VANCOUVER, BC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC Residency teams begin their quest in the United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) playoffs this week, with both U-18 and U-16 sides qualifying for postseason action.
The two sides roll into Westfield, Indiana with high expectations, after both put out strong outings in the regular season.
WHITECAPS FC U-16: 20W-5L-7D, 1st place in the Northwest
The U-16s enter the USSDA Playoffs after rounding out the regular season with four wins in their last five matches to win the Western Conference.
It was a strong outing throughout the regular season as they separated themselves from the pack in the Northwest Division early, finishing 11 points ahead of second-place Portland Timbers U-16.
Head coach Adam Day has his side firing on all cylinders, led by a potent frontline that includes midfielder Gloire Amanda (13 goals), and strikers Terran Campbell (11 goals) and Daniel Sagno (16 goals). However, it is the depth that could give the Blue and White the edge.
"Besides the three guys who score heavily, Nicolas Apostol and Cole Morokhovich are also dangerous off the bench. We have several midfielders who can find the net," Day explained. "It will come down to making the most out of our chances."
The young 'Caps find themselves in Group H and will face Concorde Fire U-16 (Tuesday, June 23 at 1:30 p.m. PT), Chicago Magic PSG U-16 (Wednesday, June 24 at 1:30 p.m. PT) and Arsenal FC U-16 (Friday, June 26 at 8:15 a.m. PT).
"All these three sides play at a high level so we expect a tough challenge," Day said. "Our guys are in great shape, so tactically and mentally, we just need to focus on what we do and we'll be fine."
WHITECAPS FC U-18: 19W-5L-8D, 4th place in the Northwest
Whitecaps FC U-18 hope to ride the momentum into the playoffs, having won or tied 12 of their last 14 games in the regular season.
It appears that head coach Rich Fagan's squad is playing their best soccer as of late, with players settling into their roles and buying into the team.
"With some of our guys moving up to the MLS and the USL, it opened up opportunities for the rest and they've taken full advantage and stepped up," said Fagan.
Midfielder Ali Musse (nine goals) and Kyle Jones (five goals) are expected to initiate the offence, while defender Vaggeli Boucas and Andre Baires anchor the backline. The squad is also expected to be bolstered by some of their players who have advanced to the next level.
"The key is to play the Whitecaps FC way," Fagan said assuringly. "If we stay true to our game, we should do well and have favourable results in our three matches next week."
Whitecaps FC U-18 are in Group A and play Shattuck-Saint Mary's U-18 (Tuesday, June 23 at 7 a.m. PT), Oakwood Soccer Club U-18 (Wednesday, June 24 at 7 a.m. PT) and D.C. United U-18 (Friday, June 26 at 6 a.m. PT).
The top team from each group will advance to a single-game knockout round played at the higher seed’s home facility. The U-17/18s will play on July 7 followed by the U-15/16s on July 8. The four winners from the knockouts will advance to the Academy Championships which take place on July 16 in Carson, California. The championship games for each age group will be played on July 18.
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