VANCOUVER, BC – We're going to the semis!
It was raining goals on a wet Thursday afternoon at UBC Dhillon Field as Whitecaps FC U-18 Residency defeated Sacramento Republic FC U-18 by a score of 5-3 in the United States Soccer Development Academy (USSDA) quarterfinals. The win stretches their unbeaten streak to 33 matches.
The ‘Caps now advance to the final four of the 74-team USSDA, taking place at the StubHub Center I Carson, California. The semifinals will be played this coming Thursday, July 14. This is the furthest playoff run for a Residency team since the U-18s made the USSDA Championship Final during their first season in 2011-12.
"It was an entertaining game," U-18 head coach Rich Fagan told whitecapsfc.com after the match. "That was probably the most we’ve conceded all season. We maybe opened ourselves up a little bit trying to score as many goals as we could, but it was back and forth and exciting stuff. There are a lot of players in this group who have experienced playing in a quarterfinal two or three times now, so for them to get over the line is great. But we have hopefully two more big games to go – one for sure – but hopefully two."
Seven Residency players were playing in their third straight USSDA quarterfinal after two consecutive appearances with the U-16s, while five starters also started last year’s U-16 quarterfinal.
The match got off to quick start for the home side. Just three minutes in, Thomas Gardner poked a ball through to Gloire Amanda down the right side of the box. Having stayed onside, Amanda then centred to Daniel Sagno who tapped it in for an early 1-0 lead.
Whitecaps FC kept pressing and looked the better side early on, but Sacramento found their way into the match and began to find confidence. On 33 minutes, the match was level in the blink of an eye. Sacramento midfielder Riley Kraft cracked a one-time laser to the far post to bring the score to 1-1.
But the young ‘Caps showed resilience, as they would again throughout the match. Within two minutes of going level, they again took the lead on a fantastic bit of passing. Right back Kadin Chung won the ball on the right side, played a quick one-two with Gardner then fed a pass to Sagno at the top of the box. Sagno then deflected a looping pass into Gardner’s path in the box before the North Vancouver boy calmly finished to regain the advantage at 2-1.
Gardner nearly had a second before halftime when centre back Andre Baires lofted a perfect long ball to send him on the break. Gardner did well to take the ball down but had his shot well saved by Republic FC goalkeeper Cameron Douglas.
The 'Caps went into the break ahead 2-1, but the battle was far from done.
Vancouver should have gone ahead on 55 minutes when Amanda and Sagno had back-to-back shots on goal, but Douglas again came up with two huge saves. Those stops proved crucial when a moment later, striker Francis Avoce fired in another equalizer inside the box to make it 2-2.
As the rain began to come down hard, so too came the goals. Barely a minute after Sacramento’s goal, the boys in white were back in front again. This time it was Chung with the cross as Amanda got his head on it before the keeper, then tapped in another go-ahead goal for a 3-2 scoreline.
That was only the start of a furious ‘Caps attack. Not long after Amanda’s goal, Terran Campbell drew the applause with a superb finish off a pinpoint long ball from substitute Patrick Metcalfe. The Burnaby native chested the ball down in the box then volleyed in a splendid strike to double the advantage.
Moments later, Campbell turned provider when he sent in a free kick to the box which was powerfully headed in by Baires to create some breathing room at 5-2.
Credit to Sacramento, they would not give us. With just under 15 minutes to go, they cut the deficit back to 5-3 with a header goal from Giovanni Aguilar off of a corner kick.
The match went back and forth with chances, but the ‘Caps held firm as the final whistle confirmed the continuation of a remarkable season.
Whitecaps FC now wait to learn their opponents for the semifinals as they continue their quest for the club’s first USSDA championship.
Are you interested in joining the Whitecaps FC family and becoming a billet home for a Residency or Girls Elite REX player? The club is currently seeking families in Burnaby. Learn more at whitecapsfc.com/billet.
Whitecaps FC U-18 lineup
22.Aidan Aylward; 3.Kadin Chung, 19.Vana Markarian, 2.Andre Baires, 33.Michael Baldisimo; 8.Marcello Polisi (58.Patrick Metcalfe), 4.Matthew Baldisimo (31.Frazer Poulter), 28.Thomas Gardner; 10.Daniel Sagno, 9.Gloire Amanda (11.Cole Morokhovich), 17.Terran Campbell
13.Luciano Trasolini, 16.Quinn Bredin, 37.Nicolas Apostol, 41.Alan Camacho