|EVERGREEN PREMIER LEAGUE||Pts||GP||W||L||T||GF||GA||GD|
|SOUTH SOUND FC||6||2||2||0||0||8||3||+5|
|VANCOUVER VICTORY FC||6||2||2||0||0||7||3||+4|
|YAKIMA UNITED FC||3||2||1||1||0||5||3||+2|
|SEATTLE STARS FC||3||2||1||1||0||4||4||0|
|BELLINGHAM UNITED FC||0||2||0||2||0||1||9||-8|
The Evergreen Premier League enters its third week of play with a full slate of matches this weekend. Further, two of the league’s clubs are taking on PDL sides on Friday night. The South Sound Shock are at Lane United tonight and the Sounders U23 are in Bellingham to play the BUFC Hammers.
This is one of those early season matches with big implications for both sides. South Sound might have put themselves at a disadvantage by scheduling to play at Lane United the night before. The Hoppers (1-1-0, 3 points) are feeling good after a 4-nil win at Bellingham last Sunday. YUFC hosts the Sounders Women versus Central Washington University at 2:30 PM. So why is this match so big? A win for South Sound (2-0-0, 6 points) gets them out of the gate at 3-0-0 and reaffirms their contender status. A win for the Hoppers might well be considered one of the biggest in their two years in the EPLWA. It would write their name in as a club on the rise. Last year the Shock won a tight 2-1 affair at Marquette.
The defending Evergreen Premier League champion Shadow (1-0-0, 3 points) play their home opener against a club they dismantled in 2014. Watch for a better performance from the visiting Stars (how could it be worse than the 9-man fiasco they lost 11-0 in Spokane last year) and for how the Shadow respond after scoring 8 goals last week in Wenatchee with a short-practice squad of college players. It will also be interesting to see how well the Shadow draw. Last year they led the league in average home attendance at 571 per match. Including their 4-1 win at Starfire the Shadow outscored Seattle (1-1-0, 3 points) 15-1 last year.
Vancouver Victory FC (2-0-0, 6 points) are home after away wins at Yakima and Olympic that saw Timur Zhividze emerge as a star in the EPLWA. The Russian-born attacker has three goals and two assists after just two matches. V2FC will be feeling confident while their opponents are still looking for answers, and a first league win. It’s hard to imagine a worse start than the one the Hammers (0-0-2, 0 points) are off to, having been outscored 9-1 in two home losses so far. Bellingham plays the Sounders U23 Friday at Civic Stadium and then gets a single day of rest before driving down I-5. Last year the clubs split their series with BUFC winning the first match in Vancouver history 2-0 in Bellingham. By the time the Hammers visited Vancouver the Victory were already turning the corner, and V2FC claimed a 5-1 win. V2FC drew 588 fans to a pre-season match on April 18. Last year the Victory were third in average attendance at 356 per match.
The Force was strong for Olympic (0-0-1, 0 points) in the second half last week at home against Vancouver. The 3-0 halftime deficit was too much to overcome, though. That’s nothing compared to the final deficit Wenatchee FC (0-0-2, 0 points) saw on their home scoreboard last week against Spokane. The Capitals were rolled by an 8-2 count that included six Shadow goals and two Wenatchee FC own goals. How does Capitals head coach Cesar Ceppi pick of the pieces? Wenatchee FC can’t afford to start 0-0-3 and remain in the early season race for top of the table. Meanwhile the Force were without a handful of starters last week but still stuck with the Victory. This week Olympic has a few more of those guys back and will look to do what WestSound FC did last year at home: score goals and knock off the Capitals.