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Steve Pandher

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  1. The Caps dominated the possession and had the majority of chances through the first half, with Waston just missing on a header from a Mauro Rosales free kick. Five minutes later Rosales would setup Pedro Morales with a chance but the Chilean would send his shot wide of the target. Just before the half hour mark it looked as though Sebastian Fernandez would find the breakthrough as he made a strong run into the box, but a nice charge by Clint Irwin would deny any goal. A minute into injury time the visitors had their best chance of the opening half as Charles Eloundou was sent in on goal and after cutting inside, sent in a shot at the near post which Ousted was able to knock it away. Vancouver continued to press in the second half and had a couple of solid chances just before the hour mark. A strike from Morales forced Irwin into making a save and then second half sub Kekuta Manneh created a great opportunity for himself later but his shot struck the crossbar. With 20 minutes to go in the match the Whitecaps finally struck for the important goal when Waston scored his second goal of the season. He connected on a corner delivered by Morales, sending the 21,000+ fans at BC Place into a frenzy. The Caps had a chance to double the lead when Morales sent in substitute Erik Hurtado on a partial break but once again Irwin was able to cut down the angle preventing the goal. In the final moments Ousted had to earn his shutout as Gabriel Torres had two dangerous volleys from outside the box that tested the keeper. Fortunately for the Caps Ousted kept the ball out on both chances, earning the Caps a 1-0 victory and a playoff spot. Once again the Whitecaps didn’t make it easy for themselves waiting until the 70th minute to get the winning goal. There were a number of chances that they were able to create but there was a lack of finish in the final third. A positive for the team going into the playoffs is their ability to score off set pieces, considering how much it was weakness going into the season, which is vital considering how much tighter defending gets in the playoffs. The Caps also end the regular season with a 392 minute shutout streak and four straight cleansheets by Ousted, something that should help the Caps in the postseason. They will attempt to get their first win of the playoffs on Wednesday when they travel south to face FC Dallas in the Western Conference knockout round. Final Score: Vancouver Whitecaps 1 - 0 Colorado Rapids Attendance: 21,000 Vancouver Whitecaps: David Ousted; Steve Beitashour (Sam Adekugbe 33), Andy O’Brien, Kendall Waston, Jordan Harvey; Matias Laba, Russell Teibert (Kekuta Manneh 56), Mauro Rosales, Pedro Morales, Sebastian Fernandez; Darren Mattocks (Erik Hurtado 67) [subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Johnny Leveron, Gershon Koffie, Nicolas Mezquida] Colorado Rapids: Clint Irwin; Marvell Wynne (Davy Armstrong 42), Zat Knight, Shane O’Neill, Chris Klute; Marlon Hairston, Nick LaBrocca, Dillon Serna (John Neeskens 73), Carlos Alvarez; Gabriel Torres, Charles Eloundou (Deshorn Brown 61) [subs Not Used: John Berner, Grant Van De Casteele, Gale Agbossoumonde] Scoring Summary: 70' - VAN - Kendall Waston (Pedro Morales) Match Stats: Shots: Vancouver 17 - Colorado 10 Shots on Goal: Vancouver 5 - Colorado 5 Saves: Vancouver 5 - Colorado 4 Fouls: Vancouver 10 - Colorado 14 Offsides: Vancouver 7 - Colorado 5 Corners: Vancouver 2 - Colorado 3 VANCOUVER WHITECAPS CARL ROBINSON On making the playoffs: "It's a fantastic achievement for the group of players I've got. I couldn't be more proud of them today because we've probably been written off a few times this year when things didn't go our way." On securing a treble of Cascadia Cup, Champions League spot and now playoffs in consecutive weeks: "We've not been bad over the last few games. I think today was probably the story of our season in 90 minutes because we played very well at times, we had a few half chances we didn't take, then we started to get edgy a little bit. "I made the decision to make early substitutions and then the big man scoring the goal. I think it was fitting that David Ousted kept us in it with two fantastic saves in the last three or four minutes because god knows what I would have done if one of them had gone in!" On the atmosphere before the winning goal: "In the three years I've been here, I've never experienced an atmosphere like I experienced today and they're part of helping suck that ball in the net because I did believe, part of me, that we might not score, if I'm being totally truthful with you, because we had a few half chances. But we stuck to pour beliefs and the boys kept going. It's credit to the organisation, the supporters and that group of players in there." On facing Dallas now in first round of playoffs on Wednesday: "I'm not satisfied now because we have a massive game on Wednesday that I firmly believe we can go on and win. "Dallas have finished above us, so they're probably favourites for the tie. They're at home. We've got nothing to lose. No-one expected us to get into the playoffs except me, that group of players and the club. We had a quiet belief about us, without an arrogance and we did. Now we're in it, who knows? Spin that wheel." Why do you think you can go into Dallas and win? “The reason why I said I think Portland would win today, Dallas are unbeaten in eight at home. They’re a very very strong team and Oscar’s done a great job there, and I knew Portland could probably get under their skin a little bit. Dallas finished above us so they’re probably favourite for a tie and they’re at home. We got nothing to lose. No one expects us to get in the playoffs except me and that group of players on the club. We had a quiet belief about us without an arrogance. We did and now who knows. Spin that wheel.” On telling players the Portland result: “I let them know at halftime to be fair. I said to the guys on Thursday, staff included, I wanted them to turn their phones off as soon as they came in. You know what young players are like. They come in and they’re on that Instagram and Twitter, and one of the smart-alecs said “well we play music on it” and I said “listen, I’m old, but not that old. I’m not stupid. Turn it off because if you don’t it’s a $500 fine.” It’s a bit harsh at the time and I’m sure a couple of them went home and thought about it, but I didn’t want their focus to move from our game, because it was a massive game for us where we needed to be 100 percent and concentrate. They’ve done that. I watched it in my office if I’m being honest, which wasn’t a good thing so I went out there and I thought they would win so I said to them, coming in, I think Nathan had said to me that they had won 2-nil, so I made the decision to let them know at halftime or not. I protected them, throughout the season, but I wanted them to know what we needed to do so I said to them, without telling them what happened, I said, “boys, we need to score a goal.” And they said right, and I think they understood, well I hope they understood that, because that’s certainly what happened, and we got the goal.” On importance of Kendall Waston to the team since coming to Vancouver: “I hoped he would, but I probably didn’t think it would happen this year. The plan was for next year, but he’s been an awesome signing. It’s a credit to him as well as character because the boys love him. He’s very aggressive, maybe too aggressive at times, but he’s a pleasure to work with.” Thoughts on putting Manneh in for Teibert then having to defend: “[Teibert] has got a bundle of energy, and he was playing well, but I wanted Kekuta to come on. So I tried to go as attacking as I could to hope to get that goal and as soon as we did, I’m looking and we’ve made all our subs, and I’m trying to drop Pedro deeper than Mauro so Pedro and Mauro were my two tough tackling midfielders once Rusty’s gone off, which is never going to be a good thing, but credit to them. We dug deep, because we had to dig deep, because I knew Colorado would come. They’re not going to roll over. They’ve got pride.” What factors lead to the postseason? “Credit to David and the back four players, but I’ve said all along that we defend from the front and we attack from the back. I knew what we had, what I had in there, that group of players, and we were lacking probably a goal scorer. We have players who can score goals, not probably enough goals for me. Like I said, we haven’t scored enough goals, but we’ve worked hard defensively, and we have to do that because as they all say, championships are won from the defence. I didn’t want to do that, but once the window closed, we decided to go that way, it just gave me the opportunity for me to give my younger players more time. I have to work with what I’ve got, which is why when they got criticized, I would never criticize them because they’re a brilliant group of lads and today was about them and I know what we lack. We’ll address that in the offseason to make the group strong because we’ve got a fantastic culture in there and they’ve really developed that.” KENDALL WASTON First thing going through his mind after he scored: “I was thanking God because it was a nice opportunity to score and thank him that I scored because we were working very hard from the beginning of the game. We knew we had to win today because Portland won so that was a big effort for all of my teammates. From the beginning we were working hard and looking forward to the win.” If he has scored a bigger goal in his career: “I think the biggest is going to be after, not today. So now we are just thinking of Dallas, and hopefully on Wednesday we do very good because we wanted to get in, in the playoffs.” If he know the goal was going to go in when he rose up for the header: “Yes because yesterday I was practicing with Pedro (Morales) after training and I knew he was kicking the ball in that spot. So I just tried to get a good distance from the guy who was defending me and hopefully I get there, and I could head it properly and get it in.” How he feels about the rise of Costa Rican soccer: “In my country this last year was good since the World Cup. I’m very happy for my country because that makes it get bigger in soccer. Personally, I try to be the best every day because I want to make history in this club. But now we are just thinking of Wednesday.” On having his wife watch the game today for the first time: “Very special because I had my wife and kid here to watch me. They’re always supporting me and today was a special day and thank God they’re here to watch it.” On the CONCACAF Champions League next season: “We got the notice that we’re in the Champions League for next year, that is good for us because we could play other tournaments, international tournaments that’s important to each player and it’s a good experience for us.” On the atmosphere in the stadium today: “Today was loud. Everything was pretty, and the supporters are like our 12th player for us. Without them we cannot play like this and hopefully we can win Wednesday so the semi-finals are here again.” DAVID OUSTED What was going through his head when he made a save during stoppage time: “Please catch it? Something like that. And please blow the whistle was the other thought. I’m ecstatic we got the win and are in the playoffs now. I think we deserve it, these last five or six games I think people reacted fantastically and we’ve shown we can play against the best and play good football.” On the strength of the Whitecaps’ defence: “I think we’re a hard team to score against. Now we need to score a couple of goals and it will all come together. But being hard to score against is really important going into a tough playoff.” What the mood was like going into the second half of the game: “Same as before the game. We knew we needed to win. I had the sense Portland was going to go there and make it hard for us and win. And they did. So credit to them. So we knew what we had to do. And I think the second half we did a professional job.” On what Kendall Waston has meant to the team: “Tremendous goal scorer. He’s just got a hunger and passion to get those balls and get his head on it so fantastic from the big man.” On the play of Sam Adekugbe: “So tough to come into this game, a high stakes game. But Sam showed all year he has the quality to be here.” On the play of Jordan Harvey: “We can put Jordan anywhere and he’ll do a solid and great job. And he showed that all year that he’s really reliable either side.” On the matchup against Dallas: “We had a decent performance a month ago. I think we have a chance to go there a win. They’re a good team and they’ve showed that, that’s why they’re in the playoffs but we have to go in and see if we can find our style of play there and get a win.” PEDRO MORALES How he’s feeling: “I feel so so happy, today was a difficult game. I think they played a complicated game. But in the second half I think we had more passion for the win. We had the motivation more. Kendall did a good job. I’m so happy for him, for the team, for the people here and for the fans. Now a good game in Dallas on Wednesday.” On the pressure building throughout the game: “I think there was so much pressure but I feel confidence in the team I think the people got more excited with Kekuta’s (Manneh) opportunity for a goal.” On the noise level from the crowd: “When we were coming here in halftime, the crowd was leading the way. I think in the second half the mentality changed maybe. But now we have a good game Wednesday and have a physical mentality. We need to find what’s necessary for the players, the team, and the fans. Today was very good for the fans.” COLORADO RAPIDS PABLO MASTROENI On how defensively sound his squad has been the last few matches: “I think, the last couple of games, we’ve really been working on our shape. I think, more importantly, Zat Knight has brought a tremendous amount of leadership, a tremendous amount of communication, and really has grabbed that back line by the scruff of its neck and really organized them really well and brought some of the young players along. Just a really pivotal player in that role that’s really shored up the back line and also made it easier for the guys in midfield.” On what he takes from the season: “The season was obviously long, but what I think you take away is that you go through fits of good form and fits of bad form, and what I think is most important is that you never lose the identity of who you are and who you want to be. As a Colorado Rapid for many years, I think the most important thing is representing who we are as Coloradoans. That’s working hard every day, bringing your lunch pail to work, believing in each other, working hard for your teammates, never giving in, and I think tonight was a performance that is reflective of the type of characters and personalities we’ll have next year, on the field in 2015. That’s the reflection of the club moving forward.” On the youth movement in Colorado and their roles moving forward: “I think, at times, they’ve carried more weight than they should have through the year, but they’ve always stepped up and played big. I think the experience that they’ve gained this year, especially in a game like tonight, with playoff implications for the opponents, who are at home, in a tough place to play, they raised their levels and really played well. I think these types of experiences are going to be invaluable for next year. I think, overall, they’ll continue to be focal points of our group and hopefully we’ll take a bit more burden off of them next year.” NICK LABROCCA Thoughts on the match: “I thought we battled, I thought it was a close game. I think our chances mostly came in the second half – we just kept plugging away, kept trying to play more and more, kept battling, and then the game started opening up for us. Then, they got their set piece goal.” On the Rapids’ defensive improvement over the past few games: “I feel like we got a little loose in the back, we exposed ourselves, and we weren’t playing together as a team. We opened too many gaps, so I think that’s what our focus was, but, at the same time, we’re going to defend as a team, we’re not just going to sit in, we’re going to press when we can.” On what they can take going into next season: “I think that this is all collective, I think, how we finished the last couple of games, we battled, we worked together, we worked for each other, and that’s what makes championship teams – not individuals. Individual performances win games, but that team cohesion, that team battle, that’s what wins championships.” DAVY ARMSTRONG Thoughts on the team’s performance: “I thought we battled. We didn’t get the outcomes we wanted to, but sometimes the game just doesn’t go our way. We were in the fight, we were in everything, it was just off of an unlucky set play. So, it was good.” On the team’s defensive improvement: “We’ve been working on being more compact, staying with the team, dropping whenever we see pressure coming, and just being smarter. We’re not really flying out there, just being compact as a team. So, we’ve been working on that, which has helped us a lot, and it’s just unlucky that we fight hard for so long and then we just give it up on just a half-second of a set play.” On the back line the outlook for next season: “We’ll just take the fight that we had towards the end of the season, refresh, and come back at it. We have a good team - youth that is good, compact, and strong together. We have a good bond with each other, and I feel like we’ll have that going into next season, which will be good for us.”
