(Shadow release) The defending Evergreen Premier League champion Spokane Shadow (8-1-2) embark on a two-game road trip this weekend that will play a large factor in the team’s bid to repeat as league champions. Needing five points in its final three games to accomplish the feat, the Shadow visit the Seattle Stars in Everett (Goddard Stadium, Mariner HS) Saturday afternoon and then face Bellingham United (Civic Stadium) 24 hours later. Both games are at 3:00 pm.
Though the opposing sides come into the weekend as the bottom two in the league at a combined 3-15-4, both could present difficulties. The Stars were one of the teams to previously take points off the Shadow, rallying for a 1-1 draw in Spokane’s second game of the season. Previously pointless, Bellingham stunned everyone by rallying twice for a 2-2 draw on the road last week against second-place South Sound, significantly damaging the Shock’s hopes of winning the title.
In their first meeting this season, Spokane had the better of play against Seattle in the first half but could only muster a 32nd minute penalty converted by Sam Engle. A flat performance in the second half allowed the Stars to tie the match through Peiman Alessandro in the 78th.
A month ago the Shadow surprisingly found themselves trailing the Hammers when Tyler Bjork found Carlos Badillo in the 33rd. Karl Muelheims tied it up in the 41st on a ball from Chance Bukoski, who put the hosts in front in the 56th. Halvor Mikkelsen and Jesse Retan added goals in the 59 and 72nd for a 4-1 win.
Spokane heads into the road trip with six consecutive wins and are unbeaten in the last eight (7-0-1). The team will be without the services of two suspended players versus Seattle as Kyle Higgins was issued a red card last week in a 2-1 home win versus Wenatchee and Brady Ulen is out for caution accumulation, having received one in each of the last three games.
The second match of the trip has plenty of meaning for five Shadow players heading out on the trip. Bellingham is the hometown for Whitworth’s David Starkovich and Spencer Wolfe. The town is also home to Western Washington University where junior Derek Zimmerman heads into his second year with the Vikings this fall. He will be joined by Shadow teammates Adam Talley and Brady Ulen, who are transferring from North Idaho College.
In the title race, the Shadow currently sit second to South Sound (8-1-4) by two points, but have two games in hand. The Shock are idle this week with most of the squad participating in the U23 USASA National Championship tournament in Virginia Beach, VA. The team, with leading scorers on loan from EPLWA rivals Vancouver Victory (Timur Zhividze) and Wenatchee FC (Eleazar Galvan), is representing EPLWA well and has already advanced to the semifinals with a pair of dominating wins on Friday versus a pair of teams from the northeast.
About the Opposition: Seattle Stars
The Stars started off well this season with a 2-1-1 record that included the draw in Spokane. Since then, the team has slowly fallen down the EPLWA table. They lost three straight before getting another win. The victory rekindled the team’s form as they are 1-1-2 in the last four, dropping their last game 1-0 in Yakima.
About the Opposition: Bellingham United
Though they only have one point this season, Bellingham has not been the easiest opponent for teams, getting the opening goal on quite a few occasions, including their match in Spokane. Last week against South Sound, the team rallied with late goals in each half to negate Shock leads. Kyle Witzel scored in the final minute of the first half and then again moments before the final whistle in stoppage time to earn the 2-2 draw. They were his first two goals of the season for the Hammers, who are led by four goals from Tyler Bjork.
Coming Up – July 25 – SEASON FINALE!
The Shadow return home to with a chance to play for or celebrate a league championship. Visiting will be league newcomer Olympic Force. The match kicks off at 7:00 pm at Spokane Falls CC Stadium.
Shadow Travel Pool for July 18 & 19 Road Trip
Baringer, Matt… UC-Davis
Bevans, Conner… Gonzaga University
Bukoski, Chance… Hawaii Pacific University
Cortez, Jonathan… CC Spokane / Moses Lake HS
Ferger, Dustin… Gonzaga University / East Valley HS
Hamer, Zack… Gonzaga University / Mead HS
Hauenstein, JD… Central Valley HS
Higgins, Kyle… UC-Davis
Mota, Anthony… University of Great Falls
Retan, Jesse… Whitworth University / Cheney HS
Shockman, Colin… Whitworth University / Mead HS
Singh, Avinash… Chaminade University
Srock, Jeff… Whitworth Univ, CC Spokane, Gonzaga Univ / Mt Spokane HS
Starkovich, David… Whitworth University
Talley, Adam… North Idaho College / East Valley HS
Tateishi, Kazuki… CC Spokane
Thompson, Ben… Univ of Redlands / Lewis & Clark HS
Ulen, Brady… North Idaho College / Post Falls HS
Watters, Tony… Whitworth University
Wolfe, Spencer… Whitworth University
Zimmerman, Derek… Western Washington Univ / Pasco HS