State of the EPLWA: Inaugural weekend features press, impressive play

Welcome to the State of the EPLWA, a weekly update that will be posted on Mondays during the regular season. See previous editions here.

stateoftheEPLWAThe Evergreen Premier League debuted with three matches over the April 26-27 weekend. When the cleats were put away on Sunday night there had been two shutouts and ten goals scored, three winners and three who will try again next time. And there was press…lots of local press. More than the league could rightly have hoped for, as each hosting team made the front page of their sports section in season previews posted by the Yakima Herald-Republic, Bellingham Herald and Kitsap Sun. To make the weekend even more complete, the Sunday Herald-Republic featured a Yakima United player top left rushing out of the front page of the entire paper, covering up part of the banner. We are collecting EPLWA press clippings here.

League President Peter Ostrovsky was in Yakima for the Hoppers opener and then in Bellingham hours later.

“I really enjoyed traveling to Yakima for the inaugural EPLWA match, especially since it was my fiftieth birthday,” Ostrovksy tells EPLWA.com. “It was quite the gift. The fans in Yakima were very excited and the YUFC players responded to that. The Seattle Stars battled bravely and gave them a run for their money. In Bellingham, it was a very familiar setting and BUFC team but it was great to finally see V2FC up close and personal. I’m very fond of what V2FC has done with their club. I can’t wait to hit the road again next weekend to present the Spokane Shadow with their plaque as their men’s side re-emerges on Saturday and then I’ll be at V2FC’s home ground on Sunday.”

LAST WEEK: Yakima 4-2 Seattle, Bellingham 2-0 Vancouver, WestSound 0-2 South Sound

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 THIS WEEK: Saturday May 3 Bellingham United at Spokane Shadow, Sunday May 4 South Sound FC at Yakima United, WestSound FC at Vancouver, Bellingham United at Wenatchee United

week-2a

bufc-clearBELLINGHAM UNITED FC

The Hammers needed to get last weekend’s home win because they are away from Civic Stadium for much of the early season. This week BUFC does a double dip with their longest trip of the year Saturday night in Spokane and Sunday afternoon in Wenatchee. In both cases the Hammers will face clubs hosting their historic openers, and clubs in their first seasons.

Leo Cohen came up big on Sunday against Vancouver, stopping a first-half penalty kick try and eventually earning a shutout. Hammers coach Lance Calloway says the team still has plenty to work on. “Going forward we need to improve on finishing the opportunities we create as we need to put teams away, especially in matches like (Sunday) when we created many as we did.”

The Bellingham Herald featured a sports front-page story on the Hammers season debut.

STARS-LOGO-new-575SEATTLE STARS FC

The name  Guillermo Heraldez will forever be a part of EPLWA history. The Seattle Star scored the league’s first-ever goal in the 5th minute in Yakima on Saturday. The Stars fell apart after that, giving up four unanswered goals before a consolation strike from Dario Meza.

Seattle doesn’t play again until May 11 when they host Vancouver at Starfire in their home opener. It might be a good scheduling fit for the Stars to give them time to coordinate their back line.

The Stars made the trip over in style, wearing t-shirts with their crest going large, and sporting cool window decals on their cars, too.

ssfc-500SOUTH SOUND FC

South Sound made the trip up to Silverdale to play one of their closest competitors geographically, WestSound FC. The Shock dominated the match and WestSound goalkeeper Jordan Hadden literally saved the home side several times in the first half, as did the left post. In the second half the visitors capitalized on their higher level of play with two break-away chip shots. Frankie Lopez was very active for the Shock, hitting the post in the first half and scoring the winner in the second.

The big away win sets things up nicely for a first-ever first-place showdown in the EPLWA on Sunday May 4 when the Shock visit Yakima United FC.

South Sound debuted their new Nike kits which for the away strip are white, white and feature hooped navy and white socks. Earlier the club gave a sneak peek at their sponsors.

shadow-scSPOKANE SHADOW

The Shadow are preparing to host Bellingham on Saturday night May 3 at Spokane Falls CC Stadium. Last week the club announced a flashy player commitment. Elliot Fauske will bring his defensive skills and a summer mohawk to the club. On Sunday the Shadow hosted a re-launch party.

In 1995, the Shadow came to life as a provisional member of what is now known as the United Soccer Leagues’ Premier Development League (USL PDL). It played a 13-game exhibition slate in 1995 with six games at SFCC. The team would later be acquired by Brett Sports & Entertainment, making their official league debut in 1996, again at SFCC, with a league record of 12-2 to win the regular season division title. With average crowds exceeding 1,200, the team moved to Joe Albi Stadium the following year, where it remained until ceasing operations due to Albi turf concerns after the 2005 season. 

The Hammers and Victory battle for the ball Sunday in Bellingham. (David Willoughby)
The Hammers and Victory battle for the ball Sunday in Bellingham. (David Willoughby)

v2fc-full-color-crest-croppedVANCOUVER VICTORY FC

It’s also home opener week for Vancouver, who host WestSound FC on Sunday afternoon May 4 at McKenzie Stadium. It will be a battle of two sides that took 2-0 losses in their first matches.

The Victory will look to get pre-season scoring star Borce Atanisov off the mark. They will also strive for more possession and confidence on the ball.

Vancouver fans will have some of the best choices in gear around the EPLWA. We’ve seen glassware, beanies, scarves, shirts, hoodies, even a traditional football pennant come from the Victory camp.

500-WUFC Gold mono-colorWENATCHEE UNITED FC

Wenatchee United is in its home opening week of preparation for the Bellingham visit to the Apple Bowl on Sunday May 4th. Last weekend WUFC traveled to Port Angeles for the Rumble in the Rainforest. While there the Capitals played two 60-minute scrimmages. In the first one they drew 0-0 with defending NWAACC two-time champions Peninsula College. In the second they fell 2-0 to professional PDL side Kitsap Pumas. WUFC nearly won the first, but a late flurry saw them hit the post and then the crossbar just before the final whistle.

Brazilian player Cesar Ceppi, who is featured here, visited a local radio station recently.

wfc badge 2_75WESTSOUND FC

The WestSound FC Men played their home opener at a blustery Silverdale Stadium on Sunday and couldn’t get all that much going against South Sound FC.

Most observers agreed the best players on the day for the home side were goalkeeper Jordan Hadden and midfielder Kyle Schoales.

A late-arriving gathering viewed the match in the shade while the players played in the sun and wind.

WestSound will look for their first goal and win when they travel on Sunday May 4 to Vancouver to supply the opposition for the Victory’s home debut.

The Kitsap Sun did a front-page sports section feature on the new team on Saturday.

herald-republic-4

YUFCCREST_WHITE_300_WIDEYAKIMA UNITED FC

The first ever win in EPLWA history goes to…Yakima United FC’s Hoppers. The club made a splash in the stands and in the press with their 4-2 win over Seattle Stars FC in the league’s first-ever match April 26 at Marquette Stadium.

The Yakima Herald-Republic made them the top sports story two days in a row.

Now the happy Hoppers will face another unbeaten team when they host South Sound on Sunday May 4.

The Hoppers used four different scorers in their rally over the Stars, and mixed in to their four goals were two golazos: a bicycle kick by Luiz Martinez and a long bomb by Dennis Stevenson.

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