  2. The first ten minutes of the match saw both teams get their chances on goal with Blas Perez missing high with a header and then Fernandez missing high with his shot after being setup by a nice pass from Mauro Rosales. The two hooked up with better results in the 14th minute as Fernandez scored his first of the match, as well as first since July 5th against Seattle. It was Rosales who found himself free enough on the right side to send an inch perfect cross that the Uruguayan headed past the diving Raul Fernandez. His next goal wouldn’t take three months but four minutes as Fernandez got his brace and doubled the lead for the Whitecaps. It was Rosales again who played the role of the setup man, pouncing on a loose ball. As he bore down on goal he found the winger streaking down the left side and Fernandez made no mistake with his low shot. Just after the half hour mark it looked as though the visitors had pulled one back when Blas Perez had put his shot in but was called offside by the linesman. However the Caps caught a break as replays showed the Panamanian striker was a step or two onside. Another chance for Dallas came five minutes later when David Texeira was setup with a shot from inside the box but Matias Laba came in with a perfectly timed sliding tackle to deflect the shot out for a corner. The second half proved to be mostly uneventful as Dallas applied pressure at times but was unable to create any dangerous chances. Their best opportunity came with over ten minutes to go when Canadian Tesho Akindele made a run on goal but was stopped by a charging Ousted. The real fireworks came at the final whistle when Dallas manager Oscar Pareja got into a shoving match with Vancouver assistant Martin Pert. However, nothing could dampen the Whitecaps night as they captured the three points and continue to hold onto the final playoffs spot in the Western Conference. They must now leave the friendly confines of BC Place and travel down the I-5 to face the Seattle Sounders where they continue their playoff push and with a win could capture their second straight Cascadia Cup. Final Score: Vancouver Whitecaps 2 - 0 FC Dallas Attendance: 20,183 AFTN Player of the Match: Mauro Rosales Scoring Summary: 14’ – VAN – Sebastián Fernández (Mauro Rosales, Erik Hurtado) 18’ – VAN – Sebastián Fernández (Mauro Rosales) Vancouver: David Ousted; Steven Beitashour, Andy O’Brien, Kendall Waston, Jordan Harvey; Matías Laba, Russell Teibert, Mauro Rosales (Kekuta Manneh 82’), Pedro Morales (Medhi Ballouchy 88’), Sebastián Fernández; Erik Hurtado (Darren Mattocks 67’) [substitutes not used: Paolo Tornaghi, Sam Adekugbe, Johnny Leverón, Nicolás Mezquida] Dallas: Raul Fernandez; Je-Vaughn Watson, Zach Loyd, Matt Hedges, Moises Hernandez; Andres Escobar, Victor Ulloa (Kellyn Acosta 81’), Michel, Ryan Hollingshead (Tesho Akindele 45’); Blas Perez, David Texeira (Jair Benitez 65’) [substitutes not used: Chris Seitz, Adam Moffat, Walker Zimmerman, Danny Garcia] Match Stats: Shots: Vancouver 8 – FC Dallas 11 Shots on Goal: Vancouver 3 – FC Dallas 2 Saves: Vancouver 2 – FC Dallas 1 Fouls: Vancouver 16 – FC Dallas 15 Offsides: Vancouver 0 – FC Dallas 4 Corners: Vancouver 3 – FC Dallas 5 Cautions: 60’ – DAL – Je-Vaughn Watson 78’ – VAN – Kendall Waston 90’+4’ – VAN – Sebastián Fernández Referee: Ricardo Salazar REACTION: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS CARL ROBINSON Thoughts on the match: "Attacking-wise and counter attacking-wise I thought we were excellent", Robinson told reporters after the game. "The two or three opportunities that we did have, we were very clinical in our play and obviously it led to two very goals. I thought the defensive aspect wasn't good enough. I said to the guys at half time that we were too open, we were a bit kamikaze football. We were gung-ho and were 2-0 up, so I had to address a few things and credit to the back four, second half especially, they defended properly and showed a lot of character out there, so I'm delighted. The game was won in the first half, but for me, the game was managed fantastically well in the second half." On the play of Sebastian Fernandez: "Just his movement. If you watch him [at training] and you see him, his work ethic is fantastic. He's technically a very, very talented player and he's got ability. When he gets into the final third, he makes things happen. We see it all the time and now it's about transferring that onto the pitch. The last three or four weeks, even though he hasn't scored since June or July, his work ethic and his valuableness to the team has been fantastic." On the play of Mauro Rosales: "I thought it was his best game since he has been here and I think sometimes we’re very lucky to have him. I wanted to get him off earlier but he said “five minutes” and I let five minutes go and he said “another five minutes” and then another… He was excellent. His technical ability is amazing and he had a massive influence on the game." On the tension between the two teams: "I think it's two coaches, it's two teams, and it's very passionate, we want to win. We went there three weeks ago and we took it on the chin. We lost 2-1 in a game where we probably could have got something. Today was our day, but they are a very good team. Credit to Oscar he has done a fantastic job there. There's feelings in games. Every game there's a little bit of tenseness and thing like that. It's important it doesn’t boil over and from my group today it didn’t boil over." On the upcoming game against Seattle: "I said two games ago, we have five cup finals, and we have to take it one game at a time. We are running out of games, it is important that we respond appropriately the next upcoming games. We have two wins now, but we know we have a massive game against Seattle next Friday and those are the games you want to play in. They are big games, and obviously the Cascadia Cup is on the line and we want to win. We will go there full of confidence, but it will be a tough game." On the defensive play: "Dallas went a little more direct the second half and I tend to put smaller people on in the half which is not the best idea with their direct play but they are a handful. We all know how good they are at counter-attacking. We managed to address that in the second half, we won the second balls and we are going to have to do that against Seattle." On the overall performance of Dallas: "Dallas have nothing to lose, they are already into the playoffs. We are not in a similar position, unfortunately, we are chasing and we need to secure that final playoff spot. There is a different kind of pressure, and I said to the boys at half they have nothing to lose they are going to play hard. We have a lot to lose, that is why the discipline was important and the information they took on board in the second half they carried out and all credit to them. They played really well." On the altercation at the end, what was Pareja's grip with Pert? "I'm not sure. I don't know, I didn't see him. I went to shake the two assistants hands and then I went to referee and I had a laugh with the referee." On the performance of referee Ricardo Salazar: "I thought he was excellent. Sometimes it's easy to criticise referees as coaches. Some people do it tongue in cheek and other people just do it verbally and you get fined. But they deserve credit when they do well and I have no doubt about it that he's arguably, if not the best one in the league. On Vancouver’s position in the standings, is 4th possible? "I said at the start of the season we want to be in contention come the last game of the season. A good victory tonight. We'll sleep well after 94 minutes of hard work. We've still got a mountain to climb, we're still try to climb that mountain and we'll still meet that challenge head on, starting with Seattle next week." On the play of Matias Laba: "He has played fantastic ever since he has come here and big credit goes out to the club. His work can go un-noticed by people, but it does not with me. I think today it was a perfect example of how important he is for our team. We talk about Pedro, Mauro and Kekuta but Laba is vital for our team." On Darren Mattocks leaving for international duty: "I will never stop players from playing for their national country. It is a privilege. If they play well at club level, then they'll get the opportunity at national level. I’ll have a conversation with Darren and see where we are with that." With four players on yellows, did it cross his mind to sub them off and save them? "It did, and there were a few little close moments with a ball getting kicked away and a little trip here and there that were making me cringe a little bit. At the end of the day, if they're on four yellow cards, it's important that they manage the game correctly. If you try and avoid a yellow card, trust me, you'll get booked. It's one of them you'll get booked for a nothing challenge. I said to the guys that were on a yellow card, go out and play. Don't think about it, go out and play. As soon as you try and think about getting a yellow, you'll get a yellow card." SEBASTIAN FERNANDEZ On the overall game: "It was a very good game for us. The importance is not the score, importance is the win. We need to keep going and work through the week and show everybody that we can get into the playoffs." On his first goals since July: "I was lucky. I saw the ball in the air and tried to get the header and score." "My teammates, are always supporting me. It's important for me and for everybody. This is a great group, a great team. We must keep going." On playing with Mauro Rosales: "Mauro is a great player. He has been supportive of us on and off the field." On picking up the yellow card and the suspension: "It was my mistake. I still have other games left to continue going." DAVID OUSTED Thoughts on the match: "Fantastic. I thought we did very well. First half, we got our goals. Seba played fantastic and got two goals. Second half, we did well defending. Overall, we played a good performance." On playing with Mauro Rosales: "He's come in with a lot of experience. Mauro knows this league and you can see just on his level that he’s a good player. He shows it every day in practice and every match that he means a lot to this team and brings some experience." On winning consecutive matches for the first time since May: "It feels fantastic. It’s a good time to get on a streak. Hopefully we continue to play this way. I love the intensity. I love how we’re going into every tackle and the belief in this squad that can win every game." On intensity of possible playoff clash between Caps and Dallas: "If these two teams meet, I think it's going to be a brawl, to say it lightly. You just see that people get into every tackle and they did as well. They're a team that works really, really hard and wants to compete every time. If we get to there, I think it's going to be a great much but we've still got a lot of work to do." On the Pareja/Pert postgame clash: "It's always fun to see Martyn get up there," Ousted said. "He cares a lot and the players back him up." On Seba now being suspended: "Too bad. I thought it was a harsh yellow card. We're happy that he got going and we can use that going forward. Now other people have to step up in his place." On keeping Dallas at bay and another clean sheet: "I felt in control. With players like Perez and Akindele, they'll put pressure on but I thought we dealt with it really well and both crosses and chances were limited." On Laba's big goal saving tackle in the first half: "Absolutely fantastic. Mati did world class to get there. They broke us down a little bit, got a good chance and Mati came out of nowhere." KENDALL WASTON: Thoughts on the game: "We had to win and thank god we won. We knew it would be a tough game because they won in Dallas, so today we had to look for the three points because we want to continue in the playoff spot. The team worked very hard from the beginning of the game and that's why we won." Did it feel like a playoff game already? "Yes it seemed because they were battling to score and we could defend very well today from the forwards. That was the key to winning today." On potential playoff meeting: "We are thinking first of all of staying in the playoff spot and hopefully we can win the next game in Seattle. It's going to be hard but none of these games are easy. So first of all we have to stay in the playoffs and then see who we are going to play against. Now we know each other. The key to everything was when we got in the box, we try to score and today we scored two excellent goals." On defensive play: "The best thing was the communication that all of us have and the commitment of each one, including the forwards. In certain times of the game you saw the forwards in our backs, like Kekuta jumping and battling with bigger guys than him. That was the thing that the coach told us at half time, that everybody gotta run." MAURO ROSALES His best performance as a Whitecap so far? "I feel that I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it a lot. It's part of the work that we are doing with the guys. We always talk about having minutes, having time with them. Everyday just knowing each other is much easier. As soon as I get more minutes with them, more days with them, I'll be much better. "This is what I want. To be in a position to help the team. To raise the team in any levels and help them. This is what I do." On not wanting to come off: "I was feeling very good and obviously trying to help the team. Probably I was a little selfish in trying to stay in the team, but knowing that we had a lot of good players on the bench. I felt very well just playing with them and enjoying it. "I was doing my best and doing my best for the team. This was the reason, not trying to be selfish and not let the other ones play! It's part of my work to try and keep getting better and I hope that I can just build better performances like I did today." On assisting Seba in getting two goals: "It's important for us to get the strikers playing up front goals and to get confidence. This is what we need for the last push. Seeing Erik today, running a lot, working very hard for the team to create space, just holding the ball, let us have a little bit of breath to manage the game and everything was outstanding today. "Sometimes you have to do what you don't like best and sometimes you have to do what's the best for the team. He showed today a character and a professionalism and we are happy for that and also getting the three points against a very tough team." Link up play with Erik Hurtado: "We are getting better with each other. Sometimes we don't combine as much as we want, but sometimes the game just demands another thing, not just playing between the lines. He did very well today just holding the ball, even against three guys today. FC DALLAS OSCAR PAREJA Thoughts on the match: "I thought we had a good15 minutes before they scored a goal. After we gave away the first goal, it was difficult. We had the initiative to put high pressure and go look for the game right from the first minute. We had a few chances to score that we could not take advantage of it and then Vancouver came up and took the game away with those two goals. After that, it was a different game. We tried to keep the initiative, but we didn’t have too many ideas today. Vancouver was happy with the goals that they scored early in the game, and they held it well. I have to give them credit." On whether the Perez offside call right before halftime would have changed the game: "It would be for sure. Disappointed with that situation, but I just assume that that’s part of the game. I don’t want to stick with that frustration, though it could have changed the story, for sure." On whether this could be a preview of a potential playoff matchup: "We need to clinch first, and now we are thinking about LA. My mind doesn’t let me go that far. When I have such a big responsibility to play the next game and try to take care of our business, which is to get ourselves into the playoffs. After that, we’ll see." On growing rivalry between the two teams: "The rivalry is with all the teams really. The intensity, the energy and obviously the urgency the teams have now to get the points is important. That makes the games more interesting for sure and that is part of the decision. But the rivalry is with everybody, it's nothing special." The postgame incident with Martyn Pert: "Nothing. Nothing. Nothing happened." TESHO AKINDELE Thoughts on the match: "I think it was a tough game – they were obviously fighting for their lives for the season and to stay in the playoffs, so they brought a lot of energy. They caught us on two counterattacks, but other than that, I thought it was pretty even." On the adjustments they made after halftime, being down 2-0: "We just knew that we had to go all out. When you’re losing 2-0, there’s no point holding back, so we just tried to push forward a little more. Unfortunately, we just didn’t create the chances today." On whether a rivalry is growing between the two clubs: "I think so, playing in the Western Conference, you see the same teams three times a year. With how the schedule was, we’ve seen these guys three times now in such a short time, and there’s definitely a bit of tension coming in." MATT HEDGES Thoughts on the match: "Disappointing. We came out soft and slow, gave up two goals, and we never really recovered. I think we definitely started to play better as the game went on, but by that point, you’re 2-0 down, and they can control the match by sitting there and doing whatever they want. It’s disappointing." On what message Pareja and the coaches stressed at the break, down 2-0: "They just try to be motivating. We came out really slow, and it’s frustrating because big things were on the line – clinching a playoff spot was possible today, in this game. So, to come out slow like that was unacceptable, and that’s what he was reiterating to us. We had to increase the effort in the second half, and that’s basically what he was telling us." On the growing rivalry: "I think it was already there. Last year and the year before, there have been some interesting games between the two teams and I think it’s continuing to grow as a rivalry. It’s good for the league, having rivalries grow organically like this instead of being forced."
