Vancouver Whitecaps U18s heading to USSDA Championship game: “We’ve been waiting for the final all year”

Vancouver Whitecaps U18s heading to USSDA Championship game: “We’ve been waiting for the final all year”

Vancouver Whitecaps U18s are going back to the USSDA Championship game following a comprehensive 4-1 victory over New Jersey’s Players Development Academy in Thursday night’s semi-final.

An Andre Baires goal gave the ‘Caps a 1-0 halftime lead before a storming start to the second, and some luck going their way, put Vancouver’s young guns out of sight thanks to an own goal and David Norman Jr ball into the box that looped over the PDA keeper. Daniel Sagno made it 4-0, before PDA pulled back a late consolation goal.

It was a stunning and clinical victory for the ‘Caps and head coach Rich Fagan was naturally delighted after the match.

“They’re a good team, they’re going to create chances, good players,” Fagan said of PDA after the game. “They were always going to be dangerous. So it was just asking the boys to stick to the plan and not lose focus and concentration. I have to say, they did exactly what was asked.”

Vancouver will now face either the number one seeded FC Dallas or Nomads SC in Saturday’s final. Dallas, as if we need reminding, beat Vancouver 3-2 to lift the 2012 USSDA U18 Championship, so revenge would be sweet there. But Nomads are the only team to beat Vancouver this season, coming away with the home win in the second game of the season. A victory against them would round off the unbeaten streak to perfection.

“To be honest, I don’t think we’ll prepare any different,” Fagan said. “The boys will take care of their bodies tonight. We’ll get ready and train tomorrow and regen. Dallas and Nomads are both two great teams and we look forward to whoever it is.”

After soaking up some early pressure from a dangerous PDA attack, it was a stunning performance from the ‘Caps, extending their unbeaten run to 34 games in the process.

Play was fairly even from kick off but it was PDA who were creating the more dangerous chances, hitting the post just four minutes in before shooting over from a good position a few minutes later.

Terran Campbell had the ‘Caps first real chance of the game in the 14th minute, hitting a first time dipping volley just over the PDA bar.

The New Jersey team were looking dangerous in attack, with Isaiah Young and the Burnett brothers (MLS have probably trademarked that already) causing Vancouver’s defence no end of problems.

Young shot inches wide in the 23rd minute after being sprung, but five minutes later the ‘Caps came close themselves with a Daniel Sagno shot that flew just past the right post.

After coping with the initial speedy interplay from PDA, the ‘Caps finally started to play the free flowing football we’ve seen from them all season, turning the pressure up on their opponents.

It paid off in the 32nd minute when they kept the pressure on from a corner and Andre Baires timed his run to perfection to stay onside and get on the end of a dangerous Patrick Metcalfe diagonal ball into the box, beautifully turning the ball into the net with his outstretched leg for the opener.

That cross, that finish 👌#VWFC pic.twitter.com/2ig6VhcwBx

— WFC Residency (@WFCResidency) July 15, 2016

The goal poked the PDA bear into life again and they turned up their own pressure to end the half.

Aidan Aylward came up with a big save in the 39th minute after some great link up play from the Burnett brothers, and a last ditch tackle a minute before half time, thwarted another PDA attack.

The ‘Caps headed in to the break with a slender one goal advantage and knew they had a battle on their hands if they were to make Saturday’s final. With that in mind, no-one likely predicted what was about to play out as the Whitecaps ran rampant for the second 45 minutes.

Vancouver doubled their lead in the 50th minute when half time sub Marcello Polisi sent a cross in the box towards Terran Campbell, and the U18 top scorer’s effort bounced off the post then a PDA defender and into the back of the net.

We'll take it! pic.twitter.com/7ivAC81vRQ

— WFC Residency (@WFCResidency) July 15, 2016

Gloire Amanda nearly made it three seconds later when he was played in but saw his shot turned around the post by PDA, and US U17, keeper Kevin Silva.

But it was only delaying the inevitable and Vancouver did make it 3-0 in the 52nd minute when David Norman floated a ball into the box towards the back post. Silva came out but misjudged it and it flew into the back of the net, to nearly make the ‘Caps home and dry.

Get in!#VWFC pic.twitter.com/baSYZX5aXC

— WFC Residency (@WFCResidency) July 15, 2016

The two quick goals stunned PDA and forced them to open up, as Vancouver cut them up as they pushed forward.

Gloire Amanda and Metcalfe had a couple of chances that saw Silva come up with a couple of great saves but he could do nothing in the 68th minute when Terran Campbell head to goal and squared the ball for Daniel Sagno to fire home the fourth.

Class. #VWFC pic.twitter.com/Okv7Yr5Iz6

— WFC Residency (@WFCResidency) July 15, 2016

Full credit to PDA though, who kept pressing hard to the very end and they continued to cause the ‘Caps problems.

Aylward made a big save in the 72nd minute before Baires cleared a goalbound Young shot off the line three minutes later.

They eventually got their consolation goal four minute from time, and Young, the Eastern Conference Player of the Season, got the reward his hard work deserved by slotting the ball under the onrushing Aylward.

That was the end of the scoring and when the final whistle soon came, it was to end a famous 4-1 victory for Vancouver.

The ‘Caps line up was as follows:

Aidan Aylward; Kadin Chung, Vana Markarian (Frazer Poulter 84), Andre Baires, Michael Baldisimo (Noah Verhoeven 69); Patrick Metcalfe, David Norman (Quinn Bredin 77); Cole Morokhovich (Marcello Polisi 46), Daniel Sagno, Terran Campbell (Theo Bair 77); Gloire Amanda [Subs Not Used: Luciano Trasolini, Gabriel Escobar]

So Dallas or Nomads await. Whoever it ends up being, the Whitecaps players and management are ready for them and have been waiting for this moment all season.

“We’ve been waiting for the final all year,” defender Kadin Chung said after the match. “It’s nothing that we’re going take differently from any other game. We’re going to go out there and play our hardest. We’re excited.”

And so are we here at AFTN!

Saturday’s final kicks off at 7.30pm, unfortunately during the ‘Caps MLS game. We’ll be watching though and cheering the guys on for that one final game.

‘Mon the ‘Caps.

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