Shadow WFT Finishes Regular Season Tied for First, Playoff Bound

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


For the second consecutive season, the Shadow Women’s First Team finished their regular season Northwest Premier League campaign with just one loss, downing visiting Yakima United 5-2 Saturday at SFCC and Fuerza FC 2-1 Sunday at the Polo Grounds. Saturday's NPSL finale for the Shadow Men's First Team also went well as they rolled to a 13-2 win against Pierce County. 

The results give the ladies a 9-1-0 record going into the postseason and gave them 20 wins in two seasons. After a bye this weekend, the ladies will return to play in Spokane the weekend of July 22-23 (date/venue TBA) against the highest remaining seed from the quarterfinals. 

In the meantime, Shadow 2 will finish up their campaign in the Evergreen Premier League. They host South Sound Shock Wednesday evening at 5:00 and Bellingham United, featuring former Shadow defender Brady Ulen, on Saturday. Both games are at the Polo Grounds. 

On a blazing hot day Saturday at Spokane Falls CC Stadium where the temperature on the turf rose into triple digits for the tripleheader, the Shadow First Teams registered victories in two of three contests on the day. After a 3-0 Shadow 2 loss to Yakima United in the opener, the Women’s First Team took the pitch and put Spokane back on the winning track with a 5-2 victory in the Northwest Premier League. 

The game started a tad dicey as league-leading scorer Lauryn Peters stole the ball off a Shadow centerback and, all alone with the keeper to beat, finished the chance with a nice shot for the lead in the 23rd. The advantage only lasted five minutes though as Emmy Moore finished a corner from Meaghan Bare to tie it up. Hailey Tucker gave Spokane the lead in the 52nd but the Hoppers replied when Kaley Roberts struck a long looping shot that dropped in under the bar. 

Spokane, though, ran off three unanswered for the win with a lot of excellent work from Havana Johnson. She scored the first in the 76th and the final goal in the 90th. Katie Bischoff also scored in the 80th in her first appearance of the season. 

Despite heading toward the victory, the postseason positioning was sealed with about 20 minutes remaining in the contest when Seattle Stars wrapped up a 1-0 result against third-place Washington Timbers. That locked the Shadow into the second spot and a bye to the semifinals in the NWPL postseason.  

With playoff positioning locked in from the previous day's results, head coach Kevin Moon put forth a starting squad comprised entirely of Shadow youth products. Additionally, four of the six in reserve on the bench were are are current youth products of the Shadow / Spokane Sounders. 

Despite some early Shadow forays near the Fuerza goal, the visitors - fresh from not playing the day prior as the Shadow ladies had - got on the board first 10 minutes into the contest when Karin Heisen found the back of the net. 

Spokane rebounded with back-to-back goals later in the half that would hold for the victory under the blazing sun. After several attempts in the box for the Shadow in the 32nd minute Fuerza cleared the ball away. However, the ball went to McKenna Stocker (Concordia / CV HS), who launched a long ball from the left side back toward the far side of the six where Havana Johnson (Lake City HS) was on hand to put it away. 

A minute later, shortly after the kick off, defender Tiara Pajimola drove forward with the ball and the former Whitworth and Shadle striker let loose from about 40 yards, connecting for what stood as the game-winner. 

Goalkeeper Ashlyn Juul (Northwest U / Mead HS) had an excellent day in goal. In the sixth minute it looked like Fuerza was going to score from a long free kick, but she tipped it over the bar. She made a similar tip-save over the bar again on a long shot in the 34th minute to maintain the recently acquired lead. 

The visitors nearly tied the contest up in the late stages when a slight handball in the box resulted in a penalty, but the attempt went high and wide right of the goal. 

Spokane’s win put them level with Seattle Stars at 9-1-0, but the Stars held the tiebreaker for the top playoff spot and regular season title based on their victory against Spokane at Whitworth. Fuerza was also locked into their playoff spot - fourth - regardless of the result. The only thing at stake on the day was the final playoff berth, which Yakima held onto by courtesy of winless NCW Alliance (Wenatchee) registering their first win of the year against Olympic Force on the road in a spoiler. 

Spokane’s record now for two seasons in the NWPL is 20-2-0, a tally that is nearly double the number of victories of the Seattle Stars (11-5-6) and Washington Premier South Sound Shock (11-6-5) that are second in the number of victories. 

Final NWPL Table
#Seattle Stars  9-1-0... 27 pts
#Spokane Shadow  9-1-0... 27 
^Washington Timbers  6-3-1... 19
^Fuerza FC  5-5-0... 15
^WPSS Shock  5-5-0... 15
^Yakima United  3-5-1... 10
Olympic Force  2-6-2... 8
Twin City Union  2-7-1... 7 
NCW Alliance 1-8-1… 4 
^ Top six advance to playoffs / # Top two receive byes to semifinals

Quarterfinal Playoff Match-Ups:  Yakima United @ Washington Timbers & WPSS Shock @ Fuerza FC 

The Shadow Men’s First Team finally found their finishing touch, but it came in their last match of their debut NPSL season. Drew Williams scored four goals in the contest for the Shadow with Jesse Retan netting two plus an assist in their contest against a short-handed Pierce County squad. 

Scoring Summaries

Saturday - Yakima United 2-5 Spokane Shadow Women’s First Team
YAK: Lauryn Peters 23
SPO: Emmy Moore (Meaghan Bare) 28
SPO: Hailey Tucker (Katie Bischoff) 52
YAK: Kaley Roberts 65
SPO: Havana Johnson (Marissa Mykines) 76
SPO: Katie Bischoff 80
SPO: Havana Johnson (Paige Malm) 90 

Sunday - Fuerza FC 1-2 Spokane Shadow Women's First Team
FUE: Karin Heisin 10
SPO: Havana Johnson (McKenna Stocker) 32
SPO: Tiara Pajimola 33 

Saturday - Pierce County 2-13 Spokane Shadow Men’s First Team
SPO: Drew Williams (Jackson Moore) 9
SPO: Kyle Morris 17
SPO: Kelly Kyllo (Jesse Retan) 19
SPO: Eric Espinoza (Kelly Kyllo) 24
SPO: Chase Reidt (Eric Espinoza) 33
PC: Rainer Schlekewey 34
SPO: Drew Williams (JD Hauenstein) 47
PC: Ettore Ballestracci (Diego Zannoni) 49
SPO: Jackson Moore 65
SPO: Jesse Retan (Johny Cortez) 66
SPO: Drew Williams (Tyler Smith) 69
SPO: Drew Williams 72
SPO: Johny Cortez 77
SPO: Jesse Retan (Nick Hamer) 83
SPO: Johny Cortez (Berrick Rastok) 85

Saturday - Yakima United 3-0 Spokane Shadow 2 
YAK: Alex Molchan (Eliseo Montiel) 38
YAK: Ramon Ayala (Ryan Utz) 70
YAK: Cesar Rodriguez (Adrien Espinoza) 85