  3. It looked as though the first half would be an entertaining one as both teams had early chances to get on the scoreboard first. In the first few minutes it was Joao Plata who collected the ball at the edge of the box and fired a shot on goal which was easily stopped by David Ousted. Just two minutes later the Whitecaps had their first chance when Sebastian Fernandez found Pedro Morales in the six yard area, after showing some nice footwork to skip past Kyle Beckerman. Unfortunately the 'Caps captain was unable to get a proper foot to the ball and he sent his attempt over the net. The remainder of the first half was uneventful until added time when a penalty was awarded to the Caps after Kendall Waston was brought down in the box when attempting to convert a corner. Once again it was up to Morales and once again he was unable to provide the goal as his weak attempt was easily stopped by Jeff Attinella. The first ten minutes of the second half looked similar to the majority of the first half but then RSL struck off a corner when Nat Borchers converted a Javier Morales corner in the 57th minute. The corner was setup when Morales was robbed by Ousted from about 12 yards out. It only took the Whitecaps five minutes to respond as Pedro Morales made up for his first half misses and converted a penalty to tie the match at one. The second penalty call of the match happened when Erik Hurtado was tackled high by Carlos Salcedo. A few minutes later the home side had a chance to make it two when second half sub Nicolas Mezquida sent in a cross to the near post which Hurtado flicked on goal but he was stopped by Attinella. Another chance came for the Caps when Morales received a pass from Darren Mattocks but Attinella parried his shot over the bar. The pressure finally paid off for Vancouver as they took the lead in the 77th minute with Pedro Morales picking up his second of the afternoon. It was sub Kekuta Manneh who made a run into the box and then cut the pass back finding Steven Beitashour. The defender sent the ball back towards Morales who was able to deflect it between Attinella and a RSL defender. Manneh then had a chance to put the Caps up by two when his shot from inside the box was stopped by Attinella after a run that saw him go by a couple of defenders while ignoring open teammates. Fortunately the Whitecaps, RSL was unable to create any dangerous opportunities for the remainder of the match as Vancouver secured the victory. The three points, along with Portland’s loss to TFC earlier in the day, has put Vancouver above the red line and into a playoff position with four games to go. It didn’t look like it was going to happen after a first half of missed chances and when things looked direr when the visitors opened the scoring. Luckily for them they were able to bounce back and gain the win, their second straight at home, and give hope for a playoff berth. They will have a chance to repeat the result at BC Place next Saturday when they take on another strong Western Conference opponent in FC Dallas. FINAL SCORE: Vancouver Whitecaps 2 - 1 Real Salt Lake SCORING SUMMARY: 57' - RSL - Nat Borchers (Javier Morales) 62' - VAN - Pedro Morales (penalty kick) 78' - VAN - Pedro Morales (Steven Beitashour, Kekuta Manneh) ATT: 19,395 VANCOUVER: David Ousted; Steven Beitashour, Andy O'Brien, Kendall Waston, Jordan Harvey; Matías Laba, Russell Teibert; Mauro Rosales (Nicolás Mezquida 64), Pedro Morales, Sebastián Fernández (Kekuta Manneh 77); Erik Hurtado (Darren Mattocks 68) [subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Sam Adekugbe, Mehdi Ballouchy, Ethen Sampson] SALT LAKE: Jeff Attinella; Chris Winger, Carlos Salcedo, Nat Borchers, Abdoulie Mansally; Luke Mulholland (Sebastian Velasquez 82), Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, Luis Gil (Ned Grabavoy 69); Alvaro Saborio (Sebastian Jaime 69), Joao Plata [subs Not Used: Lalo Fernandez, Aaron Maund, Cole Grossman, Devon Sandoval] MATCH STATS: Shots: Vancouver 17 - Real Salt Lake 16 Shots on Goal: Vancouver 9 - Real Salt Lake 7 Saves: Vancouver 6 - Real Salt Lake 7 Fouls: Vancouver 14 - Real Salt Lake 8 Offsides: Vancouver 0 - Real Salt Lake 3 Corners: Vancouver 6 - Real Salt Lake 8 CAUTIONS 36' - VAN - Steven Beitashour 60' - RSL - Carlos Salcedo 63' - VAN - Russell Teibert 79' - VAN - Pedro Morales REACTION: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS CARL ROBINSON Thoughts on the match: "I'm hot. I'm sweating. It was a great game to watch if you were a neutral, difficult to watch if you were either manager I believe. The game had everything. It had chances, it had penalties, it had missed decisions, it had wrong decisions, it had right decisions. It was a good game of football. Fortunately enough we came out with the victory today so it helps. It three points, three big points for us, and it stands us in good stead for next week." Did he watch the Portland result earlier and did that dictate line-up and tactics? "I did watch it and after about 15 minutes I probably turned it off. In this league, as everyone knows, it's sometimes hard to play a team that is maybe fighting for it's lives, as well as a team that are the top of the table as well." On the play of Pedro Morales "It was a conversation we had (to take Pedro off after halftime as he was tiring); I made the decision to keep him on and thank god I did. He makes a difference to us. Pedro will get the headlines today for the goals. I thought in the first half he was probably below the levels that he should have been. As everyone knows, we were struggling for goals and we miss a penalty just before halftime. That was probably my hardest team talk. The boys played well, but we missed chances again. It’s a broken record but I just said you’ve got to keep going and that will make it even better when we do win. They came out and scored; bit sloppy from us on a set piece again. But the fight and the character they showed today – not just Pedro but every single player in my group today – I’m very pleased for them because it’s been tough. It was an important win." On the play of substitute Nicolas Mezquida: "Games around the world are won and lost by substitutes. I kept the same team this morning; yesterday I thought about changing it as Nico has been brilliant in training. He got his just reward today. He came on and showed what he could do. He was fantastic." On the team’s turnaround in the second half: "I think we saw (Pedro) get back to a passing range we’re used to seeing from him. Sometimes you have to find defining moments in seasons. And maybe this was our defining moment." On the play of David Ousted: "David has been excellent for me. At key crucial times, he came up with big saves. He was playing as a sweeper at times; he got in front of Jaime, which is a great but risky decision but it was the right decision. He’s one of 14 guys who were crucial to getting these three points." On bouncing back from the loss in Portland: "It’s not easy when you miss a penalty. I think last week we felt sorry for ourselves; not for want of trying. We’re talking about leaders. I’ve lost a few leaders this year but it’s time for these guys to step up. And I challenged them this week to step up. In big games you need big players. And today we had some big players." On Portland Timbers' Will Johnson’s injury: "He’s a friend, he’s a winner, he’s a fighter. I’m really gutted for him. We’ll send our best wishes from the club. You don’t want anyone to get seriously injured. There’s no edge for us. We don’t want that. We don’t want players missing games. I want to get in the playoffs because we deserve to get in the playoffs. Disappointing for Will. I wish Will a speedy recovery and I’ll speak to him next week." DAVID OUSTED Thoughts on the match: "Great win. It feels fantastic especially the way we won coming from behind. So hopefully this is the start of a couple of good games for us." On what was said during halftime: "Carl (Robinson) said to keep doing what we were doing. I think we played a really really good first half. I think we pressed them, we were good on the ball. And that was the message keep doing what we were doing and keep the intensity and I think we did it in the second half." On how the team responded to Portland’s loss last week: "I think the reaction was the right one. We got behind each other and we got back into it. At the end that was one of the reasons why we came out with a win today. The mentality of coming back and supporting each other even though we again go behind even though we were the better team." On how much the player’s meeting earlier this week helped their play: "It’s always hard to say. I do think it has an effect. I think you saw the senior players getting behind everybody and communicating a lot. And you felt it at halftime, people were disappointed with not being ahead but it wasn’t going to get us down today." On what Pedro Morales has meant to the team: "Pedro has been good. He showed today that he has the right mentality…missed a penalty and went right back out and got two goals anyways. I think especially the guys around him got us back, you saw that and I think Pedro felt that as well. So he missed the penalty but everybody was at it again and supported him." The importance of Steven Beitashour’s play when Ousted came far out to challenge in second half: "Unbelievable. I came out and tried to block it, I got a little bit of it. But he got on, Beitashour made an absolutely fantastic pay. I think he’s tired now and his hip is a little out of place now but that was fantastic." STEVEN BEITASHOUR Thoughts on the match: “The intensity was there, it felt like a playoff match and we have to treat every game like it’s the playoffs because every point counts right now. It’s a race with Portland now and that’s a great starting step.” On his assist on the second Morales goal: “I saw him. I looked up and I said ‘Pedro I’m passing you the ball’….no that was a shot. But right when I was lining up for it I pictured skying it. So I said ok don’t sky it just put it on your foot and keep it on the ground. I took a lot off of it. I was ready to swing for a home run. That’s why I pictured it going way up. So I just said be safe, put it on target and hopefully something good comes out of it. That was good, it helped us a lot so we just need to continue that momentum to next week.” On the team’s response in the second half: “I thought we played real well in the first half to be honest. I thought we did all the little things correctly all the things we’ve been working on in practice. And to go behind in the second half…our response was great. If you look at the Portland match, our response wasn’t great and we felt let down. But this time we just got together, and picked up the intensity and it showed and we came back from that.” On the impact of the subs tonight: “In the beginning of the year I thought the subs did great for us, they came off the bench and gave us that spark we needed. And today they did a great job and we need them. It’s not just whoever is starting, it’s the three subs and everyone on the bench and the guys at training. So this is a whole team effort and today we did a great job. They were definitely fired up.” On Pedro Morales’ performance: “To bounce back from that, it’s tough to miss a penalty kick. So to bounce back the way he did was great. That’s why he’s our leader, and we feed off of it, so he did a great job. Not just the goals but distributing the ball and his intensity and closing them down as well. And we need that. Every game from now on has to be that intense.” On the impact his former team San Jose earthquakes have in the playoff race: “At the same time guys are fighting for their jobs. They aren’t going to be giving anyone an easy time. So it’s good that they’re playing Portland twice. I think they’re going to give them a tough time they match up well together. So hopefully they’re going to give us some favours but if not we’ve got our own destiny, we have to take care of business that’s the main thing. So tonight was a great step towards that, we’ve just got to continue doing that.” On the team performances: “If you look all around the table I thought everyone played well. David Ousted did a great job keeping us in that game. Andy O’Brien and the big man Kendall Watson just winning every ball. And the guys in the middle getting every ball, and that’s just how you win games. The little things. Fighting and battling. So Pedro definitely carries us offensively and we run through him. So if we can do all the little things and get to the ball and run off of him, I think we’ve got a great team and we can do well.” RUSSELL TEIBERT Thoughts on the game: “It’s a step in the right direction. We can be content with the performance. We’ve got four games left, four games to make the playoffs but right now I think we can be happy.” If he tried to take the second penalty shot: “No, no I didn’t. I gave the ball to Pedro because he’s been a leader all season long. He’s been great on penalties all season long. And nine times out of ten he’s going to score. One doesn’t go in but he’s going to bang another one in.” On the importance of seeing Pedro bounce back in the second half: “The game’s 90 minutes long. And sometimes in periods of the game you’re not doing what you want to do. I think Pedro was great all game