Saturday, June 9, 2012

Spokane and Issaquah finish 1-1 in Shine home opener

The Spokane Shine started the home slate of their third campaign with a 1-1 draw against division leading Issaquah SC Friday evening at Joe Albi Stadium on a chilly evening under recently cleared skies after a series of rainy days. 

Shine head coach Jason Quintero said at training a few nights ago he wanted his club to put an end to 2-0-0 Issaquah’s shutout status. Star midfielder Tseng Shu-O of Chinese Taipei wasted no time doing that, scoring in the 14th minute on a beautiful, curling strike from just inside the left corner of the box, picking out the upper far corner of the goal.

Tseng Shu-O dances on the ball | PHOTO GALLERY [+]
“Incredible vision,” said Quintero of the strike. “Averi Hallman knocked in a good service, a firm ball on the ground from a diagonal position, and Julissa Rodriguez dummied it there for Shu-O. Shu-O took a step, looked up, saw the far post and curled it in. We had a fantastic view on the bench over here seeing what she saw. Great placement; good stuff by a great player

“We played really well, we were rewarded with a goal,” he said of the quick start. “We deserved it; the time before that we were dominating.

“After that we kinda let off the gas pedal a bit,” he remarked. “And I think that’s the difference between a good team and a great team. A great team keeps pressure, and keeps putting them under when they’re playing well. We had that one little mental mistake where they could get back into the game.”

That mistake came when Issaquah answered in the 27th minute after the Shine’s defense failed to clear the ball. Joanna Houplin gathered the loose ball and drove through the back line into the box before dishing it off to Arica Slawson for the equalizer from close range.

Issaquah coach Erin Redwine
“It was good timing for sure,” said Issaquah head coach Erin Redwine. “We just started to find our rhythm and got it done. We lost it a bit here and there. We were happy to get that for sure. It was well earned with Joanna getting in.”

Issaquah had a couple other opportunities to take the lead in the next seven minutes. A low corner three minutes later slipped by the initial defenders and took a dangerous couple bounces in front of the goal line before that could have been easily tapped in, but no one was able to get a boot on it before it was cleared away. With a little less than 12 minutes left in the half Mary Hill fired from 25 yards out on the left side only to see it pushed wide of the far post by goalkeeper Stephanie Busch.

The effort and result though, seemed to satisfy coach Redwine.

“It was our first game on the road. It was a battle and we were not as sharp as I would have liked us to be. We fought and I think we will take the tie,” Redwine said about the first-year team’s debut away from home.

“It’s exciting. We are off to a good start and the players are motivated to represent the club and just women’s soccer in general with all of our effort, energy and maturity,” she said about the start to their first year in the Women’s Premier Soccer League. “I am really proud of them. We are off to a great start, a good tradition.

“We are gonna rest up and we’re gonna train on some of the things that I thought we coulda done better, and reset from there,” she said of the week ahead before facing the Shine on their home field at Issaquah High School next Friday. It is the first of three consecutive at home for the new club before they finish with four on the road – three in Oregon.

Jason Quintero instructs at halftime
Quintero seemed pleased with his team’s play as well, though he felt they should have come away with a victory.

“Finish a couple more chances that we had, and that’s a three-nil, four-nil game,” he said, noting the defensive mistake and the team’s chances at the beginning and end of the match.

Just eight minutes into the match, Shu-O sent a shot from 25 yards that the Issaquah goalkeeper Alexa Hughes had to stretch out to tip over the crossbar. Less than three minutes later, Julissa Rodriguez fired a shot from inside the box that flew just wide right of the post. 

With seven minutes left in the game, a shot from inside the box was again tipped over the bar by Issaquah’s keeper to preserve the draw. It was the first and closest of several dangerous chances for the home side that came in the final five minutes of the contest.

And while the defense may have made an error on the lone Issaquah strike, the team showed great capability after giving up two in each game of their season opening road trip to Oregon in which they lost 2-0 and won 5-2. 

T&T's Kennya Cordner a big threat
The team kept Issaquah’s star striker Kennya Cordner, a high scoring Trinidad & Tobago international striker with three goals already this season, in check. Though she had some possession and won the aerial battle when it came her way, the Shine defense minimized her effect on the attack.

“For the most part, our defenders played well. We had a game plan. They have a couple dangerous players up front, Cordner especially, that we were focusing on,” Quintero said. “We did a pretty good job controlling her. She’s quite a physical specimen to deal with.

“The one goal was a result of a mis-clearance again. We gotta make a decision if we are gonna clear, then clear the ball and not just keep it in the middle of the field for a 50-50. Credit to our defenders, they played well. And as well as they played, Cordner still gave us some problems, so credit to her.”

The second half seemed to show the two sides still not being completely fit as they played to a midfield stalemate until Spokane began to create chances in the latter stages. Issaquah did have a chance in the 67th minute when the ball was bouncing dangerously in the box, but the visitors were unable to get a good effort on it. 

“There seems to be a lull in the middle, after halftime. Neither team was really dominating the other. I credit especially Alyshia Madison and Darci Smith for their physical play in the midfield, they weren’t backing down. It was really physical in there which we really like to see,” Quintero said.

“Finally in the end there the momentum starting tipping our way on the scale and it showed. I think Rodriguez finally found some gaps there at the end. Ow was playing good and combining with her.

Lisa Robertson battled through injury
Lisa Robertson played I think four different, five different positions today - wherever we needed her,” he said. “And she’s on a bad hamstring so all credit to her for putting in a solid game as well.

“It’s just finishing those chances; the next step,” he concluded.

One of those chances came through the Scottish youth international with two minutes left in the first half. She picked up the ball near the top of the box and showed her class with an excellent individual effort, turning and firing on goal only to the see the effort find the arms of the netminder.

Spokane Shine 1:1 Issaquah SC
Joe Albi Stadium – Spokane, WA

Scoring Summary
SPO: Tseng Shu-O (Averi Hallman) 14
ISS: Arica Slawson (Joanna Houplin) 27