Welcome to the State of the EPLWA, a weekly update that will be posted during the season. See previous editions here.
The action on the pitch in week three of the 2014 Evergreen Premier League season was tense, hard-fought and featured winning goals late on. All four matches were won by a single goal; those were scored in the 74th, 87th, 89th and 90th minutes at grounds around the state.
Eleven matches have now been played in the short history of the EPLWA, and there has yet to be a tie. It is also interesting how well the away sides are doing. The visiting club has won seven of those eleven matches.
We are far enough into the competition that we can unofficially hail our first “upset.” It sure seemed to most involved that WestSound FC, goal-less and winless going up to unbeaten Bellingham, would have a hard time of it. The boys from Silverdale surprised everyone by rising to the occasion and coming back southward with their first-ever win and goal in a 1-0 affair.
Bellingham United had the biggest crowd of the weekend, at 445. Spokane followed closely with 431. South Sound FC and Seattle Stars FC held their home debuts to small gates of 260 (South Sound) and 165 (Seattle.) The league is now posting attendance average updates on our standings page.
The standings page also features goal scorers and shut out totals.
This week the tiebreaker rules for the 2014 table were officially adopted and posted. You can see them on the rules page.
No sooner were they finalized than they were put to use. There is a tie at the top of the EPLWA table this week between Bellingham (3-1-0) and South Sound (3-0-0). The second tiebreaker settles this one: Bellingham has a +5 goal differential to South Sound’s +4 (the second tiebreaker behind total wins).
Vancouver Victory FC are third this week with six points based on their +3 goal differential. Yakima United FC also have six, but are +2.
This week’s matches: Saturday May 17 Spokane at WestSound, Wenatchee United at Vancouver Victory. Sunday May 18 Spokane Shadow at South Sound, Yakima United at Vancouver Victory, Bellingham United at Seattle Stars.
The Hammers played the Sounders U-23 of the PDL on Friday night at Civic Stadium, dropping a 3-2 thriller. It was a soccer double header that also included the Western Washington Viking Women beating the Seattle Sounders Women of the W-League 1-0.
Last season when the Hammers were in the Pacific Coast Soccer League they had a tendency to get up for road matches and occasionally arrive flat at home. Head coach Lance Calloway’s post-match comments after Sunday’s home loss to WestSound FC suggest this could be a carry over into the new league.
“I thought for the whole match we were too casual in our play. I was expecting us to come out for the second half a little more active, but we came out the same,” said Calloway.
The Hammers travel to Seattle May 18 to take on the winless Stars at Starfire.
Seattle brought Brazilian veteran Welton Melo into their squad this week, hoping he would provide a spark in the club’s home opener against Vancouver. Reports from those on-hand suggest that the 39-year-old striker still has skill enough to be dangerous. It will be interesting to see if more former professionals turn out for the EPLWA as time passes. Melo played for the USL Seattle Sounders back in 2004-5.
The Stars have put in solid efforts in their two matches played, but don’t have a single point to show for it. The match on Sunday with the Victory was a back and forth affair that could have gone either way before Vancouver’s 87th-minute decider.
The next task for Seattle is hosting Bellingham United at Starfire on Sunday May 18 at 5 PM.
The Shock are off to a great start in the EPLWA, scoring two away wins before taking their home opener 2-1 over Wenatchee last Saturday in Lakewood.
The club uses stout defense, solid possession and timely goals to conquer their foes. They’ve scored two goals in each match so far. The club has a shut out and two one-goal defensive performances.
Last week the team updated their website with a new look: www.SouthSoundFC.com.
Like other soccer people in Tacoma, the Shock were surprised and interested in the news that a new club calling itself “FC Tacoma” has big plans for the area.
On Tuesday May 6 the Shock traveled to Bremerton and played the PDL Kitsap Pumas in a friendly. South Sound performed well, leading 2-1 at one point before eventually falling 4-2.
This week the Shock host the winless Spokane Shadow in a Sunday matinee May 18 at Harry Lang Stadium in Lakewood.
The Spokane Shadow are back, but they have yet to arrive in the victory column after two close home defeats. The latest one is the harder to take: a 3-2 90th minute loss to rival Yakima. Spokane led the match at one point 2-0. The Hoppers had gotten level 2-2 before the break.
Now the focus will turn towards a massive road trip this weekend to Silverdale and Lakewood. Spokane will play back-to-back with a night match Saturday and a matinee on Sunday. It will test the club’s fitness and depth. It will also be chance for team bonding on the long ride to and from, and hotel stay in-between.
Spokane media are picking up on the Shadow’s return. They have featured both home matches in news programs with video highlights.
When you decide to call your squad the “Victory,” you adopt the pressure than comes with winning. Vancouver has now lived up to its nickname for two straight weeks. This time they found a winner in the 87th minute in Seattle thanks to Jordan Jones.
The Victory made news this week when they announced the additions of three Antiguan players. All three saw action on Sunday and seemed to fit in right away.
Now Vancouver has scheduled a challenge for themselves: a rare back-to-back home weekend. Most EPLWA clubs choose to play two away for travel cost savings. However, the Victory are giving fans a double-dose at McKenzie. Saturday night May 17 Wenatchee comes calling. Sunday May 18 Yakima United FC knocks on the door.
Sean “Magic” Irvin notched his second shut out in goal with the 1-0 win in Seattle. That puts the Victory netminder and his defense at the top of the shut out watch in the EPLWA.
A solid upgrade in play in week two was not enough to get the Capitals their first-ever win, but it should give the Wenatchee players and coaches hope going forward. United was much more organized this week and certainly gave the unbeaten Shock a run for their money.
Jonathon Rodriguez was excellent on the back line, including clearing one ball off the line that would have been a goal. Wenatchee still needs more possession in midfield, but when they do approach the opponent’s penalty area they have weapons. Christian Nyanfore scored a nifty flick to keep them close last time out.
It’s away action again for the green and white as they travel to Vancouver on Saturday May 17. Then the club will come back to Apple Country on May 24 to host the Spokane Shadow.
A former Kitsap Puma originally from Liverpool is one of two local heroes in Silverdale after the Men broke through for their first-ever EPLWA win last Sunday in Bellingham. Graham Davidson got the 89th-minute winner and goalkeeper Jordan Hadden was amazing throughout for the visitors.
It’s been a crazy year for the parent club, the WestSound FC youth club that will soon transition over to the name “Olympic FC” and become a leader in a new merged club. The news has put the Men somewhat in the background. The 0-2 start, and being outscored 6-0 in those matches also dampened the debut of WSFC. Now we will see how far winning takes them. Is this a fresh beginning to the young season?
The Men return to Silverdale May 17 to host the Spokane Shadow.
The Hoppers experienced an early-season thrill last Saturday when they rallied from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Spokane Shadow 3-2 at Spokane Falls. The winning strike was worthy of such a moment. A long dart by Junior Garcia in the 90th minute. Garcia now leads all scorers in the league with three.
YUFC is cruising right along in the league, winning two of their first three and competing well in all of them. The Hoppers are second in goals scored with eight after just three matches.
Lurking ahead are three more away challenges. This week the Hoppers are at Vancouver. Next week they play away twice over that weekend, at Seattle May 24 and at Wenatchee May 25.
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