long. Maybe at certain points in the first half he wasn’t getting on the ball as much as he wanted to, but that’s the type of player he is. He comes in the second half and scores two goals and gives us the victory.” On the fact that the club had not won a game after trailing or being tied after the first half: “We won now. So we can put that in the past, that’s history. Going forward there’s no looking back anymore. There’s no looking back at records that might be negative like that one. I think it’s about being positive and looking forward to the next game, and trying to win the next game and being positive about everything. Having belief in each other and belief in this team. And belief that we can win it at home and win on the road. As you can see it tonight the fans really push us on. And maybe some people are doubting us, but this locker room believes, our fans believe, and our organization believes that we can win.” On the Portland vs Toronto game: “I think a couple of guys were watching the match and following it. It may have been in the back of our minds but we really didn’t discuss it. We knew we had a big chance and we took that chance. And that’s what great teams do. That’s what good teams do and that’s what teams that will make the playoffs do.” Reaction to Portland’s Will Johnson’s injury: “I had seen what had happened. And you know, God bless him. You never want to see that happen and I feel for him. So I’m definitely going to send him a message later on tonight. And I just hope for a speedy recovery for him.” On if Johnson’s injury will affect Portland’s playoff chances: “I don’t really want to speak about that. It’s an injury, it’s an injury you don’t really want to see happen to anybody, especially a friend. And I feel for Will and again I hope he has a speedy recovery.” On Carl Robinson’s halftime message: “It’s really been a team effort all year long. Like I said before this match, the boss, the fans, the training staff they can only do so much. And it was really down to us tonight. And we’ve showing that we can step it up, and we can play when the pressure is on, and we can win when the pressure is on. That’s a massive result for us tonight, and it’s a result that we can’t be content with and we can’t stop now. Because it’s one game, it’s one result and at the end of the day if we lose the next four games it’s not going to mean anything. So we can be happy but we know we need to keep pushing because that’s what we need to make the playoffs.” PEDRO MORALES Thoughts on the game: “The team, my partners are very happy for today. For the way we needed the win today especially with Portland’s loss against Toronto. My teammates were very good today, good attitude. We had so many chances for a goal, but it is important today for a win, for three points. Very, very important.” On his missed penalty kick: “What happened is the goalkeeper is good. Every time I shoot on the same side, this time I lost. But my partner Jordan Harvey in the second penalty talked to me, he said ‘One more again’ for confidence. And I shot on the same side and a goal.” On his goal from Steven Beitashour: “I think when Beitashour shot the ball was out. I just put my legs in a good position and it was easy for me.” On leading by example in the second half of the game: "I think my teammates, when we finished the first half, they were very confident for me, [saying] 'Pedro, let’s go, no problem, take one more opportunity.' In the second half I felt so much better and more confident in my play. I got two important goals for the team." REAL SALT LAKE JEFF CASSAR Thoughts on the match: “The quality that Real has been typically known for just wasn’t there. The fight was there, the intensity was there, but we just didn’t play good enough soccer tonight. Credit to Vancouver, they were aggressive. We were aggressive too, just not good enough tonight.” On his decision to rest/not rest his starters: “Any players that I put out there, I think are first-teamers and starters. There were four or five changes to our lineup from our last lineup [against Colorado]. “ On whether the penalty kick calls were correct: “I’m not pleased about it. I’m just not pleased about it. Obviously, we put ourselves in those positions, but I’m not pleased. Really disappointed. It’s tough enough to go on the road and try to get a result, but it’s even tougher when you’ve got two PK calls against you.” Thoughts on Attinella’s play: “I thought he did a great job. Obviously he made a huge save on the PK, but really commanded his box well, looked very comfortable and really did a great job.” More thoughts on the overall match: “I actually thought our soccer was pretty good. You know, it’s a team that had their backs against the wall, and you saw them tonight that they were fighting hard on every play. There was no give up on that team, and that’s a credit to coach Robinson. They kept going. We kept going, too, but it just wasn’t our night.” JEFF ATTINELLA Thoughts on Real Salt Lake’s play: “We battled, and we were unfortunate not to get a result. Two PKs against, that’s pretty tough, and then a shot that’s going wide that happens to land at somebody’s foot. The ball didn’t bounce our way, and we battled - you’ve got do that on the road in a tough place when the team’s fighting for the playoffs. We were just unfortunate, but we fought hard enough to get a point, that’s for sure. On getting his first start after a long break: “That’s my role right now. I get a couple of days notice, and I’ve just got to be ready. I’m kind of used to it at this point, but it’s always exciting to get to play. Obviously, you just want to get a result.” On Pedro Morales’ first PK, which he stopped: “I had a good scouting report, I went the right way, and he didn’t hit it as well as he hit the second one, that’s for sure. I just got a hand to it. PKs are such a toss-up, as you saw with the next one that he buried. It’s always good to get the save, but in the end, it didn’t matter too much.” KYLE BECKERMAN Thoughts on the game: “I thought it was an entertaining game for the fans, which is great. It’s just unfortunate not to come out with a result.” On how much more difficult the game is after two PKs against: “It’s always going to be tough, especially against a team that’s been struggling to score. I think in quite a few of their last games, the only time they have actually scored is through PKs, and then that gets them going. It’s unfortunate that the two PKs were called against us, but sometimes you have to go through it, and that’s what we did tonight, and we weren’t able to get a result.” On what they can take from this performance moving forward: “I think the important thing was the effort that we gave tonight. I thought everybody fought for each other and really had each other’s back …the main thing you can get from it is if you can work for each other and really react to mistakes, which I thought we did that. We’ll take that and see if we can get better next week. We’ll work hard this week in practice and come out next week firing.”
  4. U18s Last Season: The Whitecaps finished in second place finish in the USSDA West Conference Northwest Division despite missing a number of key players due to U17 World Cup and other international call ups. They were 90 minutes away from their third consecutive finals week before losing 5-3 to the top rated team in USSDA, Bethesda-Olney. Additions: Forwards - Dario Zanatta (previously with U16), William Grayson (Surrey United FC) Midfielders - Jeevin Kang (U16), Vanna Markarian (U16), Drake Rendle (Calgary Foothills SC), Francesco Saporito (U16) Defenders - Manraj Bains (U16), Andre Baires (U16), Joshua Cuthbert (U16), Eric DeGraaf (U16) Losses: Forwards - Mason James Midfielders - Mitch Piraux, Mark Baldisimo Defenders - Chris Serban, Jackson Farmer, Nicholas Prasad Goalkeepers - Nolan Wirth Overview: Without a doubt the success of this season will be dependent on the midfield carrying the team. Marco Bustos returns to run the attack for the U18s, similar to the way Morales does for the senior team. He will be joined by Jordan Haynes, who could play up top or at left back, and Kianz Froese who will return to the midfield after playing up top last year. The main reason Froese will have his time as a striker limited is the addition of Dario Zanatta as the main target man, after scoring 26 times for the U16s last season. Both Ali Musse and Hayden Simmonds-O’Grady are the favourites to be the wide attacking players. After graduating all four regular starters, the U18s will have a relatively young backline. Both Vaggeli Boucas and Nike Azuma saw playing time last year and should start the season in the eleven but they will be pushed by the incoming players from the U16 side. Joshua Cuthbert and Andre Baires are likely to hold the other two starting spots but don’t be surprised if players like Eric DeGraaf and Manraj Baines push for playing time. The young backline will be helped by the players who will be in goal for the U18s, with both Marco Carduccci and William Diaz returning to the team. There will be times when MLS (and USL Pro) duties will pull Carducci away from the Residency team but Diaz has shown with his performance in the PDL playoffs that he is a capable keeper. Projected Line-up: (R to L) Marco Carducci; Joshua Cuthbert, Vaggeli Boucas, Andre Baires, Nike Azuma; Jordan Haynes, Kianz Froese, Hayden Simmonds-O’Grady, Marco Bustos, Ali Musse; Dario Zanatta Expectations: With players like Bustos, Froese, Haynes and others, the U18s will be an attacking team to be reckoned with and if the chemistry between the midfield and Zanatta is strong, expect some high scoring matches. The question will be whether they will be able to keep their opponents from scoring but having Carducci as the last line defence will help. There will be times when they will be without their best players, especially with a USL Pro team starting in the spring causing number of players to move to that level. The U18s should be a solid bet to make the playoffs, as they have every year in their USSDA history, but how far they make it will be the question. You can find all of the U18s fixtures for this season HERE. U16s Last Season: The U16s had an excellent bounce back season as they went from missing the playoffs to capturing the USSDA West Conference Northwest Division title. They advanced through the playoff week to the quarterfinals but were forced to host a home match on foreign soil where they lost 2-1 to Chicago Magic PSG. Additions: Forwards - Nicolas Apostol (Pre Residency), Dwayne Ewart (Ajax Soccer Club), Nathan Graziano (Pre Residency) Midfielders - Gloire Amanda (FC Edmonton), Michael Baldisimo (Pre Residency), Jonas Hakkinen (Pre Residency), Munir Saleh (Kitchener Spirit) Defenders - Chris Guerreiro (Pre Residency), Frazer Poulter (Peterborough United FC), Brendan Skinner (Pre Residency), Terrell Smith (Pre Residency) Goalkeepers - Dory Elliott (Edmonton Internazionale) Losses: Forwards - Dario Zanatta (to U18s), Aymar Sigue (to Tulsa University NCAA I) Midfielders - Jeevin Kang (to U18s), Patrick Izzett (left program), Vanna Markarian (to U18s), Francesco Saporito (to U18s), Marcello Polisi (left program) Defenders - Manraj Bains (to U18s), Andre Baires (to U16s), Joshua Cuthbert (to U16s), Eric DeGraaf (to U16s), Riley Pang (left program) Overview: Similar to the U18s, the strength for this team lies in the midfield with David Norman Jr. and Thomas Gardner running the show. Both players are entering their third season with the U16s and are candidates to see some time with the senior Residency squad. The third spot will be contested from a group that includes Jonas Hakkinen, Gloire Amanada and Munir Saleh. They will be providing service to a forward group that will include holdovers Terran Campbell and Daniel Sagno. Campbell has already seen time with the U18s while Sagno will key in the attack as he will see more playing time than last year. Cole Morokhovich is the early favourite to be the third player in the attack but expect a rotation of players at this level. Three of the four spots on the backline should go to returning players Matthew Baldisimo, John Kasper and Kadin Chung. Both Baldisimo and Kasper will anchor the central defence while Chung will be an attacking force from either of the full back positions. Goalkeeping will be another strength for this team with both Aidan Aylward and Luciano Trasolini returning for another season. With Aylward a candidate to move up to the U18s from time to time, Dory Elliot was brought in from Alberta. Projected Line-up: (R to L) Aidan Aylward; Kadin Chung, John Kasper, Matthew Baldisimo, Frazer Poulter; Munir Saleh, David Norman Jr., Terran Campbell, Thomas Gardner, Daniel Sagno; Cole Morokhovich Expectations: This will be a well balanced team as there will be games that they win games with both their attack and defence. The key will be incorporating the new players, especially the pre-residency ones, in order to get them used to the USSDA season, from a playing, travel and logistical sense. There is a lot of turnover for the Whitecaps U16 team with a number of players moving up the senior team. However there is still enough in this team across the pitch to compete for another division title and advance in the playoffs. You can find all of the U18s fixtures for this season HERE.
