Langley, B.C. – The Vancouver Whitecaps Women played their home opener last night at McLeod Athletic Park in Langley, B.C., against the much improved Colorado Rush. Coming into this game the Whitecaps were looking for their first win of the season and had compiled a lifetime home record of 10-0-1 against Denver-based teams. The Whitecaps did not get win number 11 because the Colorado Rush made history and sent 1,210 fans home unhappy after a 1-0 win. The Whitecaps, who are defending Western Conference champions, have thus far looked nothing like the team that made it to the (USL) W-League Final Four last season.
The Colorado Rush controlled the play for most of the first half and made it difficult for the Whitecaps to create any offense. The Rush opened the scoring in the 13th minute off a Whitecaps turnover. Colorado native Danica Evans rifled the ball into the top corner. Whitecaps backup goalkeeper Gurveen Clair had no chance to make the save.
The Canadian national team, which is training in Vancouver for the up coming London Olympics, had two members of their team in the Whitecaps lineup. Midfielders Kaylyn Kyle and Desiree Scott suited up for the blue and white. Scott almost tied the game in the 33rd minute of play but her attempt at a chip over Rush goalie Dayle Colpitts was cleared out of the box just in time.
“I think as a team we started a little bit slow but definitely in the second half we picked it up and we just couldn’t buy a goal,” Scott said. “If we had played the way we did in the second half in the first the game could have been very different.”
In the second half the Whitecaps came out of the locker room with more energy and it seemed to spark them. The Whitecaps were able to create some offensive opportunities to score but could not finish.
While the Whitecaps looked for an equalizing goal their defense was left open for the Rush to exploit. Danica Evans broke down the left-wing and nearly made it 2-0 in the 56th minute. Clair made a spectacular diving save to her left to give her teammates some momentum. Whitecaps No. 1 goalkeeper Justine Bernier did not start due to a strained quad she picked up in practice this week. As a result Clair made her first career (USL) W-League start.
Clair said there was nothing she could do about Evans’ goal.
“When you shoot it from the top of the box like that, that’s a strike in a million,” Clair said. “It happens and unfortunately we didn’t come back from it but it was a pretty nice strike.”
Overall the Vancouver Whitecaps Women did not look sharp on this evening. The Whitecaps passes weren’t crisp, their ball control needed improvement, and the offense just didn’t formulate enough chances. Colorado looked more organized and was the better team on the pitch for most of the 90 minutes.
Whitecaps head coach Jesse Symons agreed that his team could not finish its chances.
“We kept building as the game wore on and unfortunately just couldn’t find the back of the net,” he said. “The crowd support was fantastic and we really appreciate all the support we got and how much it pushed the players.”
Vancouver Whitecaps FC Starting XI: Gurveen Clair; Jenny Jeffers, Mary Kate McLaughlin, Nicole Setterlund, Brienna Shaw (Brandi Vega 79′); Desiree Scott (Taylor Patterson 81′), Jaclyn Sawicki (Jenna Richardson 41′), Kaylyn Kyle (Molly Rouse 76′), Danielle Johnson; Mele French, Demi Stokes
Colorado Rush Starting XI: Dayle Colpitts; Kendall Johnson, Kellyn Farrell, Samantha Harder, Carlie Davies; Kelsey Loupee, Brittany Bock, Jacy Drobney, Olivia Wagner; Melinda Ingalls, Danica Evans
Notes: The Whitecaps will play their next game on Sunday, May 27th against the Seattle Sounders at Percy Perry Stadium in Coquitlam at 4:00 PM.
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