Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23 will look to earn their third straight United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League (PDL) win when they take on Puget Sound Gunners FC at Percy Perry Stadium in Coquitlam this Sunday, June 15. The match is scheduled to kick off at 3 p.m. PT
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC U-23
All season, assistant coach Steve Meadley has insisted that “as the long as the boys keep playing hard and play the Whitecaps way, the results will come.”
Well, it seems that the team’s patience is starting to pay off, as the ‘Caps have rattled off two straight victories in the last couple of weeks, the last of which was a dominant 4-1 win against Portland Timbers U-23 on May 31.
Led by midfielders Marco Bustos and Kianz Froese - up-and-coming young players who have developped through the organization’s Residency program - the Blue and White were relentless in their pursuit of the ball in each third of the field. The team did well to not let many quality chances through to 17-year old goalkeeper Marco Carducci, but even when they did, the Calgarian goalkeeper stood tall.
Bustos opened up the scoring in the 22nd minute with a beautiful header off of a Marlon Ramirez corner. Brunkild, Manitoba native Froese added to the lead in the 59th minute, as he made a great run to get past his defender and slot it behind the Timbers keeper, putting the ‘Caps up 2-0. After Portland got one back in the 68th minute, Vancouver sealed the result at the death, with Bustos and Ramirez both scoring in stoppage time.
Whitecaps FC head coach Niall Thompson was pleased with the showing against Portland.
“It was a great performance,” Thompson told whitecapsfc.com. “The staff are happy that the boys are playing our style of football and creating lots of scoring chances.”
PUGET SOUND GUNNERS FC
Gunners FC have gone into a tailspin of late with three losses in their last four matches, although they have a chance to rectify that with a win on Saturday, June 14 against Victoria Highlanders FC.
Their last match was a 0-0 draw against Washington Crossfire on June 9. Despite the empty scoring summary, Puget Sound dominated the flow of play, directing 17 shots at the Washington net, forcing the keeper to make an impressive 12 saves.
With their recent slide, Puget Sound’s record of 1W-3L-2D has them fifth in the Northwest Division. However, even with their record over the past few weeks, Thompson isn’t taking Gunners FC lightly.
“From the footage and scouting reports, we know Puget Sound are a physical, quick team,” Thompson said. “Their attacking transition is direct and quick, and we have to make sure we recover well, put pressure on the ball, and deny space for them to attack.”
Whitecaps FC have recently taken a lead in the all-time series between these two clubs, as their two wins in 2013 have given them a 4W-2L-0D record against Puget Sound Gunners FC (formerly known as North Sound SeaWolves FC until the 2013 season).
Turnabout is fair play, as Whitecaps FC head across the border on June 20 to take on Gunners FC in a rematch on their home turf. The match is set to kick off at 7 p.m. PT at Issaquah High School in Issaquah, Washington.