  5. The Whitecaps almost got off to a quick start in the fourth minute when Sebastian Fernandez set up Mattocks around the six yard area. He spun around and tried to get a quick shot off but Aurelien Collin was a bit quicker and he got his foot in to deflect the shot for a corner. Sporting responded with their own early chance in the 10th minute when Benny Feilhaber curled a shot from outside the box wide of the far post. Just before the 20 minute mark a quick counterattack by the Whitecaps resulted in them taking the lead when Igor Juliao scored an own goal. Pedro Morales sent a ball from his own side of the halfway line into the final third which the defender attempted to head back to his keeper but sent it over the on-rushing Andy Gruenebaum and into the empty net. At the half hour mark Morales almost caught the keeper with a free kick sent to the near post but Gruenebaum was able to get down and gather the ball. It was all Vancouver and another quick counter with six minutes to go in the opening half led to the Caps doubling their lead when Mattocks scored his sixth of the season, and fourth in five games. Matias Laba sent Morales with Mattocks on a 2v1 on Collin and after a couple of touches the Chilean set up the Jamaican striker alone to beat the keeper. The home side almost scored another before the half as Fernandez sent the ball to an open net but a diving Collin recovered to deflect the ball over the end line. Despite being down by two goals and holding the advantage of possession, Sporting KC were unable to generate enough chances in the second half. Their best one came just after the ball was kicked off when Jacob Peterson was sent in a hard shot from the right side of the box that was straight at Ousted. It was the Whitecaps who came closest to scoring in the half when Omar Salgado was fouled in the box by Collin, earning a penalty. Unfortunately for Vancouver they weren’t able to put an exclamation point on the victory as Mattocks’ attempt from the spot was deflected off the bar by keeper and second half sub Jon Kempin, with a fine instinctive save. The victory over the Eastern Conference leaders club was their first in six games and first since their 1-0 win over Seattle, who are also atop the Western Conference, on July 5th. With the win and the three points the Caps leap over Colorado and Portland into fifth spot in the West with a game in hand on the two teams below them. With only one game left against the East (at home to DC United in a few weeks time), the Caps now have 11 of their remaining 12 against Western teams and it starts next week against Chivas USA where they will look to avenge their loss at BC Place a month ago.   LINEUPS Vancouver Whitecaps FC David Ousted; Jordan Harvey, Johnny Leveron, Andy O’Brien, Steven Beitashour; Matias Laba, Gershon Koffie, Sebastian Fernandez (Omar Salgado 82), Pedro Morales (Russell Teibert 77), Erik Hurtado (Mehdi Ballouchy 66); Darren Mattocks [subs Not Used: Paolo Tornaghi, Carlyle Mitchell, Nicholas Mezquida, Kekuta Manneh] Sporting Kansas City Andy Gruenebaum (Jon Kempin 46); Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin, Igor Juliao (C.J. Sapong 64); Mikey Lopez, Jorge Claros, Benny Feilhaber; Graham Zusi, Dominic Dwyer, Jacob Peterson (Soony Saad 78) [subs Not Used:Martin Steuble, Sal Zizzo, Antonio Dovale, Lawrence Olum] Scoring Summary: 17' - VAN - Igor Juliao (own goal) 39' - VAN - Darren Mattocks (Pedro Morales) Match Stats: Shots: Vancouver 13 - Kansas City 13 Shots on Goal: Vancouver 7 - Kansas City 2 Saves: Vancouver 2 - Kansas City 6 Fouls: Vancouver 9 - Kansas City 25 Offsides: Vancouver 6 - Kansas City 2 Corners: Vancouver 6 - Kansas City 5 Cautions: 25' - SKC - Dom Dwyer 62' - SKC - Benny Feilhaber 63' - VAN - Erik Hurtado 83' - VAN - Jordan Harvey Reaction: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS Carl Robinson Thoughts on the early lead: “It would’ve been more relaxing if we’d gotten the third goal, to tell you the truth. It’s a nice win. It’s a good win for us against a very good team. There’s a lot of good teams out there, and Kansas City is certainly a very good team, very well organized with a top coach in charge. It was a good test for us, a test that we managed to overcome. I believed we could win the game if we did things right, because of the personnel that we’ve got .We can cause any teams problems, and we showed that today. It could’ve been four or five for us on another day, but we’ll take the victory.” On the first goal: “It was a fantastic pass, we talked about getting angled balls, and getting guys in the system we play. We play with two wide guys, and try to get them in when Pedro drops deep. It was a fantastic pass, and just a miscommunication between the fullback and goalkeeper, but we’ll take it, we did get lucky on the first goal. Take that out of it though, and I think we fully deserved the victory. It was a good performance against a top team. It would’ve been nice to get that third goal, because at two-nil, you’re never really comfortable. I said to the guys at halftime though, we’ve been in this position before. We were comfortable leading against Chivas one-nil, we went off and we switched off, so let’s just try to learn something today, and let’s just try to overcome that little bit of a hurtle. I think the first 20 minutes of the second half we didn’t maintain the ball as much as I would’ve liked, but again, we’re a work in progress in relation to that against a good team. We bent a little, but we didn’t break, and that was a pleasing thing for the guys.” How the play of Leveron and O’Brian will affect Waston breaking into the lineup: “He’s got to do well in training, he really has. Those two were excellent. I left Carlyle out, and he’s been very good. Kendall must be sitting here watching the game today, excited to be part of it. So if I feel it’s right I’ll put him in, but the two guys were excellent today, and when I look at the game tonight, I’ll see what we do when we have a day off tomorrow.” On why he thinks Kansas City is as good as they are: “I think it’s vitally important when you’re building football clubs that you have a foundation, and I think it’s vital that you have a core group of players, and Kansas City is a perfect example, so are Salt Lake. You don’t have to spend over the odds to do it, but it takes time. I was at Toronto from 2007-2010, and I saw an influx of maybe 80 odd players, teammates come and go. I don’t want to talk about Toronto too much, but that wasn’t a base for success. I think you’ve got to build somewhere, you’ve got to start somewhere, and sometimes you need to go backwards before you can go forwards. The good organizations understand that, we’ve certainly got a good organization here, and one that wants to progress, one that wants to win, but one that wants to produce young players as well. Me being a young coach, working with this young group of players, it really is a privilege, and an honour day in and day out because they give me a role, and I’ll never question anything from them.” Darren Mattocks Thoughts on scoring four goals in five games: “Yeah, it should have been five in five with the [penalty kick], but the most important thing is we got three points against a very good KC team with four All-Stars, and for us to get a clean sheet, I tap the guys on the back. To get three points on two goals, it was a very big thing for us.” Did you think Pedro was going to pass to you there? “Yeah. I mean, he’s a great player and I just put myself in the best position for my teammates and to give them a second option, and he chose it. I think I did well to put it in the back of the net.” Thoughts on the pass to you for the goal: “Yeah, I was trying my best to get in front of him and the pass was a bit behind me and I had to hook it in front of me and stretch a bit but as I said, it was a great finish nonetheless.” Thoughts on closing out the game: “I think we managed the game. There’s going to be games where we’re going to need to win one-zero, but I think we did great today managing the game, but we should have gotten a third goal, but as I said, three points, we’ll take it.” Thoughts on battle with Aurelien Collin: “Great battle. Physical guy. Week in and week out, I look forward to those challenges, and that’s going to get me better in the long run so I welcome the battle.” David Ousted Thoughts on the game: “Great win. Nice to get on the scoreboard in that sense. Really great performance all over, good defensively, and some good goals.” Importance of winning the game: “It definitely is crunch time right now. Like you said, people are winning next to us, and we need to keep winning like we did today to keep up with people and keep going up the standings. This was a good start but the work doesn’t stop here. We’ve got an even more important game next week in Chivas, and this will be a little bit for nothing if we don’t go there and get something out of it.” Thoughts on the defence: “Yeah, I think we did really well defensively. They had some finishes but everything was almost locked-down and we got them in some good angles, so easy saves for me. That was a nice clean sheet.” Thoughts on the team beating good teams: “You know I think it’s both. I think that says something about this team, and the quality that’s in it, but it also says about, we need to mature a little bit. Getting into those tough games, like you said, Chivas away, Chicago away, those games where people are expecting wins, those are not easy games. We need to realize that, and work even harder in those games to get those wins out of it.” SPORTING KANSAS CITY Peter Vermes Thoughts on the match: “They were the better team. They wanted the game more. Their guys were hungry, our guys were lackadaisical. We made two mistakes, and the mistakes are one thing, because that happens sometimes in games, and that kind of stuff you’ve got to be able to live with, but it’s our approach in the game. I always say that that’s my responsibility, so I’ll take responsibility, but at the same time, I’ll say that it won’t happen next week, I can tell you that.” On whether the number of fouls were caused by his team’s physical style: “That’s a misconception. We don’t play a physical game, what we do is play aggressive. What happens is, when you play aggressive, especially when you’re pressing the ball, things are going to happen. There are going to be fouls, but I don’t think, in any way, shape or form, did we foul more than them, or whatever. I don’t think that was the case. Again, I think we were late to a lot of stuff today because of our approach.” On whether the All-Star game affected his four starters: “From a physical perspective, no I don’t think so, but obviously, all four of the guys from the All-Star game for sure didn’t have their best games today, so that definitely has to have something to do with it, I would assume, because they didn’t have any training with us all week.” On Pedro Morales: “I think he’s a good player – I’ve seen him on video quite a bit. I think he’s a very good player, think he’s very good going forward, and good in the counter. He can not only find passes, but he’s a guy that can score as well. So, he definitely drives their offence from that part of the field.” Matt Besler Thoughts on the match: “I think that, in the first half, we didn’t come out with the correct mentality. We didn’t play who we are, we were on the back foot instead of the front foot. We finally got into the game in the second half and created some chances there, but at the end of the day, we were down two goals by that time, and it wasn’t good enough.” On whether the abundance of fouls called was a product of Sporting Kansas City’s play: “We played like we normally do. I think we’re a physical team. I think the ref, for whatever reason, was calling more fouls than we’re used to, but I don’t think we were fouling more than we usual, we were playing like we usually do.” On whether the All-Star game had any effect on himself, Zusi, Dwyer, or Collin in terms of fatigue: “No effect. Anyone that says it affects you – that’s just an excuse. Like I said, the mentality wasn’t good enough and we didn’t play the way we could today.” Jon Kempin On whether this was his first time entering a match at halftime: “Throughout my career, yes, but obviously that was my debut, so not professionally. It’s always tough, because you don’t get much of a warm-up or notice, but I was definitely very happy to get in.” On whether communicating with the centre backs is the most important part of coming into a game cold: “Yeah, just getting on the same page. Coming in and getting a feel for how the game is going.” On whether scouting and review of Mattocks helped him stop the second-half penalty kick: “A little bit, but to be honest, I think the ref blew the whistle a little early, before I was quite ready and I had to make a quick decision, and that’s the way I went.” Graham Zusi General thoughts on the match “First half is what killed us. We just came out with the wrong mentality and we didn’t play the way we play on a consistent basis. That’s what killed us today. They came out and took it to us that first half. Obviously, we were unfortunate on that first goal, but it’s as simple as not coming out and fighting. That’s what we do so well, and we didn’t do it today.” On why they didn’t come out strong: “It happens every now and again. Whether it’s preparation or we’re too comfortable, there’s a reason we didn’t bring it.” On the second half: “We woke up. We had some chances and if one of those goes in early on in the half, then we get ourselves a shot, but at that point, they were up two goals, and were pretty happy just to put 10 guys behind the ball.”
  6. It was the Whitecaps who were pressing early for the first goal as there were a number of chances in the first ten minutes. They almost broke through in the second minute when Erik Hurtado was sent in the on the keeper but Stefan Frei charged out to grab the ball. The Caps were finally able to break their goalless streak in the 12th minute when Sebastian Fernandez scored his third of the season to give the home side the lead. After some nice buildup Pedro Morales found the Uruguayan cutting into the middle of the pitch and after taking a touch Fernandez blasted the ball into the top right hand corner beating a diving Frei. There were chances for the Caps to double their lead but they were not able to make that final ball count. Both Manneh and Hurtado had chances but their shots from wide angles were easily stopped by Seattle’s keeper. There was a period near the end of the first half when the Sounders controlled the flow of play and dominated possession. However while they caused Vancouver’s backline to bend,, there was no breakthrough for the visitors as the Caps held on to the one goal lead at halftime. Coming out of the break it was Manneh who made a nice run at Seattle and was brought down just at the edge of the box. Unfortunately the subsequent free kick by Morales was ineffective as it hit the edge of the wall set up by the Sounders. The Sounders continued to press for the equalizer and came close on a number of occasions. Just after the hour mark second half sub Tristan Bowen had his shot earmarked for the far post but a diving David Ousted kept him off the scoresheet. With about twenty minutes to go the Caps had a glorious chance to extend their lead when Morales sent Hurtado in alone on goal. Unfortunately the sophomore was unable to score when he miss hit his attempted chip into the hands of Frei. The Sounders made attempts in the closing minutes but Johnny Leveron came up big with a couple of big blocks. In added time, Marco Pappa made an attempt from distance but his shot sailed just over the bar as the Caps were able to secure the their first win after the World Cup break. It was their dominance in the midfield that was their main strength as the trio of Morales, Laba and Koffie controlled the flow of the match and broke up any threats from the Sounders. Both Leveron and Mitchell were able to handle the physical strike force of Cooper and Barrett limiting the duo to only one shot on target. If there was one cause for concern it would be in the attack as there were a number of chances for them to extend their advantage. While both Manneh and Hurtado made some electrifying runs into the box there were there too many missed chances as they didn’t use their teammates in the final third effectively. With the win the Caps hold on to fifth place in the Western Conference while still holding games in hand against the teams above. They also take over the lead in the Cascadian standings as they attempt to hold on to the Cascadia Cup for another season. The Whitecaps return to B.C. Place next Saturday as they take on another Western Conference opponent Chivas USA. Final Score: Vancouver Whitecaps 1 - 0 Seattle Sounders Att: 22,500 sell-out (8th consecutive sell-out this season) Vancouver Whitecaps David Ousted; Steve Beitashour, Carlyle Mitchell, Johnny Leveron, Jordan Harvey; Gershon Koffie, Matías Laba, Sebastian Fernandez (Russell Teibert 86), Pedro Morales (Christian Dean 90+3), Kekuta Manneh (Nigel Reo-Coker 68); Erik Hurtado [subs not used: Paolo Tornaghi, Nicolas Mezquida, Darren Mattocks, Omar Salgado] Seattle Sounders Stefan Frei; Jalil Anibaba, Chad Marshall, Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez (Aaron Kovar 86); Marco Pappa, Michael Azira, Brad Evans, Lamar Neagle (Tristan Bowen 55); Chad Barrett, Kenny Cooper (Cam Weaver 74) [subs not used: Josh Ford, Fabio Pereira, Sean Okoli, David Estrada] *** Post game reaction to follow ***
