EPLWA Update: Spokane Shadow two wins from clinching second straight title

EPLWA Update: Spokane Shadow two wins from clinching second straight title

Vancouver Victory 0-1 Olympic Force

VANCOUVER, WA— The drop from unbeaten to eliminated was completed today for the reeling Victory of Vancouver as the Olympic Force visited McKenzie Stadium and came away with the first shutout in their EPLWA history.

Leo Potts.
Leo Potts.

Olympic_Force_Logo_2Once 7-0-0, V2FC is now 7-5-1 and can’t catch either the Spokane Shadow or the South Sound Shock for the top of the table. The Olympic Force continue to improve their form and their overall record. They are now 5-7-0 and have an eye on finishing as high a fourth place.

The Victory said goodbye to their Director of Development Sunny Dulai at halftime. Sunny is heading home to India after nearly two decades in Southwest Washington soccer.

The winning goal was scored by Leo Potts. Just minutes after he was put in via a first half substitution he connected with a Zach Hansen assist to provide all the scoring the Force would need. It was Potts’ 3rd goal of the season.

Guilherme Atanes (Avelar) notched the shutout for Olympic, their first as an EPLWA club.

Guilherme Atanes played for Peninsula College in Port Angeles before signing with the Kitsap Pumas and then being loaned to the Olympic Force.
Guilherme Atanes played for Peninsula College in Port Angeles before signing with the Kitsap Pumas and then being loaned to the Olympic Force.

The Force were slow out of the gates this season, 1-5-0 after six matches. Since then the club has won 4 of 6. When the clubs met earlier in the season in Bremerton the Victory were scoring lots of goals and came away with a 4-2 win.

Since then Vancouver has lost vibrant attacker Borce Atanasov to the Kitsap Pumas while the Force have seen the return of Potts, goalkeeper Mike Meherg and the addition of key players loaned from the Pumas.

Vancouver has a single match remaining, July 26 at home against Yakima United FC.

Olympic Force now have 15 points with hopes of getting to 21 and fourth place. They will need to beat Seattle at home on July 19 and then upset the Spokane Shadow away on July 25 to do so.

SOUTH SOUND FC 28 13 8 1 4 35 17 +18
SPOKANE SHADOW 26 11 8 1 2 28 11 +17
VANCOUVER VICTORY FC 22 13 7 5 1 28 14 +14
WENATCHEE FC 17 12 5 5 2 24 30 -6
YAKIMA UNITED FC 15 13 4 6 3 26 28 -2
OLYMPIC FORCE 15 12 5 7 0 26 33 -7
SEATTLE STARS FC 12 11 3 5 3 16 22 -6
BELLINGHAM UNITED FC 1 11 0 10 1 12 40 -28

Spokane Shadow 2-1 Wenatchee FC

SPOKANE, WA (club release)—The reigning Evergreen Premier League champion Spokane Shadow, now unbeaten in its last eight, took advantage of fellow title contender South Sound’s draw earlier in the day by rallying for a 2-1 victory Saturday night at Spokane Falls CC Stadium against Wenatchee FC. The result completed a season sweep for the Shadow against central Washington foes Wenatchee and Yakima.


The Shadow held the better of play in the opening stages of the contest, applying much of the offensive pressure, but the visitors capitalized on one of their few offensive forays to take the lead in the 24th minute when Yonatan Rodriguez took a ball from league-leading scorer Eleazar Galvan on the left side and put a ball past his defender and inside the far post.

Eleven minutes later, however, Chance Bukoski (above, center) was fouled on the left side of the area as the Shadow maintained its continued attack. The Hawaiian buried his penalty into the lower left corner out of Mauricio Sanchez’s reach for his fourth goal in the last six games.

shadow-new-crest-400“No question about it, the group has tons of character,” Shadow head coach Chad Brown said of his team coming from behind for the win. “It’s just trying to put ourselves in situations where we don’t have to show that character coming from behind. If we can start with the character piece and dominate and dictate the game at the beginning – that’s more of what I am looking for. Again, hats off to the guys for coming out in the second half and tuning into the game and battling and getting it done.”

“I don’t usually talk about the other team hardly at all, but I talked about them for a blurb before the game. They were undefeated in five and have a handful of shutouts in those games and have the leading scorer in the league – that’s a potent thing, especially when there is a target on our back. We talked about it – maybe I shouldn’t have because we started a little slow, but at the end of the day the guys came through with their character and showed what they are all about.”

Six minutes into the second half another foul led to the game-winner when Kazuki Tateishi was knocked down at the outer left edge of the box. Dustin Ferger’s free kick was stopped by the goalkeeper, but the ball rebounded down into the six and Brady Ulen (above, left) buried it into the back of the net from a couple yards out. The goal was the third of the season for Ulen, who will have to sit out the next match for receiving a yellow card for the third consecutive game.

wfc_2015“We’ve got a huge target on our backs this year because other teams don’t want us to win it all again,” Ulen said of the difficult matches the team has had to fight through. “We know every team is going to bring their best game against us so it comes down to dedication and heart. We are all playing for each other, our fans, and the staff we have. Not a single person out there gives up and it’s truly a team effort from start to finish. I can’t say enough about my team and the effort they give day in and day out.

