VANCOUVER, BC – After a lengthy holiday break, Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency teams will continue the United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) season with a pair of Californian clashes against LA Galaxy and Chivas USA.
The U-18 and U-16 boys will play their first USSDA games in 2014 after a much deserved winter break. The StubHub Center will play host to the clashes on Saturday, February 8 against LA Galaxy, while Bell Gardens will be the venue for Sunday's tilts on February 9 against Chivas USA.
Craig Dalrymple takes over as the interim U-18 head coach after former head coach Gordon Forrest move to become assistant coach for the first team.
“I’ve been around this group for four years now, a lot of these players I’ve seen enter the system," Dalrymple told whitecapsfc.com. "I’m very familiar with the boys, so it’s going to be seamless. For me it’s exciting to see these boys grow. I’ve seen them develop over the last three to four seasons and to see them work day-in and day-out is exciting.”
Whitecaps FC’s U-18 squad currently sits in second place in the West Conference, Northwest Division with a record of 9W-3L-1D. The ‘Caps most recent action saw them attain an even 1W-1L-1D record in December’s Winter Showcase, highlighted by a 4-0 shutout of IMG Academy on December 12.
The ‘Caps have had a better start to the 2013-14 campaign at the halfway point, compared to the 2012-13 season where they attained a record of 7W-5L-1D after 13 games last season. The Blue and White also hold a 3W-1L-1D road record.
Midfielder Kianz Froese leads the squad with six tallies, while his good friend Marco Bustos is second on the team with five goals. Both players have been in Casa Grande, Arizona, at preseason training with the 'Caps first team, as has goalkeeper Marco Carducci, defender Jackson Farmer, and midfielder Mitch Piraux. Bustos, Farmer, Froese, and Piraux will all join up with the U-18 Residency team in California.
LA Galaxy are currently second in the West Conference, Southwest Division with a record of 9W-3L-2D, leading their division in wins.
In the previous season, Whitecaps FC won the lone meeting against LA Galaxy by a score of 3-0. Midfielders Titouan Chopin and Piraux registered tallies for the ‘Caps, while graduated striker and current Duke University product Brody Huitema also scored in the home triumph. Goalkeeper and U-17 Canadian Player of the Year Carducci obtained the clean sheet in the victory.
Whitecaps FC will then meet fellow MLS youth academy Chivas USA on Sunday, February 9. The Red and White currently hold down third place in the West Conference, Southwest Division with a record of 7W-3L-3D. The ‘Caps were bested by the Goats in their last meeting during the 2012-13 season by a score of 2-3. Huitema managed to score both goals for the Blue and White in a back and forth affair.
“It’s been a long break for our boys. Our last match was middle of December in Florida for the showcase," noted Dalrymple. "We’re eager and keen to get back into match play. We’ve had a few exhibition games over the month of January to prepare us. We’re going to play LA Galaxy and Chivas USA which are good matchups. Obviously they are the tops sides and it gives us an opportunity to compare ourselves to the best. We should be firing on all cylinders.”
Whitecaps FC’s U-16s kick off the second half of the season coming in on a four-match win streak, placing them second in their division with a 8W-2L-3D record and a division high 29 goals scored.
The ‘Caps also went undefeated for a second consecutive year in the USSDA Winter Showcase, boasting a 3W-0L-0D record, shutting out Colorado Rapids and Players Development Academy to end 2013.
In the match versus Players Development Academy in their most recent contest, 'Caps striker Aymar Sigue converted a penalty kick at 60 minutes of play for the game winner. Sigue has scored three goals in the last two games, leading the team with nine goals and exceeding his four goal output from last season. Goalkeeper Aidan Aylward also collected his second consecutive clean sheet.
LA Galaxy are currently undefeated in 2013-14, holding the most wins in the West Conference, Southwest Division, while leading their division with 44 goals scored. Even with those impressive outputs, they still sit second to Real Salt Lake in the West Conference, Southwest Division with a record of 10W-0L-4D.
In the previous season the ‘Caps were shut out at home by LA Galaxy 3-0 on February 16, 2013. Galaxy notable Haji Wright - who has also starred for the United States U-17 national team - scored two goals in each half.
Chivas USA are currently fifth in the West Conference, Southwest Division with a record of 5W-6L-2D. The Goats have only two wins at home this season out of seven matches.
“The boys are excited to be back playing," said U-16 head coach Rich Fagan. "It’s been a long layover since our last competitive game in Florida. Everybody is really fired up and ready to play."