VANCOUVER, WA—In what can only be labeled a crazy, crazy game, the Vancouver Victory F.C. emerged victorious over Yakima United F.C, 5-4. The 303 supporters that ventured to McKenzie Stadium on this beautifully stormy Sunday afternoon were treated to a close contest fought by two teams that are shaping up to be powerhouses in our eight team league.
By Matt Lacy, V2FC Beat Writer
The game was delayed five minutes as a torrential thunder cloud with pouring rain and hail pounded McKenzie stadium forcing the officiating crew and the teams back into the locker rooms just as they were lining up for the pre-game march to battle. The storm subsided and the match began, where a soccer storm played out for 95 minutes on the stadium turf field.
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The Victory, wearing their all black kits and running a 4-3-3 with a diamond formation, began pressing from the first whistle. Within minutes, the Victory’s Bryanth Garcia threaded the ball to Jordan Jones whose shot forced the Wenatchee keeper, Antonio Gonzalez, to a save and that seemed to set the tone for the match. Yakima’s Junior Garcia also sent in some bombers, but to no avail. More shots came on both sides, fast and intense.
One particularly nice run was made when Jordan Jones sent in a nice ball to the head of Tevaughn Harriette, forcing Gonzalez to make the save. Harriette then put another shot on frame off a Garcia assist, but it was handled again by Gonzalez. Then in the 30th minute, wearing all red and running a 4-4-2 formation, the Hoppers struck. Freddy Sanchez sent the ball right up the middle to Hector Valdovinos who rocketed the ball in from 20 yards out. The score was 1-0 Yakima as they celebrated in front the Victory bench.
The crew in the all black quickly answered back as Jerson Mejia sent in a wonderful cross from the right and Nick Palodichuk billowed the net, near post; evening the score to 1-1in the 34 minute. The 35th minute saw a spectacular Victory set piece where Esparza shoveled off the kick to Garcia, who shoved it right back to Esparza. He leveled the ball into the box where Victory defender Langdon Roscoe headed the ball in at the far post. 2-1 Victory.
The rain held off for the first half, but it started coming down steadily in the second and that only seemed to stoke the fires on the pitch. The tireless Davis Strawn drew a penalty in the box which Ramic sunk into the lower left net as Gonzalez dove right. 3-1 Victory. Three minutes later, Yakima’s Sanchez sent in a stellar corner kick to find the breaching head of Dennis Stevenson to beat Ervin and the Hoppers bring it to 3-2.
Despite great runs by Strawn, Bobby Hutchin, and Ramic, Yakima earned a penalty kick in the 56th minute when the referee called a hand ball. Junior Garcia took the kick with authority, drawing Yakima even at 3-3. But the night was far from done.
At the other end of the pitch in the 65 minute, Bryan Gonzalez sent a corner kick straight into the mixer where Ramic matrixed out of the fray to head the ball into the back of the net. 4-3 Victory.
“It was a great ball in by Gonzo (Gonzalez)… I just really wanted it.” Ramic said with a smile. No way were the Hoppers done. The run of play was certainly intense and heated at times, as evidenced by the yellow shown to Strawn, Christian Avier, and Yakima’s Abrams. Finally after great saves and attacks on both sides of the pitch, the Hopper’s equalized in stoppage time off a great header from Abrams that was flicked back into the box. 4-4.
Incredibly, the boys in all black stormed on. In the 94th minute, a free kick was earned for the Victory and Palodickuk sent it in at about 35 yards out. The ball found the head of Strawn and then fell to Jones who pounded it into the back of an open net. 5-4 and the Victory took the game.
Under the steely grey skies, Vancouver Victory FC emerge victorious over a very worthy Yakima United F.C. “Two powerful offenses going back and forth, really tense, a lot of commitment, a lot of heart on our side to get it back. Definitely a battle, I am sure the fans enjoyed it.” said Palodichuk.
Cody Guthrie, a hard working central defender seen stopping ball after ball said after the game, “We have a lot of chemistry. We just made sure we stayed tight as a unit and stayed disciplined.” And the crew in blue are going to be taking that discipline on the road next weekend to South Sound F.C. on May 24, 7 p.m. Wow, what a weekend for the sea of blue.
YUFC ‘30 Hector Valdovinos (assist Freddy Sanchez)
V2FC ‘34 Nick Palodichuk (assist Jerson Mejia)
V2FC ‘35 Langdon Roscoe (assist Enrique Esparza)
V2FC ‘47 Mirza Ramic (Penalty Kick)
YUFC ;50 Dennis Stephens (assist Freddy Sanchez)
YUFC ‘56 Junior Garcia (Penalty Kick)
V2FC ‘65 Mirza Ramic (assist Bryan Gonzalez)
YUFC ‘90 Jordan Abrams
V2FC ‘90+ Jordan Jones (assist Palodichuk and Strawn)
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