Friday, May 31, 2013

2013 WPSL Northwest Division Preview

Teams head out onto the pitch to kick off the NW Division campaign this weekend | Photos: Gerald Barnhart
It is a season of change in the division this year, whether it be the increase in the teams, clubs changing their brands or new head coaches at the helm. So, before we get into the nitty-gritty of the teams, let’s take a quick look at those big-story changes across the Northwest Division.

First, the composition of the division has gone from six to eight clubs with the Portland Rain (supported by the MLS Timbers last year) closing up shop for good with the Timbers ownership investing in the NWSL Portland Thorns. In their place, two new clubs, Tualatin Hills United SC and the Westside Timbers, joined up to bring the Oregon group to four. The Washington contingent is also now at four with the addition of AC Seattle, an Italian-focused club.

The new composition brought along with it a new postseason format as there will now be a division playoff. The top two clubs each from Washington and Oregon will move onto the postseason with the playoff event hosted by the higher-seeded Washington side in 2013 and Oregon’s top seed playing host to the division championship in 2014.

Three clubs will have new looks in 2013 to varying degrees. Starting with the smallest change, the Spokane Shine have introduced a new color and logo package this year in a season of change that also includes a new home venue and coach. Issaquah SC will be modifying their name to Seattle Reign FC Reserves presented by Issaquah SC, and are reportedly wearing Reign kits with the ISC logo. The biggest change will be the complete brand overhaul from Oregon Rush to Bend FC Timbers, a change elicited by the club becoming a part of the Timbers Alliance that was made official May 1 with the logo and name change.

Club changes for Spokane and Bend were not just cosmetic. The Shine brought in local youth coach Dan Philp to replace the departed Jason Quintero, who left for a position with Moscow United youth club, and Kyle Steinbaugh, the Director of Coaching, stepping aside from the WPSL responsibilities with the February appointment of new Technical Director Tara Erickson, a University of Washington product that has coached at Portland State and the University of Oregon.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Spokane Shine, independent Montana Flathead Rapids play to 2-2 draw in friendly

The Shine in their new white kits make debut at Spokane Falls CC against MFR | Photos: Gerald Barnhart - gallery
The Spokane Shine took to the field under new coach Dan Philp for the first time Tuesday evening at Spokane Falls CC and played to a 2-2 draw with visiting Montana Flathead Rapids just over a week after first coming together at tryout sessions. Midfielder Jaimey Etten proved to be the star of the night with a goal and an assist.

Lower Division Five Stars – Round 8

A weekly list of the top five players or performances of each round in NASL, USL Pro and MLS Reserves in all competitions - this week featuring the Second Round of US Open Cup along with league play…

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Spokane Shine round out roster on eve of preseason friendly

Coach Dan Philp preps tryout attendees on small-sided sessions | Tryout photo gallery: Gerald Barnhart
With the Spokane Shine set to play its first game under new coach Dan Philp Tuesday night (7:00 pm) under the lights at their new Spokane Falls CC home against visiting amateur squad Montana Flathead Rapids, the club has finalized its initial roster for the 2013 campaign.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Lower Division Power Rankings - May 27

LD Soccer News on Facebook
The weekly edition of the mixed Lower Division power rankings based on results from all competitions, including the US Open Cup which all the American-based NASL and USL Pro teams have now played in.

This Week (Last Week) Club (League) :: W-L-D :: Notes

1 (1) Orlando City (USL Pro) :: 8-1-2 :: Posted a convincing 4-1 victory over Wilmington after a narrow 2-1 win against the PDL Ocala Stampede in the US Open Cup.

2 (2) Richmond Kickers (USL Pro) :: 5-0-3 :: Posted a big victory against Harrisburg, blanking the City Islanders 2-0 Friday after easily moving past the USASA's Icon FC in the US Open Cup.

3 (5) Carolina RailHawks (NASL) :: 3-1-2 :: The team was idle in league play after posting a 3-1 victory against local PDL side Carolina Dynamo in the US Open Cup.

