The Spokane Shadow sprung back to life this year, reviving memories of PDL seasons, playoffs and rivalries against Yakima. Now the new Shadow are on the verge of creating another milestone for the club in its history: winning the first season of the Evergreen Premier League…
SPOKANE, WA— (Shadow release) It all comes down to the final week for the Evergreen Premier League championship as the Spokane Shadow, unbeaten in their last 10, are in the driver’s seat going into the final weekend of play. The Shadow play host to the Seattle Stars Saturday at 7:00 pm and then take on visiting Wenatchee United the following night at 5:00 pm. Both games will be at Spokane Falls CC Stadium with gates opening an hour before kickoff.
The championship scenario is fairly simple for the Shadow, who lead the league by one point with two games remaining with South Sound (two games remaining) and Vancouver Victory (one game left) hoping for some help. The Shadow claim the title with two wins, but can clinch the championship as early as Saturday with South Sound playing on the road versus former contender Bellingham Friday night. The two second-place clubs then also square off on Sunday afternoon in Vancouver at 2:00 pm.
“Obviously, Seattle is a team that’s on a roll right now coming in. But for us, honestly, nothing changes whether we are in first place or last place,” said Shadow head coach Chad Brown. “Our focus the entire time has been on us and trying to do the best that we can. I think we have put ourselves in a good situation to do that again this weekend and finish up in a successful spot.”
“Win or lose or whether we win the thing or not, the guys have done an incredible job of focusing on their process and getting better for what they have starting up in the fall,” he added about how the season has progressed.
“For me, I am happy with where we are at right now – obviously we want to take care of business and drink out of the cup, but at this stage I am pleased with where we are at. It’s not the end of the season yet, though. We have two games left, and its same as always: one game at a time. We are gonna be as prepared as we possibly can to do us.”
About the Opposition: Seattle Stars
Though the team comes into the match on the bottom half of the table in seventh (4-7-2), the Stars have posted some surprise results recently, and are on a three-game unbeaten streak (2-0-1). Last week stunned everyone with a road swing in which they knocked off then league-leader South Sound 2-0 on Thursday followed by a 3-3 draw at fourth-place Bellingham. The week prior they downed WestSound 4-1. In other recent contests they suffered narrow one-goal defeats to South Sound and Vancouver. The Stars, ensured they can’t finish last, are playing for a chance to make the jump to fifth as they are only one back of Wenatchee and two behind Yakima, which has wrapped its season up.
In their previous meeting June 7 at the Starfire Complex in Tukwila, the Shadow posted a 4-1 victory over Seattle. Nick Hamer was the star of the game, finding Mike Ramos 13 minutes in. After an equalizer from the hosts’ Buba Findi, Hamer scored what held as the game-winner in the 37th and doubled the lead with six minutes left via a penalty. Pete Peterson finished the scoring two minutes into stoppage time.
About the Opposition: Wenatchee United
Wenatchee comes into the season finale with a record of 5-8-0 and is in position to potentially finish fifth with a victory. Wenatchee comes into the game with a 2-2-0 record in their last four, losing on the road 4-2 last weekend at last-place WestSound. The week prior, however, the Capitals, stunned visiting South Sound 3-1.
In their previous meeting May 24, the Shadow held on for a 3-2 victory after a quick start. Mike Ramos scored twice for a two-goal lead, converting a penalty in the seventh and then added the second in the 31st. After a Joel Villa goal for the hosts, Ramos became the first player in EPLWA history to net a hat-trick, scoring his third to make it 3-1 in the 53rd minute for the game-winner as Wenatchee’s Matthew Stefanko would add one more before the final whistle.
FINAL HOME GAMES – Promotions
Fill the Falls – With the title on the line, the Shadow need everyone to bring their extended family and friends to both games at Spokane Falls CC Stadium on the final weekend of the season to help cheer them onto the championship. The game Saturday, July 19 kicks off at 7:00 pm versus the Seattle Stars and the season finale Sunday, July 20 begins at 5:00 pm. Family-friendly tailgating begins two hours prior to kickoff and the gates open one hour prior. In addition, the Candy Rush is back again and fans will have the opportunity to sign up for the chance to win a signed shirt and season tickets for 2015 at the merchandise booth!
Shadow Youth Continue Crossfire Challenge
The Crossfire Challenge, a two-weekend event, kicked off last Friday with the older age groups. Four boys and four girls Shadow teams U15-U18 made the trek across the state to compete against some of the regions top sides in one of the premier tournaments in the Northwest. The Shadow came home with one championship, winning the U16 Girls Silver Bracket. This weekend, a dozen teams from Spokane SC will be heading over representing the Shadow’s U11-U14 boys and girls programs.
EPLWA This Week
Around the league: The big story from last week was the Shadow’s successful two-game sweep on an extremely difficult road trip in blazing hot conditions. They opened with a 2-1 victory at Vancouver Thursday and added a 1-0 win in Yakima the following night to move into first place for the first time this season. South Sound’s 2-0 loss to Seattle opened the door for the Shadow to gain control of their own destiny… Earlier this week the league unveiled photos of the championship trophy and medals on the line this weekend… Scoring was high yet again with a pair of six-goal games on Saturday bumping the tally up to 18 for the five-game week. Standings & Stat Leaders [+]
For further news updates from around the league, check out State of the EPLWA [+]
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