The Evergreen Premier League is in the second week of its second season and all 8 clubs are in action May 2-3. Here are some storylines behind the match-ups.
Olympic Force v. Vancouver Victory FC, Saturday May 2, 7 PM Gordon Field, Bremerton: It’s the league debut for the Olympic Force, a new team that hopes to build on what WestSound FC accomplished last year, but not repeat that club’s final place in the standings. The Force are a mix of players from last year’s WestSound FC Men of the EPLWA, former Kitsap Pumas, former Olympic College players, and other local stand-outs. Olympic had mixed results during the pre-season, but at least they got playing time together, something they stated as a big goal in preparations for 2015. Vancouver won at Yakima last week and at the same time provided an early name to watch: Timur Zhividze. The Russian-born attacker scored twice and assisted on a third as V2FC won, 3-1.
Bellingham United FC v.Yakima United FC, Sunday May 3, 3 PM Civic Stadium, Bellingham: The Hammers and Hoppers played two wild matches last year. At Civic BUFC scored an 8-2 win as Tyler Bjork scored 6 (yes, six!) first-half goals. The return leg in Yakima went the other way with YUFC winning big, 6-0. Both sides have a bit to prove after both lost their home openers last week. The Hammers fell 5-1 before over 400 fans against South Sound FC. Yakima is incorporating younger talent this year and BUFC welcomes the return of Brendan Quilici but is adjusting to the loss of striker Kellan Brown, who is now back home in Tacoma with South Sound FC.
Seattle Stars FC v. South Sound FC, Sunday May 3, 5:30 PM Starfire Stadium, Tukwila: Here’s the match that might contain the most fireworks. These two clubs met just a few weeks ago for the Starfire Premier League title. South Sound won that match 4-0. The fireworks might have more to do with last year, when Seattle upset the Shock 2-0 in Lakewood late in the season. The loss would eventually cost the Shock the EPLWA title. South Sound debuted with a vengeance, taking a 5-1 win in Bellingham last week. Seattle edged Wenatchee 2-1.
Wenatchee FC v. Spokane Shadow, Sunday May 3, 6 PM Wenatchee Valley CC, Wenatchee: The Capitals make their home debut while the defending EPLWA champion Shadow are making their 2015 season debut. Last year Wenatchee was outscored 6-2 over two matches by Spokane. It’s not good news for them that starting goalkeeper Mauricio Sanchez was red-carded after last week’s loss at Seattle. Midfielder Julio Vera is also out as he was give a second yellow card in the same match. Meanwhile the Shadow are patching together a line-up of players from Gonzaga who reported to camp Friday (the first day it is legal under NCAA rules), and other locals and returnees from 2014. Mike Ramos and Nick Hamer are now with the Kitsap Pumas. The Shadow will need to find replacements for that portion of their offense.
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