HOUSTON, TX - Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-18 Residency fell to a tough 1-0 defeat at the hands of New York Red Bulls U-18 Academy in their second match of the United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) Finals Week on Tuesday.
The result, combined with Albertson SC’s 4-0 win over Seattle Sounders FC on Tuesday, means that the ‘Caps will now need a win in their final Group 1 match against Albertson on Thursday in order to advance to the USSDA championship final. Vancouver will also need help from their Northwest Division rival Sounders, as Seattle will need to prevent New York from winning to allow the ‘Caps to top the group.
The first half was devoid of many clear chances. Marco Bustos had a shot outside the 18-yard box late in the first half, but it hardly troubled Red Bulls goalkeeper Santiago Castano.
The second half provided far more intrigue.
A huge moment in the match came on 65 minutes when a New York player was deemed to be taken down in the box by substitute Matthew van der Eyden, awarding them a penalty kick. However, Melvin was not about to let his side go down a goal and came up with a massive save to his left before the rebound was shot wide to keep his team in a 0-0 match.
With momentum on their side, the ‘Caps looked to take the lead and nearly did minutes later when Spencer DeBoice got loose in the box and found Kianz Froese, but the midfielder fired over the crossbar. Not long after, Whitecaps FC had another chance as a Yassin Essa corner kick was headed towards goal by Sam Adekugbe, but into the arms of New York’s ‘keeper.
New York came close on 77 minutes, hitting the post. The attacking intent was a sign of things to come as on 80 minutes, Red Bulls Striker Ethan Decker opened the scoring with a brilliant outside of the foot strike across his body that snapped into the far corner and made the score 1-0 in favour of the Eastern-based club.
In the end, the finals whistle came as the 'Caps were unable to secure a win for the first time this postseason.
After the match, head coach Gordon Forrest was confident his team would respond in their final group match.
"It was a tough match, as expected, but these are the type of challenged that we want to face and to learn from," said Forrest. "The boys are obviously dissapointed with the result, but we've been so happy and so proud of their achievements to date. Now we come across another learning situation and we're confident they will react well and pick themselves back up."