Wednesday, July 11, 2012

WPSL Seattle Showdown Part I finishes 1-1; NW Division title up for grabs

Race for division title will go to the wire for leaders Issaquah as Emerald City, Spokane lurk in shadows
When the word came down at the Spokane Shine training session Wednesday evening that Emerald City FC and Issaquah SC played to a 1-1 draw in the first of their two-games this week, there was muted optimism as they only got part of the help they needed in the playoff chase.

Wednesday’s result creates a myriad of scenarios for the division title that includes a three-way tie, something that would not be good for the Shine given their current goal differential. Spokane and Emerald City sit four points back of Issaquah. The Shine and Emerald City meet Friday in what is a must-win result for the Shine if they wish to avoid the three-way tie. Emerald City then returns to Seattle to face Issaquah again Sunday evening after Spokane plays host to the winless Oregon Rush  Saturday afternoon. 

The division leaders gained early control in the match Wednesday with a goal six minutes into the contest. Shawna Anderson fired a shot from long distance on the right side that soared over the keeper and into the far side netting.

Nine minutes later Megan Chapin scored her eighth goal of the season, claiming the top spot in the division scoring table from Issaquah’s Kennya Cordner. The Trinidad & Tobago international has seven goals this season. Kate Bennett delivered an excellent through ball that left Chapin alone with only the keeper to beat on the play. 

Emerald City took control of the contest and had the better of the chances, seeing a Bennett shot go off the crossbar in the 29th minute and Chapin hitting the woodwork again a minute before the break when her effort for a second tally rang off the post.

There was not as much drama in the second half, though there was arguably more anxiety.

A dangerous Emerald City cross flicked onto the goal seven minutes into the second half was stopped by goalkeeper Alyssa Beauchamp’s face, pausing the game to attend to the injury.

As Emerald City began to control the possession more, Issaquah was forced to bring Beauchamp back into the match when their substitute netminder Alexa Hughes was forced out with an ankle injury when an Emerald City challenged for the ball in front of goal in a play that saw the ball finish in the back of the net only to have the goal waived off by the referee.

Both teams created chances in the final 10 minutes with Beauchamp making a great save on another dangerous cross in the 87th. Issaquah had a last-second chance to pick up the win on a free kick from the penalty arc only to see the effort slam into the wall.

Elsewhere in the NW Division

Eugene Metro FC picked up an expected win versus Oregon Rush, posting a 6-0 victory at home Wednesday evening. Chrissy Walter scored her second of the year in the first half and the Rush kept it 1-0 until the break. Azul broke away in the second half, however, with early goals from Taylor Boyer, also with her second, and Shaylee Miner. Megan Marchesano netted her second of the year before Walter notched her second of the night, joining a group of eight players in the division with three goals. Hannah Smith rounded out the scoring while Elise Nord and Lindsay Parlee shared credit in the clean sheet.

Eugene Metro can now finish fourth in the division with a win at Portland Sunday, claiming boasting rights as the best Oregon club in the division.