Road sweep puts Shadow in control of title race
Spokane blanked Vancouver Saturday 2-0, downed rival Yakima 2-1 on two-game road trip in sweltering temperatures

SPOKANE SHADOW NEWS RELEASE  --  Sunday, June 29, 2015

Despite leaving town, there was no escaping the extreme temperatures over the weekend as they permeated the entire state and slate of Evergreen Premier League matches. The Shadow, though, battled through the conditions to pick up a pair of victories, 2-0 in Vancouver Saturday and 2-1 in Yakima Sunday, that gave defending champion Spokane control in the chase for the 2015 league championship.

With a recorded (Vancouver, WA) temperature of 91 degrees and humidity at 46%, the Shadow took the field in Camas Saturday looking to avenge its only defeat this season and grab sole control over the title race with a Victory side that was in position to do the same. The Shadow had the better of possession in the first half, but the scoreless period was not uneventful with the team’s recent scoring contributors Chance Bukoski and Karl Muelheims both exiting with injuries. In addition, striker Adam Talley did not make the trip due to illness.

In the second half, however, Jesse Retan (pictured, left) became a critical component in the attack out of the midfield. Forward Anthony Mota connected with Avinash Singh, who beat a defender on the right side and served a ball across the area. Retan struck the ball first-time from about 15 yards out on the left side to put the Shadow in front in the 58th minute. It was the second consecutive game in which he scored.

Twelve minutes later Retan played the critical role in the Shadow’s second goal. After a turnover that left the defense exposed, he took the ball up the left side, which drew out the centerback and created a massive channel for Mota. Retan played the ball into the space on the left half of the box and the race was on between the striker and the charging goalkeeper. The two reached the ball simultaneously, resulting in a multi-deflected ball that hopped over the keeper toward the line. Mota was the first to the loose ball to knock it in for the second tally. It was also Mota’s second of the campaign.

The Shadow controlled things most of the way to the win, but Jeff Srock earned his shutout with a pair of fantastic saves on back-to-back plays in the 77th minute. A shot from inside the box was met with a nice reaction save, and a follow-up corner off of that play also elicited another quick denial by the keeper.

Yakima’s weather conditions were just as blistering Sunday (104 degrees, 15% humidity), but for the Shadow the biggest challenge was battling through a makeshift lineup with players in different roles and trudging through the infamous long grass of Marquette Stadium.

The Shadow enjoyed the better of play in the first half, though Yakima came the closest to getting the go-ahead goal. In the 37th minute a throw-in from the right side pings around inside the area before Jesse Esquivel finally gets a foot on it for Yakima. The ball deflects through goalkeeper Tony Watters somehow and goes toward goal, but dies quickly in the grass, allowing him to leap back and grasp it just before it crossed the line.

Once again on the trip it came down to a great second half performance. And with the depleted selections in the forward corps, coach Chad Brown inserted into the attack centerback Brady Ulen (pictured, right), who played forward some in high school and regularly contributes on set plays. He wasted no time helping put the Shadow on the board, flicking on a throw-in from Dustin Ferger and redirecting it to Bukoski, who collected it and turned to send a shot that curled into the upper corner from about 20 yards.

In the 68th minute, Matt Bray’s corner kick to the near post gave the Shadow a two-goal advantage. Matt Baringer rose up with the goalkeeper to meet the ball, and got the better of the exchange, nodding it down and over the line.

Yakima attempted to rally, but were only able to find the net once on a nice free kick. Noe Meza struck a 35-yard ball from the right side into the far upper corner out of Tony Watters’ reach in the 84th minute.

Coming Up – Home Game – July 11

The Spokane Shadow play host to Wenatchee FC. The Capitals are in the midst of a five-game unbeaten run (3-0-2). Spokane’s opening game of the season was an 8-2 victory at Wenatchee.

Scoring Summaries

Spokane Shadow 2 :: 0 Vancouver Victory

SPO: Jesse Retan (Avinash Singh) 58

SPO: Anthony Mota 70

Spokane Shadow 2 :: 1 Yakima United

SPO: Chance Bukoski (Brady Ulen) 47

SPO: Matt Baringer (Matt Bray) 68

YAK: Noe Meza 84