Vancouver Victory stake claim to top spot in EPLWA after week three

EPLWA Logo-07-600VANCOUVER, WA— Vancouver Victory lead the Evergreen Premier League after three weeks thanks to a 2-0 win over Bellingham United on Sunday at Harmony Sports Complex. The Victory are now 3-0-0 with 9 standings points while the Hammers of Bellingham drop to 2-1-0 with 6. Two-time EPLWA Champions Spokane Shadow won twice over the weekend to vault up to second place with 7 points.

Table updated through May 15, 2016

EVERGREEN PREMIER LEAGUE – 2016  Pts GP W L T GF GA GD
VANCOUVER VICTORY 9 3 3  0  0 7 1  +6
SPOKANE SHADOW 7  4  2  1  1  6 5 +1
SOUTH SOUND 6  4  2  2  0  8 6  +2
BELLINGHAM UNITED 6  3  2  1  0  7 5  +2
WENATCHEE FC 3  3  1  2  0  7 9  -2
OLYMPIC FORCE 3  3  1  2  0  5 7  -2
YAKIMA UNITED 2  3  0  1  2  3 6  -3
SEATTLE STARS 1  3  0  2  1  3 7  -4
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Arne Niermann clears the ball for Vancouver. (Nathan Goddard)

“Our group did a good job of never allowing Bellingham to get into an offensive flow,” says Vancouver head coach Aaron Lewis. “We are proud of the defensive identity we are building. With that said our players have to stay hungry for personal development over the next few weeks. We will encourage them to stretch themselves while being detailed in their approach.”

MATCH PHOTOS: by Nathan Goddard

Bellingham came out and controlled the first 15 minutes of play building a few attacks and having some possession in dangerous parts of the Vancouver side of the field but they struggled to generate dangerous shots on the Victory goal. One good Bellingham chance came 7 minutes in but the Hammer shot sailed wide. A minute later V2FC keeper Arne Niermann dove out on a ball at the 6 yard line and was kicked in the head by a Victory player who was trying to ward off an on-rushing Bellingham player. Niermann continued in the match and went on to post his second clean sheet in as many weeks.

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Victory celebrate 48th minute goal from Jesse Martin. (Nathan Goddard)

The Victory began to take control of the match 15 minutes into the first half and were rewarded with 9 shots (5 on goal) but it was still scoreless at the break.

Vancouver continued to press the attack and maintain possession. Victory attacker Jesse Martin collected a through ball 28 yards out, took two touches and drove a left footed shot, 22 yards out, past the Bellingham keeper to put the home side up 1-0 in the 48th minute.

The Victory doubled the score in the 67th minute when winger Iliya Zhividze was taken down just inside the corner of the penalty box. Midfielder Erick Urzua converted the PK to close out the scoring.

For the second game in a row, V2FC held a powerful opponent scoreless, which pleased Victory General Manager Barrett Goddard, “Today was a solid performance for the guys. We strive for a clean sheet every time we step on the field. It was great to get the shutout for Arne as his parents are visiting from Germany and came out to watch him play.”

Around the EPLWA

On Saturday South Sound FC beat Wenatchee FC 3-0 while Yakima United drew 1-1 at home with Seattle Stars FC. In Bremerton the Spokane Shadow shut out the Olympic Force 3-0.

On Sunday the league ramped up with two big matches. As described above, Vancouver took a 2-0 win over Bellingham. In the other contest the Spokane Shadow rallied from down 2-1 in the very late stages to claiming a wild 3-2 win over South Sound FC in Tacoma. The Shadow swept their weekend trip west and remain unbeaten all time on the road over three EPLWA seasons.

Read match recaps at EPLWA.com

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