Just four goals over three sweltering Saturday matches

Saturday June 27 saw record heat in some areas of Washington state. Offenses were held very much in check. There were just four goals combined in an evening of grueling play. As the sweat-stained kits hit the laundry rooms the Spokane Shadow find themselves in the driver’s seat to repeat as EPLWA Champions.

The Bridge Mafia supported Wenatchee FC in the heat. (BM photo)

Wenatchee FC 0-0 Seattle Stars FC

WENATCHEE, WA—There’s hot soccer — and then there’s soccer when it’s HOT. The Capitals (5-4-2) and Stars (3-4-3) played through 100 degree heat at kick off (6 PM) on a sweltering night in Wenatchee, only to see offensive legs grow tired in a nil-nil draw. The result secures Wenatchee’s first-ever point in the series with Seattle, which now stands 3-0-1 in favor of the Stars.

The Bridge Mafia waved their flags in support of the home side, and likely didn’t mind any small breeze they might have created. The Wenatchee World reports: High temperatures, which neared 100 degrees at kickoff, forced both teams to run at a slowed pace during the first half. Referees scheduled a brief water break 25 minutes into each half, allowing the players some respite from the sweltering conditions. Play loosened up in the second half, with each side executing crisp passing and improved spacing. Despite creating their best scoring opportunities of the match in the final 20 minutes, neither side could take advantage of the cloud cover and slightly cooler temperatures. After four minutes of stoppage time, the referee’s whistle signaled a merciful end to the hard-fought draw.

Seattle and Wenatchee vs. the HEAT. (Stars Facebook photo)
Seattle and Wenatchee vs. the HEAT. (Stars Facebook photo)
The Shock and Hoppers played to two draws in 2015. (Brand Farris.)

South Sound FC 1:1 Yakima United FC

LAKEWOOD, WA—The temperature on the artificial pitch at Harry Lang Stadium was near 100 degrees as the Shock (7-1-3) hoped to keep their title hopes on the winning trajectory. The did score first, after only six minutes, when Taylor Jackson served a long ball to the head of Eli Peterson, who got the goal. Yakima (3-5-3) drew level in the 20th minute on a goal from Ceveriano Garcia.

The clubs battled back and forth. The Shock had this goal called back for a foul around the 70th minute. South Sound battled through the heat to create several chances in the later stages. Yakima defended well to keep them from doing so. The result means the 2015 series between the two ends with two draws. Earlier in Yakima the clubs finished 2-2.

EVERGREEN PREMIER LEAGUE – 2015  (Through June 27) Pts GP W L T GF GA GD
SOUTH SOUND FC 24 11 7 1 3 32 15 +17
VANCOUVER VICTORY FC 22 11 7 3 1 28 12 +16
SPOKANE SHADOW 20 9 6 1 2 24 9 +15
WENATCHEE FC 17 11 5 4 2 23 28 -5
YAKIMA UNITED FC 12 11 3 5 3 24 26 -2
SEATTLE STARS FC 12 10 3 4 3 16 21 -5
OLYMPIC FORCE 9 10 3 7 0 22 31 -9
BELLINGHAM UNITED FC 0 9 0 9 0 8 35 -27
Before / After: Before the big match and after a long ride from Spokane, Shadow players stretch and cool in the locker room at Doc Harris stadium in Camas. (Club photo)

Vancouver Victory FC 0-2 Spokane Shadow

Jesse Retan (right) scored the winning goal fo the Shadow in Camas.
Jesse Retan (right) scored the winning goal fo the Shadow in Camas. (Gerald Barnhart)

CAMAS, WA— It was also near 100 degrees in Camas on the pitch when the Victory and Shadow kicked off in match between two clubs that held their own destiny in the race to finish atop the EPLWA table. It was scoreless at the half but then the Shadow continued both clubs’ recent trends with two goals and another win.

Despite seeing recent goal scorers Karl Muelheims and Chance Bukoski come off in first half with injuries the Shadow persevered and battled to a 2-0 win that gives Spokane, with games in hand, sole control in the title race, which was also aided Saturday night with Sunday’s opponent Yakima getting a 1-1 draw at league-leading South Sound. Jesse Retan put Spokane ahead with a first-time volley on a cross from Avi Singh and he also created the second goal, putting Anthony Mota on a run to beat keeper. Mota won the challenge and then knocked the loose ball over the line.

Vancouver is now winless in its last four as they continue to slip. The Shadow are surging as they hold the keys to repeating as EPLWA champions.

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