Gonzaga showdowns loom in US Open Cup Third Round as MLS enters mix

Ching may face current Zag |
Five current and former Gonzaga University men’s soccer players are headed toward a pair of head-to-head meetings in the Third Round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup on Wednesday, May 29. The matches in the 100th edition of the tournament will see the Seattle Sounders of MLS visiting the second-tier Tampa Bay Rowdies of the NASL and the MLS Houston Dynamo playing host to amateur FC Tucson of the PDL.

Lower Division Recap: Round 8

LD Soccer News on Facebook 
It was as busy of a week as you will see in the Lower Divisions all year as every American club, except Phoenix FC, was in action Tuesday night in the Second Round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.

USL Pro were big winners on the night with eight teams advancing to the Third Round to face MLS opposition this coming Tuesday and Wednesday. Four each from the NASL and the USL PDL also advanced. – Scores & Recaps [+]

Friday, May 24, 2013

WPSL's Best in Washington - Help us Decide and Inland NW Soccer News are teaming up to cover the all-Washington WPSL matches between the Spokane Shine and the Seattle-area trio of Emerald City FC, Seattle Reign Reserves (Issaquah SC) and AC Seattle and at the end of the season pronounce the team with the best record as Washington Champions. The only problem is, we don't quite know what to call it. For the past month we have bandied about a few ideas - the usual and creative - and have culled the list down to a few.

Now it is your turn to provide further insight as we search for both a name and a 'trophy.' In addition to the poll, we welcome any other suggestions in case we missed something that truly resonates with the competition at hand. More importantly, if anyone has ideas or something to donate as the trophy, we would love to hear or see it.

Lower Division Five Stars - Round 7

A weekly list of the top five players or performances of each round in NASL, USL Pro and MLS Reserves in all competitions…

ROUND SEVEN (May 13-19)

Player – Club (5 Star Selections)

Simone Bracalello - Minnesota United
Let down by the defense, Bracalello did his part on the offensive end of the pitch with a goal and an assist in a 3-2 loss at home to Tampa Bay.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Lower Division Power Rankings - May 20

The weekly edition of the mixed Lower Division power rankings based on results from all competitions, including the US Open Cup which all the American-based NASL and USL Pro teams play in this week - well, except for Phoenix after their upset loss last week.
This Week (Last Week) Club (League) :: W-L-D :: Notes

1 (1) Orlando City (USL Pro) :: 7-1-2 :: The Lions headed north and played to a 2-2 draw with one-loss Harrisburg and narrowly defeated Rochester 1-0. 

2 (2) Richmond Kickers (USL Pro) :: 4-0-3 :: The Kickers allowed a late equalizer from the visiting LA Blues in a 1-1 draw. 

3 (4) Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL) :: 3-1-2 :: The defending champs took advantage of some sloppy defending, but the dramatic 3-2 win in Minnesota was still impressive.

4 (6) Harrisburg City Islanders (USL Pro) :: 5-1-1 :: Nearly earned a big victory against Orlando City, but settled for a 2-2 draw at home. 

5 (3) Carolina RailHawks (NASL) :: 3-1-2 :: The RailHawks suffered their first loss of the season, falling 2-0 in Atlanta.

Lower Division Recap: Round 7

LD Soccer News on Facebook
The complexity of the season kicked up a notch with the introduction of the US Open Cup this week for four of the USL Pro clubs and will continue with the remaining teams from the league and the NASL entering the event on Tuesday against the First Round winners.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Shine roster taking shape; Lindsay & Walker heading abroad

