VANCOUVER, BC - Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 look to earn their second consecutive win of the United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development (PDL) regular season in a Friday night showdown with Cascadia rival Portland Timbers U-23 on June 6. The match will kick off at 7 p.m. PT at UBC's Thunderbird Stadium in Vancouver, BC.
The ‘Caps, they won’t have much time to rest, as they head out to Calgary on Sunday. While in Cowtown, the Blue and White are set to take on Calgary Foothills FC U-23 in an exhibition match at 6 p.m. PT. Tickets for the match are only $15 and are available at either the Foothills Box Office or at the Gate.
WHITECAPS FC U-23
The ‘Caps are going into the busy weekend with some momentum, thanks to an excellent performance against Washington Crossfire on Tuesday, June 3. The ‘Caps dominated the flow of play, and it was only an excellent performance from the Crossfire keeper that kept the score at a close 2-1 final. The 'Caps received goals from U-18 Residency product Marco Bustos - who led the U-18 squad wiht 17 goals in 21 matches - as well as Calgary native Cody Cook. The Blue and White were also boosted by the presence of thee players from the MLS roster: goalkeeper Marco Carducci who started and played the full 90 minutes, centre back Christian Dean who also played 90 minutes, and midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy who played 61 minutes.
Head coach Niall Thompson says that the win has only increased the team's focus heading into the remainder of their PDL season.
“It was great to get the first win under our belts,” Thompson told whitecapsfc.com. “The win has energized the team and we're really looking forward to Portland.”
PORTLAND TIMBERS U-23
Where as Whitecaps FC are coming off an inspiring performance, Portland are coming off of a disheartening loss. The Timbers fell 1-0 to the other Cascadia club, Seattle Sounders FC U-23, after a single tally by midfielder Luis Esteves. Despite a valiant effort, the team from Oregon couldn’t get one past the Sounders’ goalkeeper.
Overall, Portland haven't had a great season to date, with a 1W-2L-2D record so far this year.
However, Thompson knows that, given their last matchup with Portland, they are a much better squad than their record would indicate, and to take them lightly would be foolhardy. “We know their qualities from our first game down in Portland. They are quick in transition and if given time they will pass through the midfield. Our challenge to our selves is to compete the whole 90 minutes, physically and mentally.”
CALGARY FOOTHILLS FC U-23
Sunday's match will mark the Blue and White’s first time playing in Calgary in 10 years. The last time the ‘Caps played in Calgary was when the club's first team took on Calgary Mustangs in USL First Division action back on June 18, 2004.
The return to Calgary, and the match against Foothills FC, will be a dual homecoming for ‘Caps defender Sam Adekube and midfielder Mitch Piraux (pictured above). Adekube, who was born in London, moved to Calgary when he was nine, while Piraux was born and raised in Cowtown. Both Adekube and Piraux played for Calgary Foothills FC before heading out to Vancouver. In addition, 17-year-old goalkeeper Marco Carducci is also a Calgary native, as is defender Chris Serban and striker Cody Cook. Centre back Jackson Farmer is from nearby Edmonton.
Foothills FC U-23 currently feature goalkeeper Simon Thomas as a player and coach. Thomas formerly played with Whitecaps FC in MLS and is a product of the Whitecaps FC Residency program.
"We are delighted to host Vancouver Whitecaps FC in Calgary once again after a 10 year absence,” said Foothills FC head coach and technical director Tommy Wheeldon Jr. “They have built a phenomenal franchise in that time from their MLS team down to their Residency program. We hope to put on an entertaining show for the soccer fans of Calgary as we build towards our mission of bringing high level soccer back to this city.”
COMING UP NEXT
After a frantic stretch of games, the ‘Caps will take a well-deserved week off from game action before getting back to work, as they host Puget Sound Gunners FC at Minoru Park Oval next Sunday, June 15. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. PT.