Whitecaps U16 boys field younger roster, drop two games in learning experience
By Lev Jackson
It wasn’t home sweet home for the Vancouver Whitecaps U16 Residency team this weekend. The team dropped back-to-back home games, losing 0-3 to the L.A. Galaxy on Saturday and 1-3 to Chivas USA Sunday.
“As a club we’re staying true to our philosophies of providing opportunities for younger players and focusing on our players’ success rather than team success at the U-16 level,” said head coach Craig Dalrymple to the Whitecaps website.
Dalrymple’s team has lost its last four games and following this weekend, are 6-8-2 this season.
The Whitecaps got off to a shaky start against the Galaxy, letting in two goals off of rebounds in the first half.
Though the team was able to regroup in the second, they could not get past the Galaxy keeper, losing the game 3-0.
Whitecaps’ Matthew Chow was in action after spending the week playing with team Canada in Costa Rica.
The Whitecaps fielded a relatively young squad for a U16 game against the Galaxy because of call-ups to the U18 team and injuries to both age groups.
“We played several players who still have a few years at the U-16 level. It’s a very young squad that is getting some great experience and development,” said Dalrymple.
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One player that greatly benefitted from short bench was Andy Xu, who subbed into the game in the 45th minute.
Xu is a new addition to the Whitecaps program who moved here from China. He had his first taste of league play this weekend after scoring two goals in a friendly against Washington Crossfire Premier earlier this month.
The Whitecaps stuck with the young roster on Sunday against Chivas.
The biggest change in the lineup had to be Alex Comsia returning to the U16 squad.
Like Chow, Comsia was one of the Whitecaps players selected to play for Canada against Costa Rica this past week.
The Vancouver team played a far better game than Saturday, but still fell 3-1 to Chivas, who are 10-3-4 and sit in second place in the Southwest Division.
Chivas scored in the 10th minute of the game, but the Whitecaps held strong until the half.
In a play that set the tone for the rest of the game, Chow was on a breakaway against the Chivas goalkeeper. After a huge save from the visiting keeper, Chivas charged the ball up the field and made it 2-0 in the 52nd minute.
Chivas added the third goal in the 65th minute.
The Whitecaps were not deterred, and Francesco Saporito ended the Chivas shutout bid in the 75th minute, scoring on a header from a cross pass from Thomas Gardner.
“It was a real good test for such a young squad against an MLS club that are doing well. The future looks bright for the young lads that played today, they’ve still got a couple more years on these lads that they played against today,” said Dalrymple.
“It’s a great learning opportunity and that’s the nature of being part of a club like Whitecaps FC. You’ll see a domino effect with guys away on international duty and it provides an opportunity for younger players that can step in and do a job, and that’s what they did today. It was always going to be tough against a good squad and to their credit they battled and the learning rewards will far outweigh the result in years to come.”