“As far as the goal I scored, Chad stresses the fact that we need to crash the box every time no matter if its a shot, a cross, or a throw in. It doesn’t matter – there best be someone crashing the box and that’s what I did. It was a great shot from Dustin Ferger that the keeper couldn’t handle and I just put it away. Right place, right time.”

Spokane created several more opportunities to expand the lead, but either narrowly missed the mark or were denied by offside calls. Lengthy stoppage time that drew jeers from the fans as the referee went beyond the signaled four minutes nearly resulted in an equalizer for Wenatchee as they took last-ditch efforts to tie it up, but goalkeeper Tony Watters was able to corral the ball on two occasions to secure the victory.

The Shadow are now 7-1-0 in two seasons against their central Washington foes with the lone blemish a late 3-2 home loss to Yakima in the second game of 2014.

Holding two games in hand and the head-to-head tiebreaker with South Sound (8-1-4), the Shadow (8-1-2) need only five points from its final three games to repeat as the EPLWA champions. Spokane currently sits two points back of the league-leaders, who are idle next week.

Brady Ulen celebrates his match-winner against Wenatchee.
Brady Ulen celebrates his match-winner against Wenatchee.

Coming Up – Road Trip – July 18 & 19

The club embarks on what could be an eventful, but tough road trip next week with a pair of afternoon matches against the Seattle Stars (3-5-3) and Bellingham United (0-10-1). Seattle earned a 1-1 draw in Spokane earlier this season in the Shadow’s second game of the campaign while the Hammers fell 4-1 in Spokane three weeks ago.

Season & Home Finale – July 25

The Shadow play host to league newcomers Olympic Force, who are rebounding from a slow start and are making a push to potentially finish fourth in the league. The game kicks off at 7:00 pm.

Wenatchee FC 1 :: 2 Spokane Shadow

WEN: Yonatan Rodriguez (Eleazar Galvan) 24

SPO: Chance Bukoski (penalty) 35

SPO: Brady Ulen 51


WEN: Francisco Medina (caution) 35, Mauricio Sanchez (caution) 61, Eduardo Perez (caution) 88

SPO: Brady Ulen (caution) 41, Kyle Higgins (caution) 71, Higgins (caution / ejection) 84

Bellingham United’s first point of the 2015 season was also a dagger blow to South Sound FC’s title hopes. Meanwhile in Yakima the Hoppers shut out Seattle.

South Sound FC 2-2 Bellingham United

LAKEWOOD, WA— (club release) South Sound FC allowed a late goal by Bellingham United FC on Saturday afternoon to end the last home match of the season with a 2-2 draw giving Bellingham their first point of the season.

South Sound started the match strong with a few shots on goal and a few saves by GK Chris Kintz in his last home match for South Sound. South Sound thought they had their first goal of the match in the 21st minute after the ball appeared to have crossed the line, but the goal wasn’t awarded by the referee.

It took a few more shots, saves and corners before team Captain Micah Wenzel scored a header off a ball sent in by Cody Guthrie in the 43’. South Sound was on the board, the score was 1-0. It didn’t’ take long before Bellingham leveled the score though. Just two minutes later Kyle Witzel scored. The half ended 1-1.

Halftime subs included Kenneth Phillips, Brandon Madsen and Isidro Prado-Huerta came into the match replacing JJ Schmeck, Tyler John and Eli Peterson.

The second half of the match proved to be chippy with Bellingham getting two yellow cards in the first 10 minutes of the half and a second yellow sending Lenny Cucina off in the 77’ after a foul on GK Chris Kintz.

Isidro Prado-Huerta scored South Sound’s second goal of the night off a cross sent in by Brandon Madsen in the 81’. The score was 2-1 in South Sound’s favor. But just before the final whistle Bellingham’s Kyle Witzel would score one last goal leveling the match one more time. The match would end with a 2-2 draw.

Join South Sound FC Sunday, July 12, 1pm for the second annual FootGolf Classic at Eagles Pride golf course. More information can be found at our website http://www.southsoundfc.com. It will be your last chance to support the boys in person before the head out to nationals.


Yakima United 1-0 Seattle Stars FC

YAKIMA, WA — Yakima United FC used a first-half goal from Willie Pineda and a strong defense to shut out Seattle 1-0 at Marquette Stadium on July 11 in the Hoppers’ home finale.

“We wanted to make the most of this last opportunity to represent our team and this nice crowd,” Yakima goalkeeper Jacob Rhoads told the Herald. “We had a great effort on defense — the communication was there, the coverage was there and the effort was there. Plus, it was nice to get some revenge on these guys.”

Pineda’s second goal of the season came early on, in the 16th minute of play. He received a nice ball from Andres Ruiz and then made one move before deftly curving the ball around and out of the reach of Seattle keeper Scott Barnam.

Rhoads was voted by fans in an online poll as the Man of the Match for Yakima.

Jacob Rhoads wiht his Man of the Match award. (Hoppers Twitter)
Jacob Rhoads with his Man of the Match award. (Hoppers Twitter)

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