Heading into this week’s USSDA playoffs, it always looked like Vancouver Whitecaps U18s had the more difficult battle ahead of the two ‘Caps youth sides to reach the quarter-finals.
And so it proved to be, with the U18s finishing second in their group and bowing of the postseason with their heads held high.
But it wasn’t all doom and gloom in Indiana as the ‘Caps U16s were dominant in their group, banging in 11 goals in a romp to set up a home quarter-final clash in a 12 days time.
It was an uphill task for the U18s after they went down 2-0 to eventual group winners Shattuck Saint-Mary’s in their first match on Tuesday. It was a game that the ‘Caps feel they should have won, creating a string of chances and then playing the final 26 minutes of the match with a man advantage.
They got right back at it the very next day, coming away with a 2-1 victory over Oakwood SC. Kyle Jones put the ‘Caps in the lead just before half-time, tucking away a penalty after Jordan Haynes had been upended in the box. William Grayson hit a second in the 61st minute, and although they conceded a late goal nine minutes from time, they held out easily for the win.
With Shattuck Saint-Mary’s drawing 2-2 with DC United, the ‘Caps still had a chance to win the group and advance if they could beat DC themselves and Oakwood could shock the group leaders on Friday.
Sadly it wasn’t to be however. The Whitecaps drew 1-1 with DC United, who went down to ten men in stoppage time, allowing Joshua Cuthbert to hit an equaliser and grab a point. Shattuck Saint-Mary’s trounced Oakwood 4-0 to win the group by three points, with Vancouver finishing a very credible second.
It was a tough week, but the U18s knew it was always going to be that way. Sadly, the week also means the end of the Residency years for some well-known faces including goalkeepers Marco Carducci and William Diaz, and outfield players Nike Azuma, Vaggeli Boucas, Marco Bustos, Kianz Froese, Jordan Haynes, Kyle Jones and Ali Musse.
It’s always a mixture of sadness and delight to see the guys move on to pastures new , but hopefully bigger and better things. Some we’ll still see of course with the Whitecaps in MLS and USL action. But all the very best from AFTN to every one of them.
The U16s kicked off their playoff week on Tuesday afternoon with a 6-1 hammering of Concorde Fire. Munir Saleh opened the scoring ten minutes in and there was no looking back. Cole Morokhovich soon added a second before Daniel Sagno hit a brace at half-time. With the Caps cruising at 4-0, Gloire Amanda replaced Sagno at half-time and added a brace of his own in the second half.
The Caps U16s made it 11 goals in two games 24 hours later, dishing out a 5-0 thrashing to Chicago Magic PSG. Terran Campbell hit two to send Vancouver on their way within the first 16 minutes. Frazer Poulter added a third before half time before Sagno hit a second half brace to complete the rout. It was a sweet victory for the Whitecaps against the side that controversially put them out at last year’s quarter-final stage.
Barring a goal swing of epic proportions, the ‘Caps had already clinched their quarter-final place and they rounded their week off with a 0-0 draw against Arsenal FC in a match which was abandoned in the 68th minute due to lightning and funnel clouds! As the game had gone past the hour mark, the result stood and the Caps won their group with ease.
That now sets up a second consecutive quarter-final appearance for the U16s in the USSDA playoffs and they will host Georgia United DA on July 8th. The venue and kick off time is still to be confirmed, but we were told last week that this year home will actually mean home and they will be able to play it in Vancouver. If any Georgia players don’t have passports, then tough shit!
Georgia United will prove to be a stiff test for the Whitecaps U16s. They finished narrow runners-up to Orlando City SC in the Southeast Division of the East Conference during the regular season, amassing a 21-8-7 record from their 36 games, scoring 77 goals and conceding 39.
Georgia were also comfortable group winners this week, winning all three of their matches by scores of 3-1, 3-2 and 4-0.
Let battle commence! AFTN will be there to bring you all the action, so stay tuned.