Spokane to face Vancouver Saturday night in showdown for sole control of driver’s seat to league title
(Shadow release) The defending Evergreen Premier League champion Spokane Shadow (5-1-2) embark on the road this weekend for a two-game trip to Vancouver and Yakima looking to continue their current five-game unbeaten run (4-0-1).
Saturday’s game features a showdown with Vancouver (7-2-1) in which both teams currently are in position to win the league title if they win out as Vancouver also still has a game remaining against current leader South Sound (7-1-2). The winner of the match will be the only team remaining that will have that capability. The Shadow hold the tiebreaker (head-to-head results) versus the Shock should both finish out the season with no more defeats.
In their first meeting this season, Vancouver handed the Shadow its lone loss of the campaign, 2-0, in Spokane in the Shadow’s third game of the season. Borce Atanasov and Alex Nimo scored in Vancouver’s win. Since then, the Shadow have not lost.
That streak began with a 2-0 home victory against Yakima, which the Shadow will visit on the way back across the state Sunday. Brady Ulen and Zack Hamer scored in the win against the Hoppers.
Spokane’s current run of form has the Shadow with three consecutive victories going into the road trip, scoring at least three goals in each of the wins. The Shadow are one of only two teams to score three-plus in three consecutive games in league history with the Victory having completed the feat twice during their 7-0-0 start.
The scoring for the team has been lead, in large part, by Karl Muelheims and Chance Bukoski of late. Muelheims has scored in three straight with four goals in that span and Bukoski has two goals and two assists in the same span.
About the Opposition: Vancouver Victory
Since their perfect 7-0-0 start, things have not quite been so victorious for Vancouver. The team has gone winless in their last three games. They fell 1-0 in Wenatchee and then played to a 1-1 draw at home against Seattle in a game they scored late in to earn the point. This Wednesday they fell 2-1 in South Sound, scoring in the second half in an attempt to rally, but never found the equalizer.
The team boasted one of the most outstanding attacking duos in Timur Zhividze (6 goals) and Atanasov (5 goals), but the latter of the two departed after last weekend’s match to join the professional Kitsap Pumas of the USL Premier Development League. The win in Spokane was one of only two shutouts the team has had this season, the other being a 3-0 win against still pointless Bellingham (0-9-0).
The two sides met in similar circumstances last year as both were chasing South Sound in the final weeks of the season. A draw and a win by the Shadow against Vancouver in the span of four days eliminated the Victory from the race and helped lead Spokane to the title. Graison Le scored the equalizer in the draw at home and four days later in Vancouver defender Derek Zimmerman and Mike Ramos gave the Shadow a two-goal lead in a 2-1 road win.
About the Opposition: Yakima United (Hoppers)
The Shadow’s renewed rivalry with Yakima remains similar to the past. The games always seem heated, no matter the scoreline. The Shadow will be looking to sweep the Hoppers this year after splitting the series last year. Yakima was able to hand the Shadow a surprising 3-2 loss at home in the second game of the season a year ago by scoring three unanswered, including one in the final moments for the win. The Shadow took the second game, 1-0, on the road.
Yakima is coming off of a 3-3 draw against central Washington rival Wenatchee FC last weekend that ended a three-game losing streak. Despite the club’s 3-5-2 record, the team as shown some potency on offense and is the only other team to earn points against league-leading South Sound, playing the Shock to a 2-2 draw earlier this season. The Hoppers are 2-1-2 at home at Marquette, one of only two grass fields in the league this season.
The team’s attacking duo of Jesse Esquivel and Hector Valdovinos are tied for second in the league in goals with seven each on the campaign.
Coming Up – Home Game – July 11
The Shadow return home to face another rival from the east side of the Cascades when Wenatchee FC comes to town. The Shadow rallied in the first half of their first meeting before rolling to an 8-2 win. Meanwhile, the league is idle for the Fourth of July weekend.
>>> League Standings Attached <<<
Shadow Player Pool for June 26-27 Road Trip
Baringer, Matt… UC-Davis
Beaulaurier, Matt… Univ of Portland, St Martin’s Univ/ Ferris HS
Bray, Matt… Whitworth University / Ferris HS
Bukoski, Chance… Hawaii Pacific University
Estrellado, Trevan… Peninsula College / Cheney HS
Ferger, Dustin… Gonzaga University / East Valley HS
Higgins, Kyle… UC-Davis
Ho, Quan… Chaminade University
Hudson, Zach… Gonzaga University
Le, Graison… Gonzaga University / Coeur d’Alene HS
Mikkelsen, Halvor… CC Spokane / Sandpoint HS
Mota, Anthony… University of Great Falls
Muelheims, Karl… Whitworth University / St George’s HS
Peterson, Pete… Gonzaga University / Central Valley HS
Retan, Jesse… Whitworth University / Cheney HS
Scott, Joe… MSU-Billings / Cheney HS
Singh, Avinash… Chaminade University
Srock, Jeff… Whitworth Univ, CC Spokane, Gonzaga Univ / Mt Spokane HS
Talley, Adam… North Idaho College / East Valley HS
Tateishi, Kazuki… CC Spokane
Thompson, Ben… Univ of Redlands / Lewis & Clark HS
Ulen, Brady… North Idaho College / Post Falls HS
Watters, Tony… Whitworth University
Wolfe, Spencer… Whitworth University
Zimmerman, Derek… Western Washington Univ / Pasco HS
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