 58 minutes, the ‘Caps went back in front with a goal from Gagandeep Dosanjh.
In the 87th minute, Cousens had his second goal of the match and the ‘Caps took a commanding 5-3 lead, which the away side held until the final whistle.
Whitecaps FC head of high performance Stuart Neely was pleased by the determination shown by his side.
“It was an important win, a must win,” commented Neely. “We had a good outcome. Nobody likes to concede so many goals, but at the end of the day as long as you get one more goal than the opponent, that’s what matters. I think tonight we showed tremendous passion and an tremendous amount of character.”
Next up, the Blue and White travel to Washington State to battle Cascadia rivals Seattle Sounders FC U-23 on Sunday, June 2 at Sunset Stadium in Tacoma.
9’ – VIC – Jordie Hughes (Brett Levis)
15’ – VIC – Brett Levis
25’ – VAN – Harry Lakhan (Gagandeep Dosanjh)
37’ – VAN – Niall Cousens (Harry Lakhan)
46’ – VAN – Aminu Abdallah (Harry Lakhan)
56’ – VIC – Jordie Hughes
58’ – VAN – Gagandeep Dosanjh (Niall Cousens)
87’ – VAN – Niall Cousens (Marco Visintin)
Shots: Victoria 10 – Vancouver 16
Saves: Victoria 5 - Vancouver 4
Fouls: Victoria 6 – Vancouver 7
Offsides: Victoria 3 – Vancouver 0
Corners: Victoria 2 – Vancouver 2
73’ – VAN – Ethen Sampson
82’ – VAN – Michael Winter
Whitecaps FC U-23:
13.Sean Melvin, 16.Michael Winter, 6.Adam Clement, 5.Derrick Bassi, 2.Colton O’Neill (4.James Farenhorst 76’); 20.Aminu Abdallah, 7.Harry Lakhan (21.Marco Visintin), 3.Ethen Sampson; 23.Cam Hundal, 17.Niall Cousens, 9.Gagandeep Dosanjh (10.Bobby Jhutty 62’)
Subs not used:
22.Marco Carducci, 12.Sasa Plavsic, 24.Peter Bow
Victoria Highlanders FC:
29.Elliot Mitrou; 23.Adam Ravenhill, 13.Tyler Hughes, 5.Ryan Ashlee, 2.Kalem Scott (20.Thomas Mallette 79’); 10.Riley O'Neill, 14.Matt Polster, 22.Tarnvir Bhandal (12.Blair Sturrock 46’), 11.Craig Gorman (14.Sahil Sandhu 67’); 16.Brett Levis 17.Jordie Hughes
Subs not used:
1.Joel Wilson, 19.Jermele Campbell, 24.Gareth Langdon, 6.Andy Phillips