Whitecaps FC U-23 vs. Kitsap - PDL
Farhan Devji/Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 earn hard-fought 1-1 draw with Kitsap Pumas at Percy Perry Stadium

COQUITLAM, BC – Cody Cook scored his team-leading third goal of the season as Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 (0W-2L-3D) earned a 1-1 draw with Kitsap Pumas (1W-0L-3D) Wednesday evening at Coquitlam’s Percy Perry Stadium.

After surrendering an early own goal, the ‘Caps fought back and controlled most of the match against a physical Pumas side, which recorded 24 fouls to Vancouver’s 12.

It was the second 1-1 draw between Vancouver and Kitsap in United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League (PDL) action this season – the young ‘Caps have now earned a point in three of their five matches.

“We had the majority of possession and created some great chances,” said Whitecaps FC U-23 coach Niall Thompson. “The own goal kind of got us down for a second but we rebounded and started to play our game. Unfortunately, we only got the one goal.”

The visiting Pumas opened the scoring in the fifth minute, when a long throw-in deflected off Whitecaps FC U-23 midfielder Harry Lakhan into the top right corner of the goal.   

Kitsap didn’t have much of a sniff at goal in the first half aside from the early marker. In fact, they didn’t register any shots. The ‘Caps looked organized defensively and dominated possession, but simply couldn’t crack the stingy Pumas back line.

Vancouver’s best chance of the half came in the 33rd minute. The play started with a pinpoint Lakhan pass to Kianz Froese at the left corner of the box. Froese then laid off a short pass to his Residency teammate Marco Bustos, who took a touch before firing his left-footed attempt over the goal.

Whitecaps FC U-23 striker Niall Cousens, who was playing atop Vancouver’s 4-2-3-1 formation, also caused some problems for the Pumas with his presence in the box. But a fairly uneventful first half, which saw first-team midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy play 45 minutes as he continues his road to recovery from a torn left ACL, ended with Kitsap up 1-0.

The Pumas nearly struck on the counter early in the second half, but Whitecaps FC first-team goalkeeper Paolo Tornaghi disrupted the play with well-timed sliding clearance at the edge of his box. 

And just a few minutes later, the Blue and White got their equalizer.

In the 62nd minute, centre back Nicholas Prasad headed a Bustos free kick across the face of goal to Cook, who tapped it in from close range to get Whitecaps FC U-23 on the board.

The ‘Caps kept pushing forward in the latter stages of the second half. Bustos was involved again in the 79th minute, when he headed a Mitch Piraux cross just over the goal.

Vancouver came close again in stoppage time, when Tornaghi alertly sent a long ball down the flank to Bustos. This time, the Residency midfielder played a cross into Cousens, but his header was blocked before the final whistle sounded.

Despite outshooting their Western Conference, Northwest Division rival by an 11-3 margin, Whitecaps FC were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw on a rainy evening in Coquitlam.

“We have some very young players who are playing and we have to remember that this is a development league,” Thompson said. “It’s to get our U-18s and our young pros to the next level and playing this type of physical team is going to help our development.”

Scoring Summary
5’ – VAN – Harry Lakhan (own goal)
62’ – VAN – Cody Cook (Nicholas Prasad)

Match Stats
Shots: Vancouver 11 – Kitsap 3
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 2 – Kitsap 1
Saves: Vancouver 1 – Kitsap 2
Fouls: Vancouver 12 – Kitsap 24
Offsides: Vancouver 0 – Kitsap 3
Corners: Vancouver 4 – Kitsap 6

38’ – KIT – Brodie Steigerwald
48’ – KIT – Justin Ortinau
52’ – KIT – Patrick Kelly
55’ – KIT – Rene DeZorci
67’ – KIT – Mike Chamberlain
85’ – VAN – Harry Lakhan

Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23
22.Paolo Tornaghi; 27.Chris Serban, 6.Jordian Farahani, 5.Nicholas Prasad, 2.Colton O'Neill; 7.Harry Lakhan, 8.Mehdi Ballouchy (17.Mitch Piraux 45’); 28.Marlon Ramirez (18.Sean Einersson 74’), 10.Marco Bustos, 19.Kianz Froese (24.Cody Cook 45’); 9.Niall Cousens

Unused subs: 
1.Nolan Wirth, 4.Mark Baldisimo, 11.Jordan Haynes, 30.Adam Jones

Kitsap Pumas
18.Matthew Grosey; 9.Rene DeZorzi, 3.Cory Keitz, 2.Cody Shelton, 23.Brodie Steigerwald; 7.Kevin Finlayson, 13.Patrick Kelly (19.Andrew Devlin 56’), 20.Jose Mendoza, 4.Justin Ortinau (5.Trevor Jensen 69’); 16.Mike Chamberlain (14.Sebastiaan Jansen 74’), 17.Joaquin Rivas (12.Tommy Catalano 56’)

Unused subs:
0.Patrick “Jared” Wilson, 1.Joe Rayburn,  21.George Bundy