COQUITLAM, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency wrapped up the home portion of their United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) regular season schedule on Saturday afternoon. The host ‘Caps took on their Western Conference foes Real Salt Lake Academy, at Perry Percy Stadium, with the U-18 side earning a 1-1 draw on an equalizer in stoppage time, while the U-16 team fell 1-0 in a hard-fought battle.
Like their MLS counterparts last month, Whitecaps FC U-18 trailed late against Real Salt Lake Academy but would not be denied.
The 'Caps came out aggressive. Just two minutes in, a chance landed at the feet of Kyle Jones six yards from goal, however his shot bounced just wide of the far post.
On four minutes Matthew Chow came close to opening the scoring with a great 20-yard strike destined for the top corner, but the RSL goalkeeper did well to make a diving save and send it off the crossbar and out. Chow had another chance two minutes later, this time firing low but again saved by the keeper.
The visitors had their first chance on seven minutes with a scissor kick in the box, but stopped by goalkeeper Marco Carducci who was coming off his home debut with the first team at BC Place last Wednesday.
After the play slowed, the 'Caps sprung back to life on 28 minutes. Right back Chris Serban bolted up field and played a give-and-go with Chow at the box, but the RSL keeper did well to rush out and block any chance at a shot on net.
The match went into halftime scoreless.
RSL came out on the attack in the second half. The first sign of danger came on 54 minutes when a clear chance was struck high.
The 'Caps wouldn't be so lucky on 62 minutes. A quick counter down the left side was slotted in, giving the visitors a 1-0 lead.
But the Blue and White would not give up, and the equalizer finally came in the third minute of added time. Serban roared down the right and crossed far post. Chow was waiting and smashed in a shot at the death for a 1-1 final score.
"Absolutely pleased for the boys because they deserved something from the work rate they put in today," U-18 assistant coach Steve Meadley told whitecapsfc.com after the match. "We've had some bad luck in games and not gotten results, but that's a good result against a top of the table team in our conference."
U-18 head coach Niall Thompson shared a similar viewpoint on the match. “We thoroughly deserved the point. I thought we out-chanced them and I thought we showed extreme character in the late stages of the game.”
62' - RSL
90'+3' - VAN - Matthew Chow (Chris Serban)
Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-18
22.Marco Carducci; 27.Chris Serban, 15.Evangelos Boucas, 5.Nicholas Prasad, 12.Mike Azuma; 4.Mark Baldisimo, 11.Jordan Haynes; 21.Ali Musse, 8.Matthew Chow, 20.Kyle Jones (41. Terran Campbell 76’); 20.Mason James (9.Dario Zanatta 71’)
Much like their U-18 counterparts, the U-16 squads played a spirited, closely-contested match. However, the end result was slightly different, as the ‘Caps fell 1-0 to Real Sal Lake U-16.
The first chance for either side came in the ninth minute, when RSL’s central midfielder made a nice run through the middle of the park, but shot just wide of the near post from in close.
At 15 minutes, forward Aymar Sigue placed a free kick on net from 25 yards out, but was stymied by the RSL keeper.
Real Salt Lake’s next opportunity to draw first blood came at the 22 minute mark when a shot from the top of the 18-yard box was turned away by ‘Caps goalkeeper Aidan Aylward
Vancouver responded with a prime scoring chance of their own when midfielder Francesco Saporito's free kick from 30 yards out made its way to David Norman on the inside edge of the 18-yard box. Norman took a touch and fired in a dangerous cross that was deflected out for a corner.
Despite the 'Caps dictating the flow of play during the majority of the opening 40 minutes, which included lots of great buildup with the front six, the home side lacked the final touch and were unable to really test the RSL keeper. The two sides entered halftime deadlocked at 0-0.
The second half started with some quick-paced play, as both teams pushed for the opening goal in the first minute. However, strong last second defensive stops by each side’s centre backs prevented shots from inside the 18.
Three minutes after the break, the 'Caps had their best chance of the match. Saporito found Winnipeg-born Daniel Sagno on the right flank with time and space. The right midfielder, who played particularly well on the day, fired in a cross to an open Sigue, however, the big striker’s diving header went just over the bar.
Real Salt Lake answered back with a couple chances of their own around the 50th minute mark. Off of a free kick from 40 yards out, RSL put a header just over the net. Two minutes later, Aylward’s quick reaction to grab the ball during a scramble in his box was all that prevented Salt Lake from scoring.
However, RSL finally broke the deadlock in the 61st minute. A through-ball up the middle found a streaking forward, who made no mistake one-on-one with Aylward.
Norman picked up a second yellow ten minutes later reducing the 'Caps to 10-men for the final minutes. Despite four minutes of added time, Vancouver was unable to find the equalizer.
U-16 head coach Rich Fagan was happy with the play of his squad despite the result, telling whitecapsfc.com, “We played a top team, the second team in the conference, and we showed that we can play with them. For that, I am pleased.”
61’ - RSL
34’ - VAN – Eric de Graaf
56’ - VAN – David Norman
59’ - RSL
65' - RSL
71’ - VAN – David Norman
71’ - VAN – David Norman
Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-16
30.Aidan Aylward; 32.Kadin Chung, 34.Eric de Graaf, 33.Matthew Baldisimo, 35.John Kasper; 13.David Norman, 24.Vana Markarin (38.Macello Polisi 54’); 43.Daniel Sagno, 23. Francesco Saporito, 28.Thomas Gardner; 14.Aymar Sigue (50.Patrick Izett 61')
The ‘Caps Residency look to end their regular seasons on a positive note as they travel just beyond the border to Redmond, Washington to face Crossfire Premier on May 31. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m. PT at 60 Acres Soccer Complex, Field 15.