With the Spokane Shine about to begin tryout sessions Friday night and Sunday afternoon, the squad is already beginning to come together according to new head coach Dan Philp who shared a list of 14 initial players that are lined up to be on the squad this year, including five returning from last year’s division champions. In addition, INWsoccernews has learned that a trio of other area players have made commitments elsewhere with former standout Shine center back Maggie Schrader moving onto the W-League while Eastern Washington goalkeeper Jamie Walker and Spokane’s Megan Lindsay (Seattle U) are expected to be playing abroad.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Gonzaga’s Bevans leads Tucson in US Open Cup upset win over pro club

Initial report that follows from Jon Arnold special to, where you can find the most expansive coverage of the tournament (which I happen to be assistant editor for)…

Conner Bevans
TUCSON, Ariz. - FC Tucson midfielder Conner Bevans wasn’t sure if he’d play against Phoenix FC on Tuesday night. In the end he proved to be the hero as the team upended their in-state professional rivals, 2-1.

After the team’s weekend draw with the Los Angeles Misioneros, the Gonzaga University man stayed behind to spend time with his grandmother, who is in poor health. Despite the coaching staff’s willingness to let him tend to family matters, Bevans flew in Tuesday morning and was seated on the bench hours later. He entered the match in the 81st minute with his team trailing 1-0.

The 18-year-old midfielder scored two goals, including a stoppage-time winner to lift FC Tucson to a 2-1 victory in the First Round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.

“I knew we were in a tough spot when I came into the game, and they were bringing me on to change it, so I was looking forward and trying to focus on getting the result for my team,” Bevans said.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Lower Division Power Rankings & Open Cup First Round predictions

With the US Open Cup kicking off this week with the inclusion of the first four pro sides here is the debut of my weekly mixed LD Power Rankings for the NASL and USL Pro.

Orlando City (USL Pro) :: 6-1-1 :: Though they aren't perfect with a loss on the road, they appear to be one of the powerful clubs so far this season.

Richmond Kickers (USL Pro) :: 4-0-2 :: They have dominated the competition but have only been on the road once so far.

Carolina RailHawks (NASL) :: 3-0-2 :: Unbeaten in a tight league and starting to show some offensive firepower.

LD Five Stars – Round 6

A weekly list of the top five players or performances of each round in NASL, USL Pro and MLS Reserves in all competitions…

ROUND SIX (May 7-12)

Player – Club (5 Star Selections)

Jose Angulo – Pittsburgh Riverhounds
Scored both goals in a 2-1 victory against Phoenix, finding the net in the 22nd and 51st minutes.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Lower Division Recap: Round 6

Perhaps it should have been an omen when the LA derby between the USL Pro Blues and the Galaxy Reserves finished 4-3 as the week saw a plentitude of goals scored with nine teams scoring at least three goals in the course of a dozen games.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

LD Five Stars – Round 5

A weekly list of the top five players or performances of each round in NASL, USL Pro and MLS Reserves in all competitions…

ROUND FIVE (May 1-5)

Player – Club (5 Star Selections)

Hans Denissen – San Antonio Scorpions
Trailing Atlanta, Denissen scored the initial equalizer in the 20th minute and then helped set up the go-ahead strike by Edin Husic eight minutes later as the winless Scorpions played to a 2-2 draw.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Shine to begin preparing for 2013 season in next few weeks

With the 2013 Women's Premier Soccer League season just under a month away for the Spokane Shine, new head coach Dan Philp has arranged his preparation plan for the campaign.

Lower Division Recap: Round 5

After five weeks of play one thing is becoming very clear. The NASL is going to come down to the final weekend. Three teams came into the weekend tied for first with one more a point back. After three draws, nothing changed. Ironically, the draws were the first in league play since the opening weekend finished with no winners.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Lower Division Five Stars - Round Four

A weekly list of the top five players or performances of each round in NASL, USL Pro and MLS Reserves in all competitions…

ROUND FOUR (April 22-28)

Jordan Allen – RSL Reserves
The RSL-Arizona Academy product came on early to relieve an injured fellow defender and helped keep the Galaxy Reserves off the board in a 1-0 shutout and nearly scored himself on a shot the keeper parried off the post Sunday.