SPOKANE, WA— The Vancouver Victory (2-0-0) stopped two-time defending EPLWA champion Spokane’s (0-1-1) unbeaten streak at 11 with a record-breaking 3-0 win at the Shadow’s 2016 home opener.
The Shadow, who have never lost a road match, have a history of early-season home defeats. The last time Spokane lost a league match was on May 16, 2015 when Vancouver visited Spokane Falls Stadium and came away with a 2-0 win. Since then the Shadow had run off a streak of 11 league matches without a loss. Now Vancouver has created bookends to that accomplishment. It was the largest margin of defeat in the Shadow’s three EPLWA seasons. It is the first time Spokane has been shutout in back-to-back matches.
Earlier in the day the Shadow Women of the NWPL won big. The doubleheader drew 732 fans.
“Today was very rewarding for our club,” says V2FC owner Barrett Goddard. “Spokane is a very good side so anytime you can get three points from them you have played well and accomplished something. I thought our coach Aaron Lewis did a masterful job putting together this lineup and putting key pieces of the right places for tonight’s match. Our veteran guys all played lights out and our new younger guys brought positive energy and flow to the match. We have some nice things to build off of from this win.”
The Victory struck for their first goal in the 7th minute on a loose ball in the box. The Shadow hung tough for the remainder of the first half, and would ultimately out-shoot Vancouver 9-7 in the full 90 minutes. However, it was the Victory’s night, finishing the game with 3 shots on goal and 3 goals.
Vancouver opened the scoring in the seventh minute when Armando Guevara pounced on a loose ball in front of the Spokane goal to score from 3 yards out. The goal came after a corner kick that Spokane failed to clear.
Vancouver used high-pressure and ball possession to control good portions of the match until halftime. The Victory had three more good scoring chances in the first half but could not capitalize on them. The Shadow had two good chances to score in the first half on counterattacks off of Victory mistakes in the midfield but also could not find the back of the net. Victory goalie Arne Niermann made two excellent back to back saves on the same sequence during one attack in the first half.
The Shadow take the pitch for their 2016 Home Opener.
Victory midfielder Ben Culpan lofted a 40 yard free kick that was bending inside the far post of the goal deep into the Shadow penalty box. A Spokane defender got a head on the ball but could not keep it from going in. Officially scored as an own goal, it put the Victory up 2-0 in the 69th minute.
Vancouver closed out the scoring in the 91st minute when forward Elvis Pavon sprinted in behind the last Shadow defender at midfield to chase down a long ball cleared out of the Victory end. Pavon struck a volley on the first bounce from long range, catching the Spokane goalkeeper off of his line for the final tally of 3-0.
V2FC head coach Aaron Lewis was pleased but pragmatic about the result. “This group of players managed this opportunity professionally, and deserves a ton of credit for embracing their roles. While we are pleased with our start, we recognize that this game is only one hurdle to our goal of winning the league.”
Spokane Shadow 0-3 Vancouver Victory
Armando Guevara (Elvis Pavon) 7
Own goal 69 [curling free kick by Vancouver’s Ben Culpan from 45 yards headed in)
Elvis Pavon 91
Shutout: Arne Niermann