Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 (0W-1L-0D) will take on Kitsap Pumas (0W-0L-0D) in the second match of their United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League (PDL) season, and the season opener for Kitsap. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 11 at Gordon Park Field in Bremerton, Washington.
The ‘Caps are looking to rebound from a tough late loss in their season-opener at Victoria Highlanders FC as they take on another Northwest Division rival. Since Whitecaps FC U-23 first played Kitsap in 2009, contests between the two clubs have been one-sided in either direction. Over the first five matches between the two clubs, the ‘Caps went 0W-4L-1D while conceding 15 goals over a span of two years. However, in 2012, the tide began to turn for the Blue and White and since that point, they’ve rattled off a record of 2W-0L-2D.
This is the first meeting of the season for both clubs, but Whitecaps FC U-23 head coach Niall Thompson says that they’ve got a pretty good idea of what to expect, at least stylistically, from Kitsap.
“From experience, we know Kitsap will be a very competitive team," Thompson told whitecapsfc.com. "The matchup will be very similar to Victoria. They will have pace and experience, which every team wants. We are expecting Kitsap to come flying out of the gates since it’s their first game of the season.”
WHITECAPS FC U-23
Coming off the adversity of a late 1-0 loss to Victoria, Whitecaps FC U-23 will be looking to chalk up their first victory of the young season as they continue a three-match season-opening road trip.
With many new faces on the squad coming into the season, the group was expecting a challenge against an experienced Highlanders side.
With a match under their belt, Thompson now looks for the team to come together quickly.
“The team was disappointed with the result, but we have a taken a positive from it," said Thompson. "In training this week, you can tell that the players are definitely getting more familiar with each other.”
After finishing last season with a 3W-7L-4D regular season record and missing the playoffs for the first time, Kitsap are looking to rebound in a big way this season.
Though they've lost 2013 top scorer Neil Shaffer, the Pumas did pick up University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) standout Joaquin Rivas, who made an instant impact in his preseason debut. Rivas picked up two goals in his debut, a 4-2 win over Peninsula College at Gordon Field.
The ‘Caps won’t get much time to rest, as they make their way to Oregon to take on Portland Timbers U-23 on Thursday, May 15. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. PT at Providence Park.