SPOKANE SHADOW NEWS RELEASE -- Monday, July 27, 2015
The now two-time reigning Evergreen Premier League champion Spokane Shadow finished off another fantastic season Saturday night in their Season Finale and Championship Celebration with a bang, using a first-half hat-trick from Adam Talley to soar past the visiting Olympic Force in a 5-1 win prior to enjoying the post-game awards presentations they locked up the week prior on the road.
In the biggest offensive output since their season opening 8-2 win at Wenatchee, the excitement for the 718 fans in attendance began early when it looked like Chance Bukoski was going to score nine minutes in. Zack Hamer drove up the middle, splitting three converging defenders before dishing the ball off to Bukoski, whose shot rose over the goal.
Four minutes later, however, the hosts grabbed the lead with the first of four goals from Talley. Hamer against set the play up, receiving the ball at the top of the box and slipping a slight diagonal ball toward his left, finding Talley cutting toward the middle of the box. With some space in front of him he easily put it past goalkeeper Spencer Miele for the opener.
Talley doubled the advantage in the 24th on a turnover deep in the offensive end. With possession behind the defense he drove to goal, beating the keeper with ease and finishing into the empty net.
“I thought the game went very well,” said Talley after the match. “We wanted to come out aggressive and we had some good combinations that opened up through ball and we really made them pay.”
Bukoski nearly pushed the lead to three when driving toward the goal in the 31st, but a defender closed on him just in time to disrupt his shot.
Two minutes later, the visitors were celebrating at the other end following a nice shot from Roland Demombynes, who utilized a little space he had 36 yards out to let loose a shot that found the upper right corner well out of goalkeeper Jeff Srock’s reach.
That was it for the Force though, and just before the break Talley restored the two-goal advantage with his third of the night in the 45th minute. A long ball forward from Brady Ulen put Talley on a run to goal. His initial well-paced shot was stopped by the keeper, but the rebound banged off a nearby defender and right back in his path for a second-chance finish.
“I think our character came through again tonight as it has all season long,” head coach Chad Brown said of the contest. “We were the better side for a majority of the game, but felt we got a little sloppy after we went up two-nil. I think we gave up a soft goal, I say that because we missed the tackle in midfield twice. The kid hit a great shot, but was soft and lax on our part.”
“The guys obviously fixed it at halftime and did a great job of doing the right things, which opened Olympic Force up. Talley was clearly man of the match for all of his goals. But the team showed why they are champions.”
A corner kick in the 64th minute led to the only non-Talley goal of the night. Dustin Ferger’s ball into the middle of the box from the left side was met by the head of Halvor Mikkelsen, who nodded it back to the left post where Kyle Higgins tapped it in from a yard out to give the team a three-goal margin and fifth four-goal performance of the year.
The Shadow capped the game with a fantastic team goal in the 76th. Defender Ben Thompson drove forward up the right side and sent the ball toward the right outer corner of the area to Higgins, who quickly gave to Hamer cutting diagonally through the area from the middle toward the right post. From a sharp angle Hamer sent the ball through the six to the far post where Talley dashed in and ruffled the back of the net once more, giving him the best goal tally in a single game this season in the league by a player. Talley finished the season tied for second in the league at eight goals with Yakima’s Hector Valdovinos. Wenatchee’s Eleazar Galvan had 11.
Several other players had chances on the night. In the 17th, Matt Baringer launched a shot from 22 yards that just missed the mark in one of several looks he had at goal on the night. Hamer put a shot off the crossbar in the 73rd and Bukoski had a few chances go for naught.
“I couldn't be more proud to be part of such a great group of guys,” Brown said of the season. “I learned a lot from the group as a coach and hope they had a positive experience and were able to grow as a player throughout the process.
“The hardest part for me is the man management. We have so many guys coming and going throughout the course of the year. I'm not sure I started the same 11 in consecutive games all season. If I did it wasn't very consistent, which makes it even more impressive, in my mind, that the guys were able to do what they did.”
“We lost several key guys in about a week to two-week span,” he added about some of the challenges, referring to season-ending injuries to a handful of players during the trip to Vancouver and Yakima at the end of June and in training the week after.
“It didn't matter who was in the lineup or on the travel roster. Whoever stepped in took advantage of their opportunity. We also had great commitment from several guys who travelled on their own for the second game on back-to-back away weekends. This allowed us to get fresh legs for the second game of the weekend.”
In the end, the 2015 Shadow, 11-1-2, finished with a better record than last year’s 10-2-2 squad and outscored the previous champions 39-36. Last year’s squad allowed two fewer goals, but both finished with a goals-against average of less than one per game while also both going unbeaten on the road with identical 6-0-1 records.
Both teams also finished their seasons on lengthy unbeaten streaks. A year ago the Shadow went 10-0-2 after losing its first two. This year, Spokane was 10-0-1 in its last 11 with a nine-game win streak to wrap it up.
With South Sound playing to a draw Sunday, the Shadow won the title by six points and finished alone as the league leaders in shutouts with five.
Up Next – Youth: Northwest Cup Tournaments
Many of the youth club’s teams are already participating in tournaments, but the focus turns to the Northwest Cup, an annual event hosted by Spokane SC Shadow at Plantes Ferry Sports Complex featuring brackets from U10 to U19. The event is comprised of a Girls’ Tournament the weekend of August 7-9 and a Boys’ Tournament the following week, August 14-16.
Olympic Force 1 :: 5 Spokane Shadow
SPO: Adam Talley (Zack Hamer) 13
SPO: Adam Talley 24
OLY: Roland Demombynes 33
SPO: Adam Talley 45
SPO: Kyle Higgins (Halvor Mikkelsen) 64
SPO: Adam Talley (Zack Hamer) 76
Other EPLWA Results - Sunday
South Sound 1-1 Wenatchee
Yakima 2-3 Vancouver
Seattle 2-5 Bellingham