The reigning two-time league champion Shadow Men kept their unbeaten Evergreen Premier League status intact with a dramatic 3-2 comeback victory over Sound Sound, the club's fiercest championship challenger the past two years. Meanwhile, the Shadow Women's First Team fell 2-1 in a surprising loss, their first defeat of the inaugural Northwest Premier League season.
Shadow WFT 1 :: 2 South Sound
The Shadow nearly took the lead 16 minutes in when Kasey Rubosky put Tiara Pittman-Thomas behind the defense, but the striker's effort was parried over the bar by Takara Matsui. Five minutes later a debated penalty called against Jacqueline Hamby led to South Sound's opening tally by Hanna Massee. The goal marked the first time in three games the Shadow women trailed in a match.
At the half-hour mark, though, Spokane pulled even on a fantastic individual effort from Sarah Cox. After Hamby cut off a pass, she quickly fed Cox, who drove out of midfield for 20 yards versus three defenders. As she crossed into the box she fired from about 17 yards inside the right post.
A nice shot from 22 yards by Sound's Jamie Hoffman, however, put The Shock back in front in the 36th despite the Shadow having a majority of possession and significant advantage in chances.
Early in the second half, the hosts nearly pushed the lead to two when Emily Hanna fired a nice 35 yard shot from the right side that smacked off the crossbar in the 56th minute.
The Shadow, though, continued to have the better of play in the second half, and had several shouts for penalties that went unheard by the officials, but the multitude of chances went agonizingly unfinished.
Tasha Luu made a great run in the 54th in which she forged through two defenders, battling shoulder-to-shoulder inside the box for nearly 10 yards looking to muscle her way through, but was unable to get off a clean shot at the edge of the six.
With seven minutes remaining a Karley Baggerly cross found Kellie Zakrzewsky at the far post but, but her excellent first-time strike back across the goal to the left post squeaked just beyond the woodwork.
Despite the result against the South Sound women, who had not played the day before like the Shadow or the Shock men's side, the Shadow remain in first in the league with a 3-1-0 record, but Sound Sound is second with and unbeaten 2-0-1 mark and Fuerza is also unbeaten at 1-0-1.
SS: Hanna Massee (penalty) 21
SPO: Sarah Cox (Jacqueline Hamby) 30
SS: Jamie Hoffman 36
Shadow MFT 3 :: 2 South Sound
In a wild back-and-forth contest, it was the final five minutes that featured plenty of fireworks. Down 2-1, Joel Duncan and Fernando Alvarez scored to keep the club's unbeaten EPLWA road status alive at 14-0-3 through three seasons of play.
As the clock wound into stoppage time Michael Malloy chipped a ball from the left side across the box for a close-range tap-in by Duncan. About three minutes into indicated four minutes of stoppage time a ball out of midfield by Brady Ulen drew goalkeeper Evan Munn out to punch it away, but Alvarez won the challenge and nodded it over the keeper and off the bar. Unsure if it crossed the line, Drew Williams charged in and buried it to leave no doubt had the referees not seen it cross the line, which Williams confirmed it had done.
Spokane took the lead in the 19th minute on some nice play. Alvarez and Jesse Retan had a great bit of interchange deep in the right corner before before Retan sent the ball across the area. It was a bit too short for Chris Chertude to get to on the other side but the midfielder moments later was able to gain possession along the touchline and deliver a ball into the six, where Williams headed it home.
It was an up and down game for Tony Watters in goal for the Shadow. He made a great save on a swerving 28 yard shot in the sixth minute, but he misjudged a long free kick that bounced in the box. He and Kelly Kyllo attempted to chase it down before it crossed the line but came inches shy. The score from Cody Crook put the game on even terms a minute before intermission.
Thirteen minutes into the second half Duncan nearly put Spokane back in front with a shot from 20 yards that Munn parried away with a nice stop.
Two minutes later the hosts grabbed the lead on a nice shot from JJ Schmeck, who collected a clearance on the right side and fired from the outer right corner of the area to out the Shock in front 2-1.
Over the next 10 minutes the Shadow nearly pulled even with two great chances. Chertude got around the left side of the defense and made a run to goal in the 63rd, but his shot near post was nicely saved. In the 69th a ball into the right side of the box was flicked on by Alvarez into the six, but Williams surprisingly out the close range effort off the underside of the bar before it was cleared away.
It looked like the game was over in the 75th when the referee blew the whistle for a foul in the area and pointed to the spot. After a lengthy debate Watters denied Schmeck's effort, diving to make a great save that literally saved the club's realistic hopes of a rally to tie, let alone win.
The weekend's pair of wins vaulted the Shadow to second in the table at 2-1-1, sitting two points back of unbeaten Vancouver at 3-0-0 and just ahead of South Sound (2-2-0) and Bellingham (2-1-0).
SPO: Drew Williams (Chris Chertude) 19
SS: Cody Crook 44
SS: JJ Schmeck 60
SPO: Joel Duncan (Michael Malloy) 90
SPO: Fernando Alvarez (Brady Ulen) 93+