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CARSON, CALIFORNIA – Whitecaps FC U-16 Residency were on the front foot for the majority of their Development Academy semifinal match, but ultimately saw their title hopes comes to an end with a 2-0 defeat against Atlanta United FC on Friday.
- WATCH: Replay of the semifinal
The ‘Caps pushed to find the first goal 25 minutes in when striker Jefferson Alade stole the ball from the defender, but eventually had the ball tackled away before he was able to get a shot off on goal.
Against the run of play, Atlanta opened the scoring in the 32nd minute. United States U-17 national team player Andrew Carleton – signed to Atlanta's MLS roster – found himself with space on the right side of the box, firing a low shot just inside the far post for a 1-0 advantage.
Atlanta came close in the 44th minute when striker James Brighton got in on goal, but goalkeeper Evan Ince came up with a massive save to keep it at a one goal deficit.
The ‘Caps came close once more on 57 minutes as again Escobar put in a cross, and again Hernandez rose high to head it just over the crossbar.
With six minutes remaining, Hernandez had one more chance when he dribbled his way into space at the top of the box, but his shot went off target.
Two minutes later, Atlanta secured the victory with a second goal as Jackson Conway countered quickly and scored on a breakaway to make it a 2-0 final score.
"I am really proud of the team's efforts today, but I'm bitterly disappointed for the boys," Day told whitecapsfc.com after the match. "I thought we were a bit nervy to start but just as we were starting to get into the game, they scored. I felt after that we were the better team for the rest of the match. We had spoken the last couple of days about being ready to be ruthless at the right times and today we weren't and Atlanta were. That being said, congratulations to Tony and his team, we wish them well for the final and we will now look to Sunday's game to hopefully finish the season off in style."
The U-16s now wrap-up their season on Sunday when they face Real Salt Lake AZ Academy in the third place match at 10 a.m. PT. The match will again be streamed live at whitecapsfc.com.