Vancouver Whitecaps’ Residency teams wrapped up their playoff group games down in Frisco, Texas today and they head back to Canada with a lot of positives to take from a very hard week of football in testing conditions.
The week couldn’t have started better for both teams on Wednesday. A win apiece saw each side top their group, and with the other group games finishing in a draw, the Whitecaps knew that they controlled their own destiny at each age group.
The week wore on, the opposition got tougher, and the relentless heat started to take its toll. The ‘Caps U16s faltered towards the end, losing their last two group games to bow out of this years playoffs, but that despair soon turned to delight when the U18 side extended their unbeaten streak to 32 games, winning their group and moving on to next month’s quarter-finals.
Let’s take a look back at the week’s action.
The U18s got off to the perfect start to their latest playoff campaign with a hard fought 2-1 win over Chargers SC from Clearwater, Florida in their first Group A game.
Gloire Amanda got the ball rolling with a 6th minute goal before top scorer Terran Campbell doubled the ‘Caps lead in the 65th minute. A Chargers penalty with 15 minutes remaining made for a nervy finish, but they held out for the win, and with LA Galaxy and Vardar playing out a 1-1 draw, things were looking peachy at the end of gameday one.
They were looking even peachier by end of the second round of group games too with the ‘Caps making it back to back wins as they dismantled Vardar 4-1.
Terran Campbell found himself on the scoresheet for the second straight game when he opened the scoring in the 20th minute, but Vardar surprisingly levelled two minutes later. Vancouver went in with the half time lead thanks a 35th minute goal from Daniel Sagno, and added two more in the second half, one from Marcello Polisi and a second from Campbell.
With LA destroying Chargers 6-1, the scene was set for what was bound to be an epic battle between the two MLS academies for first place in the group and a spot in the quarter-finals, with the Whitecaps just needing a draw to advance.
Line-up:Aylward, Mike Baldisimo, Baires, Markarian, deGraaf, Matt Baldisimo, Norman, Gardner, Campbell, Amanda,Sagno pic.twitter.com/ftnPZ1uFtz
— WFC Residency (@WFCResidency) June 27, 2016
Vancouver had beaten LA 1-0 in the last game of the season and the teams knew each other well. Whichever team went through, they knew it was going to be a battle and the Whitecaps found themselves a goal down to the Galaxy just three minutes in.
But this isn’t a team that was going to bow out without a fight and with plenty of time remaining, the ‘Caps got themselves back on level terms when Gloire Amanda fired home a Michael Baldisimo cross in the 15th minute.
That was how the teams went in at the half, but Vancouver took the lead five minutes after the restart when Daniel Sagno collected a pass from Eric de Graaf and fired home what was to prove to be the winner.
LA pushed hard but couldn’t find any way back into the game and when the final whistle sounded, the ‘Caps were left sitting top of Group A with a maximum nine points out of nine and a place booked in next month’s quarter-finals.
Terran Campbell led the team in goals heading in to the playoffs and he added another three to his tally this week, with Gloire Amanda and Daniel Sagno hitting two each and Marcello Polisi adding one. Assists-wise, Eric de Graaf led the way there with three, Michael Baldisimo had two and Campbell and Sagno one apiece.
A massive well done to everyone connected with the Whitecaps U18s. It’s been a long, hard season and to go on what is now a 32 game unbeaten run and take that through the playoffs has been a remarkable achievement.
We don’t yet know who they will play in the quarter-finals and whether they may be afforded a home tie, but whoever it is, the guys must head into it in full confidence, with a place in the Final Four in LA at stake.
The U16s started off their Group A games in fine fashion on Wednesday afternoon, seeing off Miami based Kendall Soccer Coalition 3-0, thanks to a pair of first half goals from Alan Camacho and a second half strike from Noah Verhoeven.
With Philadelphia Union and Real Salt Lake Arizona drawing their match 1-1, the ‘Caps headed in to their second game against RSL in confident mood and knowing they could go a long way to securing a quarter-final berth with another win.
But RSL proved stronger than their lowly wildcard seeding suggested and were 2-0 up by the hour mark, albeit with a little bit of luck on their side with their first coming from a counter attack and the second from a deflected free kick. By the time Camacho missed a late spot kick, you already knew it wasn’t going to be Vancouver’s day and RSL came away with the shock victory against the number three seeded team in North America.
With Philadelphia seeing off Kendall SC 1-0, the ‘Caps dropped to third in the group and their chances of advancement looked very bleak, needing to beat Philly in their last group game and hope that Kendall could somehow muster up something, anything, against RSL.
It wasn’t to be on either front.
Vancouver shot out to a 10th minute lead from Camacho in their game, but were pegged back a minute later by Philadelphia. That’s how it stayed until the half, before the Union went 2-1 up in the 55th minute, with what proved to be the winning goal.
It wouldn’t really have mattered what the ‘Caps did, with RSL 2-0 up and cruising against Kendall by halftime, and going on to comfortably win 4-0 and top the group, but you know that everyone in the group wanted to head back to Vancouver with a victory.
Sadly it wasn’t to be, and as disappointed as everyone in the 16s will be right now, they should look back with a lot of pride on what has been a fantastic season.
They won another Northwest Division title at a cantor, winning 11 of their last 12 league matches, and a lot of the guys have taken their own games to another level and are exciting people within the Whitecaps with what they might now go on and achieve.
USSDA top scorer Alan Camacho added another three goals down in Frisco, with Noah Verhoeven grabbing one. Nicolas Apostol had two assists this week, with Theo Bair and Verhoeven adding one each.
We might look at results, and winning plays a key part in their development, but this is a very talented U16 group and we look forward to tracking their progress through the Whitecaps in years to come.
There’s certainly been a lot of exciting talent in both the U16s and U18s this season. Can they keep that development and improvement going as they move up the age groups? Well that’s what we’re all excited to now find out.
So that’s it for another AFTN Residency Week. We hope you’ve enjoyed it. If you missed any of it, check out the link above, and remember we’re the only unofficial Whitecaps site to bring you regular Residency coverage throughout the year.
We’ll be back soon with coverage of the U18s quarter-final tie and our popular “One To Watch” feature. Until then, ‘Mon the ‘Caps and #SupportTheFuture.