The Evergreen Premier League 2016 season is underway and two sides that scored plenty of goals indoors over the winter brought their offenses with them as things moved outdoors.
Cover photo: Bridge Mafia supporters travel to Bellingham in support of Wenatchee FC.
SEATTLE STARS 1-4 OLYMPIC FORCE
KENT, WA— The Olympic Force (1-0-0) were down 1-0 but certainly not out as they showed with a late barrage of goals in a 4-1 win over the Seattle Stars (0-1-0) at French Field in Kent on Sunday night.
Tyler Bjork has moved south but brought his scoring boots with him. The all-time EPLWA leading goal scorer notched his first strike for Seattle Stars FC to give the home side a 1-0 lead in the first half. Bjork now has 21 goals in his EPLWA career, the first 20 coming when he led Bellingham United in goals 2014-2015.
The Force got level before the half when Miles Nilsen assisted on the equalizer scored by Clint Absher.
Kyle Johnson took control for Olympic in the late stages, assisting on a 76th-minute goal from Diego Aceves that proved to be the Force winner. Olympic continued their assault when Graham Davidson crossed a ball that Izzy Deluna delivered into the back of the Seattle net to make it 3-1. Johnson capped off his night with a goal of his own in the 87th minute from Bennett Bugbee. The Force won going away, 4-1.
Next up for the Force is a first-place battle with Bellingham United in Bellingham on May 8th. Seattle Stars host South Sound May 8 in Kent.
BELLINGHAM UNITED 4-2 WENATCHEE FC
BELLINGHAM, WA— The Western Indoor Soccer League (WISL) champion Hammers (1-0-0) jumped into league play just like the club they beat in the indoor final (Force) did – with four goals and a win—this one over the Capitals of Wenatchee (0-1-0). It all happened before 452 fans (including a Bridge Mafia traveling support group) on a sunny afternoon at Civic Stadium.
Nick Cashmere, also a powerhouse indoors, scored a brace for Bellingham. It was already 3-0 for the Hammers at halftime.
Right before the ten minute mark BUFC opened the scoring as Richard Henderson beat the Wenatchee left back to the end line and played a perfectly weighted ball to the back post for Oscar Jimenez to calmly slot into the back of the net.
The next twenty minutes there was a lot of action in the middle of the park, but neither team really had a clear scoring opportunity. That was until in the 32nd minute a ball was played out wide to Nick Cashmere, who took the ball to the end line and cut the ball back for Kurtis Pederson who crushed the ball into the lower right corner of the net.
The third goal of the game was scored by Cashmere, in the 41st minute. The half would end in a flurry of shots on goal from Wenatchee. Liddle made a save on a hard shot giving up a long rebound- a Wenatchee midfielder connected really well with the ball and it looked as if WFC had scored but Uche Ugwoaba was there to save the ball off the line.
The score remained 3-0 until the 61st minute when Cashmere capitalized on a rebound to make the score 4-0. Wenatchee tallied a goal in the 75th minute breaking the clean sheet when Adan Martinez scored.
In the 84th minute a penalty kick was awarded to Wenatchee. Liddle read the kick well, but there was just too much power behind the shot from Edwin Tinoco.
Bellingham hosts Olympic on May 8 while Wenatchee comes home to the Apple Bowl May 8 to host central Washington rivals Yakima United.
YAKIMA UNITED 0-0 SPOKANE SHADOW
YAKIMA, WA—Shadow (0-1-0) goalkeeper Raymond Ruano and Yakima (0-1-0) netminder Jacob Rhodes made things difficult for attacking players on the day as the two long-time rivals battled to a scoreless stalemate.
The result extends Spokane’s current unbeaten run to 12 games (10-0-2) and added yet another tally on its unblemished EPLWA road record, which now stands at 12-0-3 after going 6-0-1 in their first two campaigns on the road.
Both teams had a chance in the final minute of the first half. Yakima got an open look on the right side hit the side-netting. At the other end a Yakima defender nearly chipped his own goalkeeper from a mere five yards away, but Rhodes got enough of it to be able to collect it the loose ball.
The second half proved to be a more methodical period as both sides continually pressed to find chances that proved to limited.
Spokane hosts Vancouver on Saturday May 7 while Yakima United travels to Wenatchee on May 8.
SOUTH SOUND 1-2 VANCOUVER VICTORY
LAKEWOOD, WA— South Sound FC (0-1-0) and Vancouver Victory (1-0-0) have finished 2-3 in the table both years of EPLWA play. On the pitch though the Shock had run off four straight wins over the Victory. On Sunday at Harry Lang Stadium two guys who will soon be leaving for the USL came through as V2FC finally beat South Sound, 2-1.
JJ Schmeck gave the Shock a 1-0 lead in the 20th minute. The streak seemed ready to continue. But then Quamie Dinnall scored just before halftime to boost Vancouver. Then in the 76th minute a free kick from Timur Zhividze looped over the South Sound wall and found the back of the net for the V2FC winner.
“Today was a good Victory day,” says team owner Barrett Goddard. “We traveled with about 30 supporters and they were rewarded with a nice win by the guys. I have a lot of respect for Coach Adam Becker (South Sound) and his guys. This is our first win against them in five games. So we accomplished something today. It’s a good start for us.”
Zhividze and Dinnall are slated to travel to North Carolina to join the Charlotte Eagles of the USL as they seek to further their careers in soccer.
Victory head coach Aaron Lewis will be tasked with finding new talent as current stars move on. For now, he’s just happy to win his opener.
“We have a lot of respect for South Sound and what they have accomplished in recent years,” says Lewis. “Earning three points on the road, against a quality opponent, is a fantastic way to get some positive momentum heading into a challenging EPLWA schedule.”
Vancouver remains on the road next week as they travel to Spokane on May 7. South Sound will head up I-5 to Kent to play Seattle Stars on May 8.