BREMERTON, WA— The Olympic Force fought back in the second half but couldn’t catch the visiting Vancouver Victory who held on for a 4-2 win May 2 at Gordon Field in the Force’s EPLWA debut.
It was a beautiful sunny Saturday night in Bremerton as 126 fans took in the action. They saw a scoreless battle through 20 minutes as both sides mounted attacks and settled into things. Vancouver (2-0-0, 6 points) struck first in the 21st minute when Ian Farley collected a loose ball in the Olympic (0-0-1, 0 points) penalty box and turned on it with just enough power to beat Force goalkeeper Casey Collins. Collins pounded the turf after the goal suggesting he thought it was one he should have saved.
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The Victory had most of the possession in the first half and that eventually turned into two more goals in a three-minute stretch that decided the match. Timur Zhividze had been active, making dangerous runs down Olympic’s left flank. In the 35th minute he took a nice outlet pass and darted down the left, passing perfectly to a wide-open Farley. Ian buried the ball into the Force net for his second goal and it was 2-0 Vancouver.
Just three minutes later in the 38th minute it was Zhividze who scored. He kept with a play and when the ball deflected to him in the middle of the penaly box he made no mistake beating Collins to make it 3-0 with what eventually became the winning goal.
The Force regrouped at half time. Head coach Kevin Skinner inserted himself into the match along with Colin Ralston and Yona Tesfasilase. Combined with target forward Abdi Galgalo, who had been dangerous in the first half, Olympic rallied with extended periods of possession. In the 59th minute Tesfasilase and Galgalo combined on a nice goal, the first in Force league history, to cut the deficit to 3-1.
Interview: Timur Zhividze
The match tightened in the 73rd minute when a ball into the Victory area was met by Vancouver goalkeeper Jordan Farr but redirected by Colin Ralston into the V2FC goal. Suddenly the result was up for grabs.
The Force had chances to draw level, including two shots from Galgalo that Farr needed solid saves to rescue. One came on a header against the crossbar, the other on a slow build-up that saw Galgalo shoot a shot to Farr’s right that he stretched out to tip wide of the goal mouth.
Vancouver took some steam out of the Force comeback in the 80th minute when Nathan Cheney finished a ball down the right side to make it 4-2. The clubs continued to exhange chances all the way to the final whistle.
The Victory are now 2-0-0 (6 points) on the season and in first place all on their own pending Sunday’s results. The Force are 0-0-1 (0 points). Vancouver is at home May 10 at 2 PM at McKenzie Stadium against Bellingham United. The Olympic Force host Wenatchee FC at Gordon Field at 3 PM on May 10.