Trying to snap a three-game losing streak, the North Sound SeaWolves will meet the first of three Major League Soccer-affiliated clubs when they play host to the Vancouver Whitecaps U-23 team at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Edmonds Stadium, 7600 212th St. S.W. behind Edmonds-Woodway High School.
North Sound (1-3) is coming off of a 3-0 loss to defending Premier Development League champion Kitsap Pumas. Vancouver is 2-3-2 and has gone 0-2-1 in its past three matches.
“This is going to be another tough game,” SeaWolves coach Alex Silva said. “Vancouver has a lot of talent, they have players with MLS experience. It’s going to be a really good test for our team.”
The SeaWolves have struggled keeping enough players on the field, having lost a player to a red card in each of the past two matches. Forward and leading scorer Abdul Aman will be back Wednesday after sitting out the Kitsap match, but midfielder Gene Tibbetts will be out after being red carded against the Pumas.
Another area of emphasis for North Sound will be defending crosses into the box, too often leaving players open.
“We need to get tougher in the back, pick up attacking players and not waiting for them to get open before we react,” Silva said. “And we have to make it tougher to cross the ball in from the wings.”
While the SeaWolves have shown an ability to attack, getting goals has been a problem. Aman leads the club with two goals, and Brady Ballew has one, but North Sound has been shut out in two of its four matches.
Vancouver has 14 goals in seven matches but has also allowed 10. Caleb Clarke, Long Tan and Benjamin Fisk Routledge each have three goals for the Whitecaps. Tan has played in three matches this season for the MLS Whitecaps, and Clarke is also on the senior club’s roster. Yassin Essa, Carlos Marquez, Ben McKendry and Daniel Stanese have played in MLS Reserve games this season and Essa and Stanese represented Canada at the U-17 World Cup last year.
“Any time you go against a team that has a lot of MLS experience and a lot of talent, it’s fun, and it’s good for the development of our team,” Silva said. “We have been improving and we haven’t yet had our full team available. So I’m excited to see what we can do against the Whitecaps.”