SPOKANE, WA— (Shadow release) The Spokane Shadow extended their unbeaten streak in the Evergreen Premier League to a league record eight games Sunday with a 1-1 draw at Spokane Falls CC Stadium against second-place Vancouver Victory. Graison Le of Gonzaga University and Coeur d’Alene HS provided the answer for the Shadow in the second half after Spokane had fallen behind on a penalty in the first half.
“The game was really tough just because of the heat; and I think that really put a toll on everyone out there so I think that’s why everyone was grinding so hard,” Le said after the game, remarking on the temperatures that were well above 90 – perhaps even into triple digits on the artificial surface – in the early afternoon contest. “The goal came on a free kick and I could’nt have been happier with it. Glad that we at least got a result and got a tie and a point out of the game. Happy with that but I think we could have pulled out with a win and hopefully we’ll get them Thursday.”
From the Victory match recap: After the match Coach Binium Afenegus reflected on his team’s gritty performance, “The heat was tough, we were a little short handed today and the guys grounded out a good result. Filly and I are from here and we came back to Spokane looking to show well. People in this soccer community know the Afenegus name so I am proud of the guys and their performance today.”
General Manager Barrett Goddard echoed his head coach’s sentiments, “I lived and played soccer here for four years, I forgot how punishing these games in the heat can be on a player. I am very proud of the boys and coaches for their great performance. I agree with the folks at South Sound, Spokane is the best side we’ve faced all year. To come in here and get a point under any conditions is getting it done. Today was special because of the circumstances. Both sides needed a result and we got a result. The coaches had a great plan in place and the team executed it nicely.”
Le, who consistently challenged the midfield and back line of the Victory throughout the contest with weaving runs and dazzling footwork on the ball, tied the match up in the 69th minute with a simple strike from about 19 yards on a well-taken free kick play in which Pete Peterson (Gonzaga U / Central Valley) laid a short ball from the left edge of the box back to Le at the top of the box. The Zag stepped up to the ball and rifled a shot off the left post and into the far right side netting on the ricochet. It was the second goal of the season for Le, who provided the 1-0 game-winner in their last outing to top visiting South Sound two weeks ago.
Vancouver had taken the lead in the 31st minute of the match when Matt Beaulaurier (Ferris) was whistled for a foul in the box near the six. Mirza Ramic buried the ball into the right side of the goal with Shadow keeper Andrew Glaeser (No. Illinois / Walla Walla HS), who faced minimal dangerous chances in the game, guessing to the other side.
“We missed out on a major opportunity to grasp control of our own destiny. We would have had games in hand and be only a couple points out of first,” said head coach Chad Brown afterward. “We had a majority of possession and created enough opportunities to finish off the game. There were plenty of positives in the game, but we let this one slip away. I hope the guys learned the lessons and are fully recovered for Vancouver on Thursday.”
The Shadow looked the better side in the heat in the early going, aggressively playing a well put together possession game and came away with a few chances early on. Nine minutes in Devin Leon (CC Spokane), who was played up the left side, took the ball up to the end line before cutting toward the box and eventually putting the ball off the left post and out of play. Two minutes later Leon collected a loose ball in the left corner of the area and played it inside near Sam Engle (Whitworth), but the striker was not able to get a full connection and a defender cleared it away.
Vancouver then had its best two chances of the half in a one-minute span. In the 13th minute a long ball from the right side switched the play over to Enrique Esparza on the left, but his effort from 19 yards soared over the goal. A few moments later a throw-in on the right side found its way to Jamoy Stevens, but his attempt at a redirected shot on the volley went wide from about nine yards.
In the 16th minute the Shadow Le nearly put the Shadow on the board on a fantastic counter. The quick transition was played through Mike Ramos (Seattle U / University HS) at midfield, where he immediately knocked a short ball forward to Le, who made an incredible 30-yard run up the field, fending off several defenders while maintaining possession before launching a rising shot from about 20 yards that forced Vancouver keeper Jordan Farr to leap and parry it over the crossbar before it slipped in under the woodwork. Farr was be called upon to make another quick reaction save in the 28th – three minutes before the penalty – when he got his hand to a well-paced 18-yard effort by Ramos.
The Shadow continued to hold the better of possession and create the better opportunities in the second stanza. A ball up to Ramos inside the right edge of the box drew some gasps from the crowd as he caught the goalkeeper cheating toward his side of the goal, allowing him to send an early ball in the 54th minute toward the back post only to see it go unfinished.
With the clock winding down and the visiting players beginning to really feel the affects of the heat, the Shadow continued to press as they looked for the win. In the 85th minute a free kick from Peterson well out on the left flank into the box found the head of Ramos, who glanced it wide of the far right post. Four minutes later Peterson delivered a short corner on the right side up to Le off the outer corner of the area, catching Vancouver off guard again. Another well-struck chest-high effort from Le swerved between the defenders toward the left side of the goal only to see Farr react well to stop it from giving Spokane the win.
Coming Up – On the road & FINAL HOMESTAND
The Shadow are on the road this week with a match in Vancouver Thursday and a stop in Yakima for a second game on Friday. The following weekend the Shadow wrap up their season with two home games when they host SeattleJuly 19 and Wenatchee July 20. The Saturday night match begins at 7:00 pm with the Sunday finale kicking off at 5:00. Both games are at Spokane Falls CC Stadium with family-friendly tailgating beginning two hours prior to the opening whistle.
Spokane Shadow 1-1 South Sound FC
VAN: Mirza Ramic (pen) 31
SPO: Graison Le (Pete Peterson) 69
Spokane – Starters: Andrew Glaeser; Aaron Jeffery, Derek Zimmerman, Colin Shockman; Matt Beaulaurier, Matt Bray, Pete Peterson, Graison Le, Devin Leon, Mike Ramos; Sam Engle – Substitutes: Micah Weller, Adam Talley, Jacob Weaver
Vancouver – Starters: Jordan Farr; Bryanth Garcia, Enrique Esparza, Cody Guthrie, Jake Leggett, Nick Palodichuk, Mirza Ramic, Langdon Roscoe, Jamoy Stevens, Davis Strawn, Tyler Webster – Substitutes: Patrick Allred, Yoshikazu Hayashi, Cameron Goddard,
Spokane: Pete Peterson 19
EPLWA This Weekend (Home-Away)
Saturday – Yakima 6-0 Bellingham
Saturday – Wenatchee 3-1 South Sound
Sunday – Seattle v WestSound – not available
South Sound… 8-2-1 (25 pts / 34 pts possible)
Vancouver… 8-3-1 (25 pts / 31 pts possible)
Spokane… 6-2-2 (20 pts / 32 pts possible)
Bellingham… 6-5-1 (19 pts / 25 pts possible)
Yakima… 5-7-1 (16 pts)
Wenatchee… 5-7-0 (15 pts)
Seattle… 2-7-1 (7 pts)
WestSound… 2-9-1 (7 pts)
EPLWA Next Week
Thursday – Spokane @ Vancouver 7:00
Thursday – Seattle @ South Sound 7:30
Friday – Spokane @ Yakima 6:30
Saturday – Seattle @ Bellingham 2:00
Sunday – Wenatchee @ WestSound 4:00
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