  7. Part One on Wednesday looked at the U16s, and Part Two takes a look at the U18 players that finished second in their division before suffering playoff heartbreak this week. The U18 players in this ranking could see the pitch as a professional sooner rather than later. This will be an important time for the players as they transition from academy life to playing with men much bigger. As per every year, the following rankings are a snapshot of where the players are in their development combined with the potential they show to develop into professional footballers and taking current age into account. Because potential is so hard to predict, it is not an even measurable with the player’s current status. We feel there isn’t a reason any of the lower ranked or unranked players couldn’t develop into future professionals. The rankings are put together after getting input from a number of sources. Included in this review is an independent scout who has seen the Residency players in action on a number of occasions. 2014 U18s ONES TO WATCH 5 – Jordan Haynes POS: MF/DF HT: 5'10" YR: 1996 HOMETOWN: Peterborough, Ontario STATS: 26 GP, 24GS, 2G OVERVIEW: Haynes is one of those players that are versatile enough to play a multiple number of positions including both attacking and defensive ones. He was a big part of the U17 national team that played in the World Cup and helped the U18s make the playoffs for the third consecutive year. OUTLOOK: While Haynes is still eligible to return for another season with the Residency there might be a chance for him to be loaned and get some playing time with a pro club at a lower level. If he does return then expect Haynes to be one of the leaders of the squad next year. SCOUT’S TAKE: A tireless worker who can play in multiple positions. A player with a preferred left foot, he is excellent at either left back or left midfield, but also demonstrated his ability to play at a holding midfield role or as a box to box midfielder. Haynes also has good pace and good endurance. A big part of Haynes’ progression will be challenges to continue doing what he is doing now with the 18s at the next level. This will be partly up to him to take the chance, and partly up to the Whitecaps in finding him the right opportunities. 4 – Jackson Farmer POS: CB HT: 6'2" YR: 1995 HOMETOWN: Edmonton, Alberta STATS: 19 GP, 19GS, 1G OVERVIEW: The Edmonton native had a solid season starting with the U18s, earning a couple of call ups to national team camps and impressing with the first team at Whitecaps training camp. The only tough part of his year was his loan spell with Charleston of USL PRO where he was unable to breakthrough into the starting lineup and was being played at right back when he did get time. OUTLOOK: Farmer is officially graduated from the Residency program. It seems like the Caps are interested him as a future player and it will be interesting to see where they can find him playing time to continue his development, as he needs to be playing regularly to do that. SCOUT’S TAKE: A solid, technically gifted centreback, Farmer is particularly comfortable in playing the ball out of the back as he is composed and aware of what is happening around him. His speed, pace, and athleticism allow him to keep good positions tactically and take chances every now and then in knowing he can recover quickly. It is now up to him to continue to perform at the next level when he gets a chance. In addition to continuing to improve his overall game, Farmer will need to add a little bit of 'ruthlessness' to his centreback role. 3 – Mitch Piraux POS: CM HT: 5'10" YR: 1995 HOMETOWN: Calgary, Alberta STATS: 27GP, 25GS, 5G OVERVIEW: Everyone knew that Piraux was a solid player but he was clearly the biggest riser of all the Residency players when it came to potential in the pro ranks. He really impressed everyone, including Carl Robinson, at preseason camp with steady play as a holding midfielder. Piraux can contribute offensively as well as he finds players with his passes and has a deceptive shot from a distance. OUTLOOK: Similar to Farmer, the Caps will have to find Piraux some playing time with a pro team since he has graduated from the academy ranks. His development has come on apace this past year, so regular minutes will be needed to keep that going. SCOUT’S TAKE: The holding midfielder has come a long way this season. Piraux has a real knack of showing for the ball in tight areas and in getting out of those areas with vision, technique, and quick play (usually one touch). He is always looking for the ball and to help out his teammates. Piraux also has a keen sense of when to get into the box and has scored some very good goals this season. To continue his progression as a central midfielder, Piraux will need to become a little tougher in the tackle and continue to show he has what it takes to move through the ranks – IE, more of the same. 2 – Kianz Froese POS: MF HT: 5'11" YR: 1996 HOMETOWN: Brunkild, Manitoba STATS: 22GP, 21GS, 12G OVERVIEW: Froese had a much better season this year compared to the season before, especially with his ability to remain healthy. In addition to his strong play in residency Froese has not looked out of place playing for the U23s and with the first team in his start in the Voyageurs Cup tournament. In addition to his normal central midfield role, he has played striker for the U18s and winger against TFC. OUTLOOK: He can still return for another year with the Residency and may follow a similar path to Adekugbe and Carducci where he signs with the first team but plays at the lower level. SCOUT’S TAKE: Good strength, technique, and pitch awareness. Froese has had a good season with the Whitecaps and the National Program. He has more than demonstrated the ability to move up and confirmed his progress with excellent movement, skill, readiness to play at that pace of the game, and desire to work hard at the first team level. To be successful long term, Kianz will need to focus on his fitness level and endurance to play the game consistently at the highest level. 1 – Marco Bustos POS: CM HT: 5'7" YR: 1996 HOMETOWN: Winnipeg, Manitoba STATS: 24GP, 23GS, 19G OVERVIEW: It was a close run thing, but Bustos was just able to edge out his teammate from Manitoba for the top spot this year. He was the engine that ran the U18s as he both scored and created goals for his teammates. Bustos showed in his limited opportunities with the first team that he is not as far off becoming a pro player despite his size. OUTLOOK: He is eligible to return for another season in the USSDA and like Froese could sign a MLS contract but play the majority of the year with the U18s. How much of a development that would be for him is questionable, as he was standing out a lot in the last few games of the U18s season and needs the challenge of playing against older players to really continue to come on. SCOUT’S TAKE: This boy WILL be a pro! What is to be determined is at what level he can attain - with this scout believing it can be at the very top in the game. We saw glimpses of what he can do technically and his ability to be a factor in attack when he played for the first team against San Jose in the preseason tournament, as well as his participation in the Canadian Championship. Bustos’ training habits and work rate have improved considerably this year, but he will need to work on his strength and 'staying power' to allow him to play 90 minutes at the first team level to be the major influence in a game he can become. HONOURABLE MENTIONS Keepers are the hardest players to see into the future as to how good they can become, which is a reason why Nolan Wirth just missed making it into the Top 5. Both Chris Serban and Ali Musse joined the team part way through the season and there just wasn’t enough to judge with. Hayden Simmonds-O’Grady arrived even later in the year and split the season with the U16s but will be an important part of the U18s next season and could be a breakout star. So that concludes our look at the "Ones To Watch" for 2014. We'll be back with another next year, but in the meantime, try and get out and watch some of these guys in action. You won't be disappointed. FURTHER READING: 2014 Whitecaps Residency Ones To Watch (The U16s) 2013 Whitecaps Residency Ones To Watch (The Top Five) 2013 Whitecaps Residency Ones To Watch (Places 6 to 10 and bubbling under) 2012 Whitecaps Residency Ones To Watch (Top Three) 2012 Whitecaps Residency Ones To Watch (Places 4 to 10) 2012 Whitecaps Residency Ones To Watch (Places 11 to 15) 2012 Whitecaps Residency Ones To Watch (Places 16 to 20)
  8. "Being from Europe, I can say soccer is in my blood and I fell in love with this sport from the start." Serban told AFTN this week. He continued rising through the ranks of Alberta Soccer and it was soon clear to him that there was a chance he could play for a living. "I was about 12 when I was playing at the top level in Calgary (CMSA Div 1) and was also selected to play for the Alberta provincial team, so I developed a taste for the potential opportunity of playing professionally." During his developmental years he would play five years with current Whitecap Marco Carducci, in addition to playing with and against other soon to be future Residency players like Sam Adekugbe, Mitch Piraux, and Jackson Farmer. However it was his coach and former Whitecaps Residency manager Thomas Niendorf who helped get Serban a trial with the Caps, which was successful and he joined the club a week later. Former Residency head coach, and current MLS assistant, Gordon Forrest has liked what he's seen from Serban since he's come to Vancouver. "He's come in to the program and he's a great kid, good attitude," Forrest told us. "He applies himself very well to training and games and in that right fullback position he's done a very good job. That's an area of the Residency we've been looking to strengthen. "His strengths are his character and his application to the training and games, his work rate. He's so energetic, he just wants to do well. He's got qualities going forward and defensively as well." This isn't the first time Serban has left home to take an opportunity to grow his game, as he spent portions of the last ten years playing in tournaments and training with clubs across Europe. In the last few years he trained with teams like Valencia (Spain), Fortuna Dusseldorf (Germany) and CFR Cluj (Romania) and that time in Europe Serban feels really helped his overall game. "These experiences were very rewarding and helped me develop new skills and grow as an individual", Serban notes. "I had the privilege to work with many amazing coaches and play with some very talented players. The encouragement I got from all the coaches I worked with was to continue the hard work and my love of the game." Most would think after training with European clubs, joining an academy of a North American team would feel like a drop off but Serban didn’t see much of a difference. "Both are extremely well structured and have quality training sessions. In Residency there are many coaches/trainers that work with the players to ensure they are at their best compared with Europe where one or two coaches only are responsible for running the entire program. "In the months I’ve spent here, I have improved my speed of play, tactical awareness and physicality through rigorous training and lots of game time against tough opposition. Working with great coaches that always provide constructive feedback has also helped me build my skills further." Despite training with, and playing for, so many experienced coaches the most influential person in Serban’s game is his dad Florin, who is also a linesman for the Calgary Soccer Association. "When I was younger, my dad was my coach and he had a huge influence on the way I play the game. He used to say "be quick, but don't rush it." I will always remember those words. Whenever I’m on the ball, I try to be composed and calm. This allows me to make smart decisions." However it’s just not his dad, but his entire family, who have supported him in his pursuit of making a career of the sport. "Growing up, I’ve always had my family by my side, supporting and guiding me towards building and chasing my dreams. It has been an amazing journey and I know I am here today because of their continuous support and love they have shown all these years. My mom (Daniela) and my sister Eli are my biggest cheerleaders." When it comes to patterning his game Serban looks to fellow full backs but the player he admires most is a current Argentine World Cup star. "(Pablo) Zabaletta is a player I watch and try to model my game after. I admire his work ethic and the intelligence he has when he advances forward to join the attack." Not only did Serban start regularly for the U18s this season (making 15 appearances and grabbing one goal in the playoffs), but when the PDL season started Serban started getting time with the U23 team as their regular right back playing against older players and doing well. "I have always had the opportunity to play with older players. This has definitely helped me expand my game in being even quicker on the ball and tested my physicality to its fullest with the U23s as the players I've played against were physically stronger and more experienced." Despite making great strides this season with the Whitecaps, Serban realizes that there a number of skills he needs to further develop in order to get to his ultimate goal of playing professionally. Graduating from the Residency program will now see Serban take on another opportunity as he heads to UBC to play for the Thunderbirds and study in the Bachelor of Commerce program, whilst also staying in the Caps program at PDL level. "There's always room for improvement in all aspects of my game. I can work on my touches, passing, shooting etc. I can also work on the physical side of my game including strengths, speed, agility and flexibility." It will be interesting to see Serban's development at UBC. Mike Mosher has built up a very young and talented Thunderbirds team, winning back to back CIS Championships, and it will be a great environment for him to continue his growth. For all the talented players the Whitecaps Residency has produced, the right back position has always seemed to be one which has been lacking for future MLS prospects. Now, in an already well travelled Calgarian, the Whitecaps may just have that 'homegrown' talent they've been looking for in the position. Chris Serban is certainly a player we will be keeping an eye on.
