KENT, WA— Seattle Stars FC beat Vancouver Victory FC 3-1 on Saturday night at French Field in Kent to remain in control at the top of the Evergreen Premier League. The Stars rode the hot foot of Tyler Bjork to the big win.
It was a battle of one versus two in the table. It was up and comers Seattle against the defending EPLWA Champion Victory. In the middle of it all was all-time EPLWA leading scorer Tyler Bjork. As he has done in the past so many times, Bjork rose to the occasion with two goals.
The Stars (7-1-2, 23 points) took the lead in the 4th minute on a free kick goal from Bjork (see video above.) Vancouver (5-3-2, 17 points) got even on a penalty kick conversion from Jesse Garcia in the 52nd minute (video.) Seattle then pulled away with a second goal from Bjork and a finisher from Alex Castillo.
Bjork’s 57th minute winner was started by a long ball straight up the middle. Vancouver’s keeper Trevor Wilson came to edge of the box. Bjork got a slight touch just before the box, through the legs of the keeper. He then avoided him and walked the ball in to the goal. Castillo’s goal was a diving header off of a crossbar rebound in the 72nd minute.
Bjork’s goals were his 12th and 13th of the season. Last year he set a league record with 14 goals in a campaign. He now has 4 matches to break it. For his career Tyler leads all players with 47 goals in EPLWA play.
The Stars were a middle to lower table club in their first three seasons of Evergreen Premier League play. This year has seen changes at the club: new crest, new kits, new players (some from UW Huskies), new General Manager in Steve Lynn, and a new attitude.
There were hints of a turn-around in the off season interview posted below, where Bjork and two teammates talked about the 2017 campaign. Bjork likes goals – but what he wanted most is wins. It’s all coming together for the Stars so far.
Seattle’s remaining schedule is: July 15 at Oly Town FC, July 16 at Olympic Force, July 22 WPSS Shock, July 29 at Vancouver Victory FC.
The Stars can clinch their first-ever EPLWA title with 33 points. They currently stand at 23. With the loss, Vancouver can only reach 29 points – and that is if they win out. Bellingham United, which have 5 matches to play, can reach 32 if they win out. The Hammers face WPSS Shock today at 3 PM at Bellingham’s Civic Stadium.