Wednesday, June 24, 2015

EPLWA Round-Up - June 24

The title race continues to heat up. The previously perfect Vancouver Victory dropped points for the second consecutive match while second-place South Sound picked up a win and the defending champion Spokane Shadow, which have games in hand, won to move up to third. The top three all face tough tests this week, including the first meeting between the top two.


Saturday, June 20

Bellingham United 1 :: 4 Spokane Shadow 

Chance Bukoski (R)
The struggling Hammers yet again got on the board first. Unfortunately for them, the story turned out the same as the Shadow rallied with four unanswered goals. After the Carlos Badillo goal in the 33rd, Karl Mueheims scored for the third consecutive game to tie it up four minutes before the break. Chance Bukoski, who set up the equalizer, tied things up in the 56th and three minutes later Halvor Mikkelsen pushed the lead to two with a long drive. Jesse Retan struck from the top of the box to round out the scoring in the 72nd.

Scoring Summary - BEL: Carlos Badillo (Tyler Bjork) 33;  SPO: Karl Muelheims (Chance Bukoski) 41, Chance Bukoski (Adam Talley) 56, Halvor Mikkelsen 59, Jesse Retan (Matt Beaulaurier) 72
Goalkeepers - BEL: Avery Miller / Hector Gutierrez;  SPO: Tony Watters / Jeff Srock
Location - Spokane Falls CC Stadium (Spokane); Attendance: 323

Olympic Force 2 :: 3 South Sound   

The visitors took the initial lead with Leo Potts, who scored in the 90th minute of the last game, scoring in the opening minute, but the title contenders pulled away and led by two at the break. Goalkeeper Chris Kintz connected with Vince McCluskey to help set up JJ Schmeck's equalizer in the 17th and then McCluskey netted the go-ahead goal in the 28th on a loose ball in the box. Micah Wenzel provided what turned into the winner in the 37th with Olympic netting just once as they tried to rally in the second half.

Scoring Summary - OLY: Leo Potts 1, Jaeger Skifsted (Diego Aceves) 77;  SS: JJ Schmeck (Vince McCluskey) 17, Vince McCluskey 28, Micah Wenzel (Scott Hanson) 37
Goalkeepers - OLY: Ian Fry;  SS: Chris Kintz
Location - Harry Lang Stadium (Lakewood); Attendance: 101

Sunday, June 21

Hector Valdovinos
Wenatchee FC 3 :: 3 Yakima United  

Looking to return to third after being jumped by Spokane the night before, the Capitals took an early two-goal lead in Yakima. League-leading scorer Eleazar Galvan netted the first 19 minutes in and Adrian Espinoza made it two in the 35th. The Hoppers, though, charged back in the second half with a goal in the 65th from Hector Valdovinos, who six minutes later also earned a penalty only to see Jesse Esquivel send it over the goal. They did, however, tie it up through Cesar Rodriguez 10 minutes later. Espinoza restored the lead in the 82nd, but Valdovinos became the hero of the night, giving Yakima its first-ever point against their central Washington rivals in four meetings with a goal in stoppage time.

Scoring Summary - WEN: Eleazar Galvan (Adrian Espinoza) 19, Espinoza (Eduardo Perez) 35, Espinoza 82;  YAK: Hector Valdovinos (Andres Ruiz) 65, Cesar Rodriguez (Junior Garcia) 75, Valdovinos 90+
Goalkeepers - WEN: Mauricio Sanchez;  YAK: Antonio Gonzalez
Location - Marquette Stadium (Yakima); Attendance: 250

Seattle Stars 1 :: 1 Vancouver Victory    

Vancouver keeper Arne Niermann was key in the match, keeping things scoreless well into the second half with a penalty kick save in the 35th minute. Seattle, though, managed to get on the board first when Anderson Dias chipped Niermann in the 69th. It looked like the Stars, who picked up a draw against South Sound previously, were going to get another upset, but defender Aaron Kinnes delivered the big equalizer two minutes from time for the draw on a ball from Borce Atanasov, who announced several days later that he is departing the team to join the Kitsap Pumas.

Scoring Summary - SEA: Anderson Dias (Wilver Rosales) 69;  VAN: Aaron Kinnes (Borce Atanasov) 88
Goalkeepers - SEA: Scott Barnum;  VAN: Arne Niermann
Location - McKenzie Stadium (Vancouver); Attendance: 462


Adrian Espinoza
Adrian Espinoza (Wenatchee FC) :: He set up the opening goal and then scored the other two for the Capitals in a 3-3 draw at Yakima.

Vince McCluskey (South Sound) :: Trailing against Olympic, he helped set up the equalizer and then put the Shock in front with a goal of his own.

Hector Valdovinos (Yakima United) :: Began the rally from a two-goal deficit with the team's first and later scored the equalizer in stoppage time to give Yakima the draw and its first points against Wenatchee in four tries.


Wednesday, June 24 

Vancouver Victory @ South Sound - 7:30 

The two sides, playing rare Wednesday matches against one another, are meeting for the first time this season. The two have been atop the league table the entire campaign and now meet with just two points separating them. South Sound dominated the season series a year ago by an aggregate 6-1 scoreline, posting a 4-1 win at home in May and closing out the campaign on the final day with a needed 2-0 win that proved bittersweet as Spokane grabbed the league title hours later.

Saturday, June 27

Seattle Stars @ Wenatchee FC - 6:00 

The two sides opened their seasons up against one another and the Stars took the initial meeting by a 2-1 scoreline at home. Since then, Wenatchee has enjoyed a moderately successful campaign and moved as high as third at one point while Seattle has been battling to reach mid-table. The Stars, though, hold a distinct advantage in the all-time series with victories in all three meetings. Last year they posted a 2-1 win on the road and took the second meeting 5-1.

Yakima United @ South Sound - 7:00  

One of only two teams to take points off the Shock so far this season, the Hoppers head to Tacoma to carry on from the early May 2-2 draw at home in which they originally led by two before allowing a late rally. The draw, though, was an improvement on a pair of losses to South Sound a year ago when they fell 2-1 at home and 2-0 on the road.

Spokane Shadow @ Vancouver Victory - 7:00 

Things have changed a bit since their last meeting in Spokane in which Vancouver registered a 2-0 win in the midst of their perfect seven-game perfect. The Shadow are unbeaten (4-0-1) since then and the Victory come into the match winless in their last two (0-1-1) and minus one of their star players, who just left to join Kitsap. A year ago, Vancouver was on a three-game win streak and climbing into the title hunt as the two played one-another twice in four days, but they played to a 1-1 draw in Spokane and the Shadow picked up a 2-1 road win the following Thursday to keep their hopes alive and dash Vancouver's.

Sunday, June 28

Olympic Force @ Bellingham United - 3:00  

With five games left and two against title contenders, Bellingham has limited opportunities to climb off the bottom of the table and try to catch Olympic, which lies what seems a massive nine points ahead. The Force, who took the first meeting 4-2 two weeks ago in a back-and-forth affair, can ensure that they can't be caught with a win, making the gap 12 points between the two, leaving just Yakima and Seattle within reach at 11 each.

Spokane Shadow @ Yakima United - 6:00   

After playing the top two sides the night before on the road, the pair will meet in Yakima. The Shadow won the first meeting in Spokane at the end of May in a game that was closer than its 2-0 scoreline. Last year Yakima was one of only two teams to get a win against Spokane, surprising the Shadow with a 3-2 road win on three unanswered goals, including a 90th minute winner. Spokane took the second meeting in Yakima by a narrow 1-0 scoreline, also on the way back home from Vancouver.

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