Yakima United tops Seattle Stars 4-2 in inaugural EPLWA match

YAKIMA, WA— Yakima United FC topped the Seattle Stars FC 4-2 at Marquette Stadium on Saturday April 26 to win the first ever match in the history of the Evergreen Premier League.

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YUFC’s Inaugural Season plaque. All 8 EPLWA clubs will be presented with one at their respective home openers. Click photo to enlarge.

Before the match the hosts were presented with a unique plaque in honor of being part of the debut season of the league. Then it took only five minutes for the visitors to make the first mark on history by scoring the very first goal. That honor belongs to the Stars’ Guillermo Heraldez. It was 1-0 Seattle even as Yakima supporters were still finding spots in the bleachers.

We are building a match gallery on Facebook.com/EvergreenPremierLeague. Check back as we populate it with photos from this special night.

The home Hoppers battled back and tied the match in the 13th minute when Luiz Martinez lofted a bicycle kick goal into the roof of the Seattle net, bringing the home supporters alive. Hector Valdovinos gave Yakima their first lead in league play with a on-target header in the 32nd minute. The Hoppers weren’t done scoring before the break, though. Long-time Yakima Reds player Junior Garcia made in 3-1 in the 41st minute.

The second half saw more fireworks and a second cracker of a goal from Yakima. In the 52nd minute another former Red Dennis Stevenson let one fly from over 30 yards out. It had the Seattle defense watching in awe as it eluded the goalkeeper and put the Hoppers up 4-1.

EPLWA President Peter Ostrovsky, left, presents an inaugural season plaque to Yakima United FC. (Tracie Fowler)
EPLWA President Peter Ostrovsky, left, presents an inaugural season plaque to Yakima United FC. (Tracie Fowler)
The line-ups on Saturday in Yakima.
The line-ups on Saturday in Yakima.
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Cover of official Yakima 2014 program. Click to enlarge.

The Stars made it respectable when they pulled a goal back from Dario Meza in the 69th. That was the end of the scoring and the first three points of the season belong to YUFC.

It was a rowdy crowd that greeted and got behind the Hoppers in their home debut. The stadium parking lot was full and fans began lining up cars on the side of the road as kick off approached. Eventually YUFC announced the attendance at 426, a fine jump up from the kinds of crowds the old Yakima Reds were getting in their last days in the PDL. See some video from the Yakima Herald-Republic here. Read the Yakima Herald-Republic match story here. Enjoy a giant photo gallery of the historic night from Tracie Fowler here.

Each club used five substitutions in the match. There were three yellow cards dished out by lead referee Rob Mauws, who was assisted by Jordan Halstead and Chris Krueger. The Yakima caution came in the 63rd minute to goal-scorer Hector Valdovinos. Seattle’s yellows were to Vanya Popov (11th minute) and Brice Boum in the 86th.

Yakima United FC’s next match is Sunday May 4 back at Marquette Stadium against South Sound FC. The Seattle Stars don’t play again until Sunday May 11 when they host Vancouver Victory FC at Starfire Sports Stadium in their home opener.

Match photos by John Sokol

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