  9. Part one today takes a look at the players who were part of the U16 team that bounced back this season to make the playoffs after missing them last season in a rebuilding year. The team finished first in their division and it was a complete team effort which really made it hard to narrow the top places. As per every year, the following rankings are a snapshot of where the players are in their development combined with the potential they show to develop into professional footballers and taking current age into account. Because potential is so hard to predict, it is not an even measurable with the player’s current status. We feel there isn’t a reason any of the lower ranked or unranked players couldn’t develop into future professionals. The rankings are put together after getting input from a number of sources. Included in this review is an independent scout who has seen the Residency players in action on a number of occasions. 2014 U16s ONES TO WATCH 5 – Joshua Cuthbert POS: RB HT: 5'9" YR: 1997 HOMETOWN: Victoria, B.C. STATS: 23 GP, 18 GS, 0 G OVERVIEW: In his second full season with the U16s, Cuthbert continued to make progress at the rightback position. Has a very solid two way game and delivers an excellent ball into the box from the wide areas and was recently called to the U18 camp for Canada. The Caps may finally have their homegrown prospect in this position. OUTLOOK: Cuthbert will move up to the U18s where he will look to establish himself as the everyday right back. SCOUT’S TAKE: Another player who has progressed very well in the 2013-14 season. A pacey, attack oriented full back who can also tackle and defend with an equal skill set. Athletically gifted, Cuthbert also has a good mentality and is committed in a tackle and in one v one defending. Tactical awareness and his heading duels are areas he can improve. Cuthbert’s next step is to be an influence in games at the 18s level, and to continue to advance his overall development, but from everything that has been seen from him this year, all is pointing to him becoming a major player on the team. 4 – David Norman Jr. POS: CM HT: 5'11" YR: 1998 HOMETOWN: Coquitlam, B.C. STATS: 22GP, 18GS, 1G OVERVIEW: The holding midfielder continues his rise through the ranks of the residency program with another impressive season. Norman’s excellent blend of technical ability and toughness will make him someone to watch over the next few years. OUTLOOK: While still eligible for the U16 program there may be a chance that Norman will advanced to the next level. If he does remain at the same level then expect him to take on a leadership role with the team. SCOUT’S TAKE: Norman has continued his development as one of the strongest holding midfielders for the Whitecaps, playing his best soccer in the last four months. He has a skill set typical to many great holding midfielders around the world – excellent tactical awareness, good link between defenders and attackers, and an ability to break up the opponents attack either with dispossessions or strong tackles. He has an exceptional mentality, football IQ, and work rate in addition a strong desire to become a professional player. Norman has a lot of upside to be a top player, but he will have to improve his strength and pace, as well as discipline in not taking too many yellow cards in the wrong areas or at the wrong time. 3 – Kadin Chung POS: FB HT: 5'7" YR: 1998 HOMETOWN: Port Coquitlam, B.C. STATS: 23GP, 16GS, 2G OVERVIEW: A very impressive season for the converted winger who showed attacking flair from both sides of the backline. He contributed with scoring and both of his goals this season were highlight reel types where he went through a number of players to score. OUTLOOK: As a player still learning his position, Chung will most likely remain at the level but there is a chance he could see some U18 action during the season. SCOUT’S TAKE: Coming out season for Chung as he displayed his exceptional attacking skills. He is very good at getting involved going forward and is particularly good at running at defenders, getting good service into strikers, and when presented with the opportunity, finishing his chances. He is also a good one on one defender. There is lots of upside for Chung. One of the younger players in the program, he will need to work on his mentality, tackling ability, and challenges in heading situations to take his game to the next progression. 2 – Thomas Gardner POS: CM HT: 5'9" YR: 1998 HOMETOWN: North Vancouver, B.C. STATS: 24GP, 20GS, 7G OVERVIEW: Mostly playing in a centrally attacking role for the U16s, Gardner is one of the most technically gifted players in the program which has seen him get called up by the U16 national team. In addition to his playmaking ability, centrally or on the wing, he also has the capability of contributing with a timely goal. OUTLOOK: Similar to Norman, Gardner could go up to the U18s or remain at the current level and this will depend on where the coaches feel he can further best develop his skills. SCOUT’S TAKE: One of, if not the best dribblers in the Residency Program. His dribbling and good passing skill set, allows him to score or set up a team mate for a goal completely out of nothing. He is best at the number 10 position, but he also has an impact on the game from playing out wide or as a box to box midfielder. Gardner is also very athletic, particularly his endurance and ability to perform at a high level of fitness for the entire match. Overall a very good prospect, but to continue his progress, he will need to become stronger mentality wise around decisions on when to dribble, pass, and shoot in addition to improving his defending side of the game in order to evolve his game to the levels expected of him. 1 – Dario Zanatta POS: FW HT: 6'1" YR: 1997 HOMETOWN: Victoria, B.C. STATS: 24 GP, 18 GS, 21G OVERVIEW: Starting his first season as the regular striker, Zanatta experienced a breakthrough season scoring 21 times. He even impressed in a couple of opportunities with the U18s when the team was missing players due to international callups. OUTLOOK: Zanatta will be moving up to the U18 level and will take on the starting striker position as he looks to continue his goal scoring prowess. SCOUT’S TAKE: A player who has emerged after a tough year at U16 in 2012-13, to be a sensation at the U16 and U18 levels in the 2013-14 season. Zanatta has a rare football IQ and innate ability to be in the right place at the right time to score goals with either foot, off a dribble, from short or long range, with his head, or from set pieces. This has helped him to be one of the top scorers in all of the USSDA. All strikers need to score, but Zanatta brings so much more to the game. He has an excellent passing sense, sees the game well, and is learning to play as an out and out striker. To go to the next level, Dario needs to work on his ‘back to goal game’, ability to bring teammates into the game, athleticism. This will be a big year for the young striker to see if he can push on and get training opportunities with the first team. HONOURABLE MENTIONS: There were a number of players for one reason or another that didn’t make the Top 5 but definitely deserve a mention. Any one of these players have the ability to become future professionals in soccer. There were a few players that were very close to cracking into the top 5 including midfielder Francisco Saporito, who brings his high work rate to the midfield in addition to his skill. Another player who could have easily been in one of the five spots is Terran Campbell, whose size and athleticism makes him a handful to defend. The Caps have had great success in developing keepers and the next one could be Aidan Aylward, who split duties this year with the U16s. Because the team was very deep, winger Daniel Sagno didn’t see as much playing time but he was a threat the majority of the time he was on the pitch, scoring 8 goals. Ottawa native Vana Markarian joined the program midway through the season while two others, striker Aymar Sigue and defender Eric de Graaf missed parts of the season due to injury. Sigue saw time with both the U16s and U18s and scored 10 goals. He is already looking towards his college career. So that concludes our look at the "Ones To Watch" in the U16s, we'll be back with out U18 round-up at the weekend. FURTHER READING: 2013 Whitecaps Residency Ones To Watch (The Top Five) 2013 Whitecaps Residency Ones To Watch (Places 6 to 10 and bubbling under) 2012 Whitecaps Residency Ones To Watch (Top Three) 2012 Whitecaps Residency Ones To Watch (Places 4 to 10) 2012 Whitecaps Residency Ones To Watch (Places 11 to 15) 2012 Whitecaps Residency Ones To Watch (Places 16 to 20)
  10. Match report from Vancouver Whitecaps' 2-2 draw with Seattle Sounders at BC Place on Saturday afternoon and post game reaction from both locker rooms. Report: A contentious call near the end of the match proved to be the difference as the Vancouver Whitecaps and Seattle Sounders drew their first Cascadian Cup match of the season 2-2 at BC Place on Saturday afternoon. Erik Hurtado continued his hot scoring streak and Gershon Koffie scored his first of the season for the Caps, while Chad Barrett and Gonzalo Pineda replied for the visitors. There was very little rust on the Caps to start the match and they were a side that were attacking the Sounders for the first ten minutes of the match. They came close on a number of chances including Stefan Frei’s stop on Kekuta Manneh and Gershon Koffie’s strike that struck the crossbar and bounced off the line. The Sounders were able to settle down the match and come up with a couple of opportunities on goal but for most of the first half both teams alternated in carrying play. With less than ten minutes to go until the break the visitors opened the scoring as former TFC striker Chad Barrett put one past David Ousted. After a couple of failed attempts Kenny Cooper was able to send a ball from the right of the box and Barrett rose unchallenged to head home into the far corner. The lead didn’t last long for the Sounders with Vancouver replying only three minutes later as Erik Hurtado scored his third goal in as many games. It was Pedro Morales who sent nice lob into the path of Hurtado and after turning out a couple of defenders, he fired a shot in a small space between Frei and the bar to send the game even into the half. While the first fifteen minutes of the second half didn’t provide any chances for either team there was an incident along the sidelines when Gonzalo Pineda slapped the ball out of Carl Robinson’s hands. The two rivals came together around the half line mark in a tense scrum but fortunately for both teams no one was sent off, or even booked in the altercation. A mistake by Frei in the 66th minute would give the Whitecaps the lead as Gershon Koffie scored his first of the season into an empty net. Trying to avoid giving up a corner the keeper came way out of his net and booted the ball towards the other half. Koffie was able to intercept the clearing attempt and found the vacated net from around 35-40 yards. The home side was within ten minutes from claiming the full three points when Gonzalo Pineda converted a much disputed penalty call. While defending a cross into the box Jay DeMerit seemed to get his head on the ball but the referee deemed the captain had fouled Cam Weaver and awarded a penalty. Just minutes later the Sounders almost took the lead when Obefami Martins broke in and sent his shot off the post. Then in added time Koffie had a chance to pick up his second as he found himself alone in the box but his attempt went over the bar which would ensure a sharing of points between the rivals. Despite the feeling that they were robbed of points the Whitecaps will continue their attempt to defend the Cascadia Cup as they travel down the I-5 to face the Portland Timbers next Sunday. Vancouver Whitecaps David Ousted; Nigel Reo-Coker, Andy O'Brien, Jay DeMerit, Jordan Harvey; Gershon Koffie, Matías Laba, Sebastian Fernandez (Nicolás Mezquida 72nd min), Pedro Morales, Kekuta Manneh (Russell Teibert 80th min); Erik Hurtado Substitutes not used Paolo Tornaghi, Johnny Leveron, Carlyle Mitchell, Darren Mattocks, Omar Salgado Seattle Sounders Stefan Frei; Jalil Anibaba, Djimi Traore (Brad Evans 57th min), Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez; Marco Pappa, Osvaldo Alonso, Gonzalo Pineda, Chad Barrett (Cam Weaver 80th min); Kenny Cooper (Michael Azira 72nd min), Obafemi Martins Substitutes not used Marcus Hahnemann, Andy Rose, Tristan Bowen, Dylan Remick Reaction: VANCOUVER WHITECAPS FC HEAD COACH CARL ROBINSON Thoughts on the match: "Yeah, very frustrating if I’m honest. The boys were fantastic from the first minute. I thought the first half we were absolutely phenomenal. We could have been ahead, weren’t ahead. They scored on their second chance, and then we fought back, but it was a very entertaining game." Thoughts on the penalty: "I saw my captain jump for the ball in his penalty box and head the ball away." "I can only concentrate on what I can do. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do nothing about what’s going on today. I think you could all see it today. 20 odd thousand see it, so as much as I’d like to say certain things, I’ll talk about my team and I’ll continue to do that." Thoughts on the atmosphere and rivalry: "Listen it’s great. I said to the guys before the game that you want to play in big games. I want to test myself against the best managers, and Sigi [schmid] is certainly one of them. These occasions don’t come around too often. It’s the same obviously when we play Portland and things like that. It’s a special occasion, so don’t let the game pass you by, and we didn’t. It’s important for the growth of football here in Vancouver, and North America that that continues because it’s all about rivalries and if you get intense rivalries, and players wanting to win, and managers wanting to win. I think you saw that from both sets of players today, and certainly both managers." "I think the guys who haven’t played in a Seattle-Vancouver game before certainly got it today because both sets of supporters were excellent." Thoughts on Koffie: "It was probably his best performance. He’s been excellent the last three or four games for me. I keep saying to him that he needs to keep scoring goals. He’s a midfield player. Not just his goal, but I think he hit the bar in the first couple of minutes, and then could have nicked it in the end with two more chances. It was an all-around performance from him today, and he should be proud of himself." Thoughts on not scoring on chances: "It’d concern me more if we weren’t getting chances. Obviously we’re getting chances. We got to work at that, or do something about it. I’ve openly said we’re looking at trying to bring in players to help this group, and I’ll continue to do that, but the player has to be the right player or players, and if they are, then we’ll move forward with that. But the guys in there, I said I’m delighted with them today, and I’m proud of them. Erik Hurtado again, another fantastic goal and performance and we’re just moving in the right direction slowly." Thought’s on Erik Hurtado’s performance, goal and growing confidence: "People ask me about what’s the difference in Erik from last three weeks ago 'til now and he’s a different player. Well I say no, he’s not a different player, he’s the same player, but his confidence has obviously grown. I think the supporters are finally seeing what he can do. I’ve seen that in glimpses last year while I was here as an assistant, and I wanted to give him that chance. I think players want their managers to have faith in them, and I certainly have faith in Erik at the moment. He’s doing himself a lot of good.” Thoughts on match up with Seattle: "They’re a good team. I’ve said that before the game they’re a good team, but so are we. Slowly we’re becoming a very good team. Two different types of teams, they’re very physical. They like to counter-attack. We like to counter-attack, but we like to try and keep the ball on the deck. We don’t have a big center-forward, as everyone likes to keep telling me, but we’ve got players who like to get down the sides and little give and goes, and things like that. So it was a contrast of two teams’ styles I think today, but I’m proud they matched the physicality because you know they are always going to be there, Seattle, and we’ve got to make sure we start to get there this year, and continue to get there and become a seasoned team." MIDFIELDER GERSHON KOFFIE Thoughts on his performance: "The manager told me I did well on my performance, and I could have got more than one goal. I guess we will take it to the next game and see what happens." Playing after the yellow card: "When you get booked early you have to be careful about what you do, and you can’t create any fouls, so the manager told me I had a yellow card, so I should be careful." DEFENDER NIGEL REO-COKER Thoughts on the game: "It was unlucky today, but nonetheless I thought it was a great team performance, I thought the first 30 minutes were fantastic. It’s the best we’ve been all season, the tempo, the passing, the movement. Another day it could’ve been three or four nil for us and game done, but that’s football and I thought it was unlucky for us today." On the physical play: "It was a good physical challenge for us, a good physical test and I thought we rose to the occasion. We did very well, we showed we’ve grown in character we’re not a team of soft touch anymore." STRIKER ERIK HURTADO Thoughts on the match: "Really proud of the boys, we went down came back, just unfortunate." Thoughts on his own play: "Just getting the opportunity, and making the best of it right now." On using the game to prepare for Portland: "It was a disappointing result, but nowhere near disappointing performance. We played great, the fans helped us out, and we’ve just got to take the performance, and push that forward through this week of training and take that into the Portland game. I feel confident that our team will be confident on the road." On his goal: "Just linked up with Pedro, and Seba, really well and I had the space, saw Alonso coming towards me, so I acted like I was going to cross it and made them bite, and then chopped it again and just roofed it." On his growing confidence: "I’m getting the opportunity to play, and I’m getting the opportunity to hold players off. Andy O’Brien has been telling me a lot how to hold defenders off, and how to position myself before I get the ball, so that has a lot to do with it. I’ve just got to keep taking on what he’s telling me, and add that into my game." SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC HEAD COACH SIGI SCHMID On his feelings regarding the end result: "Obviously, we always want to get more, but we’re happy to walk away with at least a point. Especially when you look at the players we’re missing in total and losing Marshall right before the game with an illness and losing Djimi Traore as well made it a little difficult. We had to make some unusual changes and substitutions. I thought we did well, we were unlucky on Oba’s shot. There we could’ve maybe pulled off the win and I wasn’t happy with the goals we gave up, obviously." On Stefan Frei’s performance: "I mean, the goal’s on him and on our defenders for not stepping in on that one. He made a save at the time when it was 1-1 where he came up with a big save to his left, he made a big save later, but that’s something that obviously can’t happen." On the Whitecaps' first goal: "The guy gets into the box, with a chance maybe to stop him earlier, engage the player outside the box but then once he gets in the box and we have two players around him, so we’ve got a double, we’ve got to stay on our feet there. So we leave our feet, he cuts, and we tackle our own player. That’s something that I think, you stay on your feet, and you have a better chance of doing well there. Also, the timing of it, coming four or five minutes after our goal, that’s something that we’ve got to be a little more resolute at that, but it’s coming. We showed character, we showed our character to come back, and we showed our character to almost come away with three if Oba doesn’t hit the post there.” On the penalty call: "It was hard because I really didn’t watch the replay, cause I was busy trying to organize our team at that point, so I haven’t seen the replay. Some people said it was a penalty, some people said it was soft, I don’t know. But, you’ve got to be willing to put yourself in a position, which Cam Weaver did and he ended up calling the PK." DEFENDER BRAD EVANS On how it felt to be with Sounders FC again after USMNT camp: "Great. You know, put things in the past, and fortunate to get a result on the road. I thought the guys battled hard, maybe if we eliminate one or two mistakes, but happy with the boys, with the 2-2." On how he wanted to handle coming back after being cut: "Initially, your feelings are 'I want to put this in the past, run around for 90 minutes and get after it.' Maybe sometimes that’s not the smartest thing, so I took the smart approach, told him [schmid] I felt good, I was mentally ready to go, I was into the game, I felt good out there. It was almost as though I just went away for conditioning camp for a week and then came back. I feel strong, I feel healthy, I feel fit. Overall, we spoke about it last night and this morning, there was never a worry about it." MIDFIELDER CHAD BARRETT Thoughts on the match: "Felt good to get the goal. I’d be glad to get away with three points, but we’ll take the point right now. We made some mistakes to give them some goals and they capitalized on it. Good teams will do that. At least we got a point out of it, but it’s a little bittersweet." On his goal following Vancouver’s early onslaught: "Sometimes, you’ve got to be a firefighter and just douse the fire. They came out wanting it, you could tell they were really going. I don’t think I touched the ball for the first 10 minutes and that’s frustrating. You just want to make sure that you make some good saves, Stefan made some good saves, we had some good blocks. Luckily, they missed a couple shots. We came back, and we were able to score the goal, and then we gave it right back to them. It’s frustrating when we give up our goals and how we give up our goals. If we can change that and become a shutdown team, that’d be good."
