VANCOUVER, BC – Emiliano Brienza scored twice in the first half, but the VMSL Selects came back with three second half goals as the Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23s (0-1-1) fell 3-2 at Thunderbird Stadium on Sunday.
"One of the main objectives for this group is to maintain the highest standard of play in both phases of the game, which was evident only in small sections this game," said Whitecaps FC U-23 head coach Nick Dasovic after the match. "Our goal is to compete and win every time we step onto the pitch while representing Vancouver Whitecaps FC. In saying that, losses provide us with the opportunity to evaluate where we are and where we want to go. We need to do a better job of doing the simple things well and maintain our focus for the full 90 minutes. We had players as young as 15 playing, and we will continue to give them an opportunity to show what they can do."
- PHOTOS: BC Soccer Web
With a number of players still away with the first team for preseason, Dasovic fielded four starters from the U-17 Academy roster.
Brienza, a 16-year-old midfielder from Coquitlam, BC who is signed to the U-23 squad, struck two well-placed shots from outside of the box to give the ‘Caps a 2-0 lead at the break. The first goal was assisted by Damiano Pecile, and the second by Kamron Habibullah.
📽️— Whitecaps FC Academy (@WFCAcademy) February 25, 2019
Here's the tape of Brienza's goals pic.twitter.com/OnTudbk02e
After carrying the play for most of the match, the U-23s were caught on the counter in the second half with a trio of goals to concede the lead.
The young ‘Caps would have one more opportunity to pull level as midfielder Vasco Fry was taken down in the box, however Brienza’s bid for a hat-trick was stopped by the goalkeeper to preserve the result.
Next up for the U-23s is a match against the UBC men’s soccer team this coming Friday, March 1. Kickoff will be at 4:15 p.m. PT at the WFC NSDC turf pitch.
13.Sean Melvin*; 19.T-boy Fayia^, Trialist+, 16.Connor Guilherme ©, 2.Jalen Watson^; 5.Ali Zohar^, 8.Damiano Pecile, 43.Emiliano Brienza; 32.Brandon Cambridge, 17.Thomas Raimbault^, 30.Kamron Habibullah
14.Chituru Odunze, 6.Keenan Foley^, 12.Chance Carter, 15.Albert Kang^, 25.Vasco Fry^, 94.Nicholas Fussell, Trialist+, Trialist+
* MLS roster
^ Current Academy player
+ Guest player