Welcome to the State of the EPLWA, a weekly update that will be posted early in the week during the regular season. See previous editions here.
The fourth week of action in the Evergreen Premier League produced highs and lows for the clubs and kicked off with a national honor for the league.
The EPLWA was honored to be included as a Premier League at the Adult Elite Amateur Level by the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA.) This honor means that the league is already considered one of the best in the nation, and edges us closer in “status” to national leagues that have scores of teams and much higher operating costs. We are proving early-on that local can work. Not only work, but excel. Our league offices are in Bellingham, Washington, not Florida, or elsewhere around the country. We are building our own unique league for our unique clubs and state!
On the pitch it was a great weekend of action. The early-season contenders are sorting themselves out, creating highs for some clubs and supporters, and lows for others. On the high end are Vancouver Victory FC, who have won four straight matches to zoom into second place in the table. Bellingham United and South Sound are also contending. Close behind are Yakima and Spokane. Feeling the lows of losing are WestSound, Wenatchee and Seattle.
There was only one shutout in week four and that belonged to Leo Cohen of the Hammers. The league experienced its first-ever tie as Spokane tallied late to draw 1-1 at South Sound on Sunday. We had the first of what we expect to be years and years of “Instant Classics.” The Victory outscored the Hoppers 5-4 on Sunday. They exchanged goals in stoppage time in a thriller that defines “classic.”
The goalWA goalKING remains Junior Garcia of Yakima (4.) Nick Palodichuk scored three over two matches last weekend for Vancouver to make a splashy EPLWA debut. Also with three are Hector Valdovinos (Yakima) and Mizra Ramic (Vancouver.)
59 goals have been scored in the 16 matches played so far, an average of 3.7 goals per match.
Attendance for the weekend was Vancouver (385, 303), WestSound (150), South Sound (145) and Seattle (186). So far after one month the entire league’s total average per match is 367.
This Week: See our league-wide complete schedule.
The Hammers (4-1-0) went to Seattle and clocked the Stars 4-0 at Starfire on Sunday. It keeps the Black and White atop the table for another week. BUFC is doing well with an experienced squad that has a two-season jump on the competition. After two years in the Pacific Coast Soccer League (PCSL) in which the club were post-season bound, the Hammers are picking right up in the new Washington circuit. Depth is one recipe for their success. They have plenty of players to draw from that have been cultivated since 2011. This coming Sunday May 25 should be an interesting trip back to the greater Puget Sound area for BUFC. They travel to Silverdale to play struggling WestSound FC. The Hammers’ only loss on the year was a 1-0 shocker at home to WestSound.
The Stars are still winless (0-3-0) after a month in their new league. It’s clearly not the start they were hoping for. Scoring goals has been a problem. Seattle has been shutout at home over two straight weeks. Now they will host Yakima United on May 24th, and you’d think they will need some goals to stay with the Hoppers. YUFC have scored ten more goals (12) than Seattle. However, they have also surrendered 11. The lows are very low for the proud, trophy-winning Stars right now. On their Facebook page someone involved posted: “Sometimes Nature takes a great team down the path of non-success not for the purpose to never be successful. Rather to appreciate better success when it will knock on our door and never forget the lessons that its short or long-term absence have taught us. I see it coming. It is on its way fighting its way through. All we ever need to do as a team is to create the conditions to never let it go once we let success in.”
The Shock experienced one on Sunday. Goalkeeper Chris Kintz let a ball slip from his hands in the box in the 84th minute. Spokane’s Nick Hamer made him pay with a quick tap-in in the league’s first-ever tie. The sloppy play cost South Sound a share of the top spot. SSFC are still unbeaten at 3-0-1 with 10 points. No time to mourn the mistake as Vancouver Victory FC comes to Lakewood on May 24 at 7 PM. The Shock need more goals, and that could be especially true with the high-scoring Victory invading. South Sound is only fourth in league scoring with seven goals after four matches. Vancouver is tied for first with thirteen in five matches.
The Shadow had to leave the dry half of the state to get some points. Mission accomplished after Spokane thumped WestSound 3-0 on Saturday and then drew 1-1 with South Sound on Sunday. The road swing moves the Shadow up to 5th in the table on four points after four played. Spokane’s USL Seattle Sounders connections, thanks to Shadow head coach Chad Brown, continued to produce guest players. On Saturday in Silverdale Kevin Sakuda started against WestSound. On Sunday Ciaran O’Brien was on the pitch at the opening whistle. It’s another chance for away points this week as the Shadow visit Wenatchee on May 24 at 6 PM at the Apple Bowl.
They lost their opening match in Bellingham but since then it has been all victory for Vancouver, who have now won four straight. They swept aside Wenatchee and Yakima at home last weekend. We’ve talked about the “Instant Classic” that was the 5-4 rally over the Hoppers.
But not-so-quietly the Victory are building a stable of scorers in Ramic and Palodichuk, complementing Borce Atanisov, who has been ill but is mesmerizing when he gets minutes. On the other end Sean Irvin has two shutouts.
A new challenge awaits when the Victory head north to Lakewood to face South Sound on Saturday night at 7 PM at Harry Lang Stadium.
The Capitals are winless after three matches. It hasn’t quite come together for the green and white just yet. They hang with teams but then have momentary lapses that they pay dearly for. Last weekend they fell 3-1 in Vancouver. So far WUFC has been outscored 10-4 in three games played.
Starting goalkeeper Angel Guerra was injured in pre-season and has yet to see the pitch. Guerra is a calming presence with two NWAACC titles tucked into his back pocket. Up front Wenatchee needs to create more chances.
It’s a HUGE weekend for WUFC, with two matches at the Apple Bowl. Saturday it’s Spokane, Sunday it’s Yakima.
WestSound FC are out of the cellar due to their week three upset of Bellingham. The Men have only scored one goal in three matches and have surrendered nine. There just isn’t much help at forward for the peninsula bunch so far. The club is finding it hard to create chances though they have had good moments over their four games. When they shine it seems to be in terms of effort and defense, with a special nod to goalkeeper Jordan Hadden for keeping them in all of their matches.
Bellingham visits on Sunday May 25 and we’ll find out if WestSound is the top-place Hammers’ bogey side, or if that 1-0 shocker earlier was just a fortunate blip for WestSound.
Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the opposition. That’s all the Hoppers could really do after they tied Vancouver 4-4 in stoppage time only to give up a 5-4 Victory winner a few seconds later. YUFC is battling for “most entertaining side in the EPLWA,” and so far, so good. Their four matches have seen 23 goals, of which the Hoppers have 12. The Valley is getting behind the club, with businesses and local press doing a nice job so far. Fourth place is a solid start for the Hoppers, who are now 2-2-0 with six points.
It’s a tall order to play in Seattle one day and Wenatchee the next, but that is what comes next for YUFC. They’ll play the Stars at Starfire May 24 at 7 PM and then cross the Cascades to play Wenatchee on Sunday May 25 in the Apple Bowl at 4 PM.
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OFFICIAL MEDIA PARTNER
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