  11. One of the hot topics amongst fans at Residency games is always which players do we think can go on and become professional footballers, either with the Whitecaps MLS squad or somewhere else in the world. Last year we put together a Top 20 countdown of who we felt were the top prospects in the Whitecaps Residency program and how we would rank them, looking at only the then current U16s and U18s (who had not signed a MLS contract). We're going to make this a yearly list and have tweaked it a little this year, bringing you a Top Ten 'Ones To Watch' countdown, along with a special note to those just bubbling under and missing the cut. Part one today takes a look at those players along with those taking the 6 to 10 spots in the countdown. The following rankings are a snapshot of where the players are in their development combined with the potential they show to develop into professional footballers. Because potential is so hard to predict, it is not an even measurable with the player’s current status. Included in this review is an independent coach/scout who has seen the Residency players in action on a number of occasions. We feel there is no reason for any of the lower ranked or unranked players couldn’t develop into future professionals. 10 - Sean Melvin POS: GK HT: 6'4" YR: 1994 HOMETOWN: Victoria, BC STATS: 14GP, 14GS, 6CS ANALYSIS: Coming into this year Melvin was returning from an injury that cost him the entire 2011-12 season. As he worked his way back this season he has split duties with Nolan Wirth but has also made appearances for the Whitecaps U23 squad in PDL and been a regular at training with the MLS team. The starting keeper for the U18s has excellent length and athletic ability as well as good command of the box on crosses. OUTLOOK: Melvin will be graduating this season from the Residency and we have heard he may be heading to the college ranks with North Carolina Tar Heels in NCAA Division 1. SCOUT’S TAKE: "Melvin is an excellent keeper prospect who had his development slow down due to an unfortunate injury. He needs to find a place next season where he can play full time and continue to learn the position because he has the athletic ability." 9 - Kianz Gonzalez-Froese POS: CM HT: YR: 1996 HOMETOWN: Brunkilo, MB STATS: 16GP, 11GS, 2G ANALYSIS: While still eligible for the U16 program Froese started the season one level up with the U18s after playing PDL the year before. It’s been a difficult season for the central midfielder as he has had to deal with injuries and fitness issues that saw miss games and a trip to the U17 World Cup qualifiers in Panama with Canada. Froese is capable of playing as a holding midfielder or an attacking one. He is strong on the ball and has the vision to play both positions. OUTLOOK: The Manitoba native should return to Residency where he will be a key player for the U18 team next year. SCOUT’S TAKE: "He looked to be on an upswing after the way he burst onto the scene last year but injuries and inconsistency has derailed him. Kianz is still an exciting young player and he has the ability to be one of the best players to come out of the Residency program." 8 - Jordan Haynes POS: MF/DF HT: 5'10" YR: 1996 HOMETOWN: Peterborough, ON STATS: 7GP, 3GS, 1G (U18) / 18GP, 17GS, 2G (U16) ANALYSIS: Having started the season with the U16 Haynes has also spent time with the U18 playing either the fullback or wing position. He was a vital piece in the U17 Canadian side that qualified for the World Cup and finished third, especially with his goal in 119th minute against Honduras in the third place match. Haynes has pace on the wing and is capable of scoring as well as playing the role of provider from the left side. OUTLOOK: He will return next year to be a full time starter on the U18 team where he will most likely play on the wing as a replacement for DeBoice. SCOUT’S TAKE: "A quality young player who has really taken a big step forward this season especially with his performances for the national team. The big question for him is what will be his best position. Will he play as a fullback or as an attacking player in the midfield?" 7 - Yassin Essa POS: MF/ST HT: 5'7" YR: 1994 HOMETOWN: Surrey, BC STATS: 27GP, 25GS, 18G ANALYSIS: In his final season with the Residency, Essa saw himself take a leadership role with a youthful U18 side. During the season he would sometimes move inside to a striker role where he was able to take advantage of his ability to play in tight spaces as well as his finishing ability. Essa continues to show the speed and technical ability that makes him an intriguing prospect for the Whitecaps and has impressed playing PDL so far this season. OUTLOOK: It will be highly unlikely that Essa will be going the college route so look for him to go pro either in North America or Europe, with continued development minutes a must. SCOUT’S TAKE: "As usual one of the more exciting players on the pitch when you watch the Residency team especially when he takes players on in open space. All Yassin needs to do is improve his consistency and strength so he can continue to grow in his career." 6 - Marco Carducci POS: GK HT: 6'0" YR: 1996 HOMETOWN: Calgary, AB STATS: 4GP, 3GS, 2CS (U18) / 17GP, 16GS, 4CS (U16) ANALYSIS: The reigning Canadian U17 'player of the year' has spent most the season as the leader of a very young U16 side that struggled this season. Carducci played a couple of games for the U18s earning two clean sheets in three starts as well as captaining the U17 Canadian team to a World Cup berth. He reads the play very well, is a good organizer of the backline and is an excellent shot stopper as he proved in the penalty shootout against Honduras. OUTLOOK: Next season should see Carducci move up to the U18 side where he will compete with Nolan Wirth for the number one keeper duties. SCOUT’S TAKE: "He’s still very young for a goalkeeper but what he has done so far shows what he is capable of becoming in the future. Very mature for his age and a leader on the pitch it’s difficult to imagine he won’t be a professional keeper." Just Missing The Cut: There were a number of players who just missed making the Top Ten list for Whitecaps Residency players this season. Injuries cost Carlos Marquez almost half the season and the striker was limited when he did return but the attacking player will be joining Langara College for a season where he'll look to continue his progress. Calgary native Mitch Piraux was the regular starter at holding mid where he plays a solid game and started contributing late in the season with some timely goals. A very athletic prospect Quinton Duncan is like most defender prospects who needs time to learn the particulars of the position and might be doing next year at an undisclosed NCAA college. [Part Two of the countdown, featuring our top five, will be revealed on Saturday, but get an early sneak peak by listening to our latest podcast on Wednesday]
  12. Over the last few weeks, we've brought you our top twenty countdown of the players to watch in the Whitecaps Residency program. The rankings are a snapshot of where the players are in their development combined with the potential they show to develop into professional footballers. Having looked at the current U16s and U18s who have not signed a MLS contract, we conclude the series today by having a look at the top three prospects. These are players we really feel can go on from the Residency and make an impact in the professional game, and it's only fitting to run the top three today with the U18s about to take part in the USSDA Championship game. After having some scouts views for the whole top twenty, we decided to do something a little bit different with the top three and also see what some of their veteran peers in the Caps MLS squad make of them. Here's what we, and they, think... 3 - Callum Irving POS: GK HT: 6'0" YEAR: 1993 HOMETOWN: Vancouver, BC 2011/12 STATS (USSDA INC PLAYOFFS): 25GP, 24GS, 6CS ANALYSIS: Callum Irving is a lively goalkeeper who has excellent reflexes and a very solid command of the box as well as the defenders in front of him. While not overly big, he is not afraid to mix it up with larger players in order to get up and snatch the ball in the air. He will need to continue to get stronger but the Vancouver native is starting to get noticed by the organization as well as the national program. OUTLOOK: Irving has accepted a NCAA scholarship offer from University of Kentucky where he has been assured of being the number one keeper. SCOUT'S TAKE: "Technically sound keeper who does a good job of communicating to his teammates. How far he goes in the game will depend on how he deals with the physical elements of the NCAA and pro leagues." JOE CANNON ON CALLUM: "Callum loves goalkeeping and is a student of the game which is a good start for him. Marius and Reagan have done a great job in helping him become stronger and quicker and he is a much different keeper compared to when I first saw him. One of the things Callum can improve on is being even more physical, which he can learn playing regularly in the college game. Size will only be an issue if he makes it one, so his potential is whatever he wants it to be, he could be Canada’s number one." 2 - Daniel Stanese POS: CB HT: 6'1" YEAR: 1994 HOMETOWN: Pitt Meadow, BC 2011/12 STATS (USSDA INC PLAYOFFS): 30GP, 30GS, 3G ANALYSIS: Another player who made a big jump from last season, Stanese seems to have grown into a physical central defender. He already possessed very high technical skills and is very comfortable with the ball at both of his feet and distributes the ball accurately from the backline. The U18 captain, and starter for the U17 World Cup team in Mexico, has the highest upside amongst the senior residency players. OUTLOOK: Stanese is eligible to return to the U18 team for another season but will most likely move to Europe, as he holds Romanian citizenship, through a loan or a transfer. SCOUT'S TAKE: "Calm and composed, Daniel is a great defender to have at the back as he keeps everything and everyone organized. He does a great job of communicating and is a presence but has room to be more physical and improve his already impressive speed of play." JAY DEMERIT ON DANIEL: "He has the physical size for a centrehalf and uses it to his advantage. For a big guy he is pacey, good in the air and calm on the ball, which makes him good with his distribution. All he needs to learn is his positioning, which is normally the last thing you learn for a central defender, and hone the skills he possesses." 1 - Ben Fisk POS: FW/MF HT: 5'10" YEAR: 1993 HOMETOWN: Vancouver, BC 2011/12 STATS (USSDA INC PLAYOFFS): 32GP, 29GS, 14G ANALYSIS: Already a fan favourite, Fisk is arguably the engine that runs the U18’s attack whether he plays centrally or on the left wing. He shows good attacking ability with pace and likes to take on defenders, either to break them down to score a goal or deliver the ball into the box to set one up. In addition to those attributes his work rate and underrated toughness will help him reach the next level professionally and with the national team. OUTLOOK: It has been rumoured that Fisk has officially signed with an agent, which makes him ineligible for the NCAA and will mean he will certainly go the professional route. SCOUT'S TAKE: "Highly skilled and dynamic player who is very attack minded but will need to raise his level of consistency to another level in order to breakthrough and become a top professional." JOHN THORRINGTON ON FISK: "He’s got great ability and pace. There aren’t many guys that can attack 1v1, beat people and is a threat to goal. He also serves a decent ball into the box. For him, the question will be consistency as he shows in flashes what he can do and if he can do that on a consistent basis he has the potential to have a great career." So that's out top twenty all listed for you. Want a quick reminder of who they all were? Then here you go.... http://www.canadiansoccernews.com/content.php?3391-Residency-Ones-To-Watch-16-to-20 - Part One (16 to 20) http://www.canadiansoccernews.com/content.php?3419-Whitecaps-Residency-Ones-To-Watch-11-to-15 - Part Two (11 to 15) http://www.canadiansoccernews.com/content.php?3455-Whitecaps-Residency-Ones-To-Watch-Part-Three - Part Three (4 to 10) Do you agree? What changes would you make? Let us know below. We being doing it all over again next year.
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