Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23s 2, Lane United FC 1
Lane United FC suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps U-23s, surrendering the game-winning goal with almost the last kick of the game in stoppage time. They had fought back gamely after Ali Musse opened the scoring for Vancouver in the 69th minute, equalizing in the 81st through an outstanding free kick by Edgar Gomez. After a back-and-forth for the final 10 minutes, Vancouver hoisted in a long free kick that Jordan Farahani nodded home from 6 yards out. The game was over less than a minute after the ball was put back in play, meaning all of Lane United’s good work in tying the game and even creating chances to win it was for naught, at least on the scoreboard.
Head coach John Galas praised his team afterwards, saying he “couldn’t have asked for a better performance” out of his squad. They had started out strongly when Johnny Chronopoulos — starting at forward for the first time this season — was played down the left channel by Baldo and dragged a shot wide after 45 seconds. Half-chances abounded for both teams in the first half but clear-cut ones did not. The best for either team came when Vancouver’s leading scorer Cody Cook fanned on a low cross that had hit him in stride eight yards out. Baldo shot high from a good position on the left side of the box a few minutes later, but the rest of the half passed at about 80% speed, without many standout incidents.
Vancouver flew out of the traps immediately to start the second half, almost as if it had been part of the plan all along to lull everyone to sleep at first. Lane United were up to the task of stopping them, but only barely in some cases. Wade Hamilton had to make several very good saves, three from Brett Levis, who had also waged a personal assault on Hamilton’s net in the second half of the match between these two teams four days ago in Canada. Daley Stevens slid to clear the ball off the goal-line after a huge goalmouth scramble in the 50th minute, then Musse rounded Hamilton and almost scored in the 54th. Lane United had a few decent chances on the counter, but Vancouver was beginning to squeeze the game and it wasn’t a surprise when they scored on an efficient team move down the left. It ended with Levis playing a centering pass for Musse to sweep in from the center of the box for a 1-0 lead.
Vancouver continued to press the Reds for a short spell, but Lane United began to push back and were rewarded with a brilliant equalizer in the 81st minute. Baldo craftily won a foul 25 yards out, from which Gomez curled a flawless shot into the top right corner that no goalkeeper could have stopped. Pierce Kiembi, on as a sub, had the best chance of the ensuing ten minutes when he broke forward and carved out a shot on his favored right foot from the top of the box, but his connection wasn’t strong enough to put it past Nolan Wirth in Vancouver’s goal. But then, from what appeared to be a harmless free kick near the center circle, the Whitecaps snatched their victory. The ball was floated to the back post, where Musse met it with his head and guided it across the face of goal for Farahani to crash into the net from six yards. Galas in his post-game interview said that he “didn’t know what else the guys could do,” then concluded with the line that nearly every defeated coach at any level of soccer can now reach for: “At least we didn’t lose 7-1.”