Shadow News Release - Sunday, July 16, 2017
The Northwest Premier League Semifinal featuring the Spokane Shadow Women's First Team has been scheduled for Sunday, July 23 at 5:00 pm at the Spokane Polo Grounds. The defending champions will play host to third-seeded Washington Timbers. Meanwhile, Shadow 2 wrapped up their Evergreen Premier League campaign this week with a win and a narrow loss against a title contender.
On Wednesday Shadow 2 put a dent in a late-season run for title contention for the visiting South Sound Shock with a 2-1 victory and nearly did the same Saturday against Bellingham United before falling 3-2 on a controversial deciding goal.
Despite arguably having the better of play in the first half Wednesday, a ball bouncing around near the edge of the area in first half stoppage time allowed the Shock to grab the lead when Isidro Prado-Huerta knocked it home midway through the added three minutes from a water break.
Earlier in the half, the Shadow nearly took the lead in the 21st minute when Brayden Sullivan launched a perfect ball from midfield to the foot of Chase Reidt in the box. Reidt created a bit of separation from the defender for a shot, but goalkeeper Mike Arguello tipped it narrowly wide of the post.
Fourteen minutes into the second half the Shadow pulled even when a ball from Jackson Moore gave JD Hauenstein a little space inside the left side of the box. He quickly fired from 14 yards to level the score.
Eight minutes later it looked like Shadow 2 were going in front when Reidt stole the ball from a defender at the right touchline and drove into the box. He dished it off to Sullivan, who quickly sent it onto Eric Espinoza, who was flying up the center of the box. With the keeper exposed, the goal looked certain, but his effort rolled past the outside of the right post.
Espinoza, though, would make up for the missed opportunity with a moment of brilliance in the 82nd when a foul against Hauenstein about 30 yards out on the left side set up a free kick opportunity. Espinoza fired a perfectly-placed effort into the far upper corner out of the keeper's reach.
Alex Pells did well in goal for Spokane, handling several well-paced efforts that came his way and managed a back line that limited further opportunities in the second half.
On Saturday, the lads found themselves trailing by two after 22 minutes following a pair goals in a two-minute span. An error from fill-in goalkeeper Nick Hamer allowed the Hammers to get on the board when Taylor Allan claimed the ball and found some space to tally. Moments later the visitors on a header at midfield on a long ball out of the back. The header created a break on goal that saw Richard Henderson feed centerback and former Shadow FT standout Brady Ulen as he charged forward. Ulen drove to goal and finished.
In the second half the Shadow rallied in a similar back-to-back pair of goals. A run by Tyler Smith with the ball into the box resulted with a penalty when the keeper Owen Davis-Bower brought him down after missing the ball on the striker's move. The referee, though, did not issue a card on the play, leaving the sides level following Espinoza's conversion from the spot to pull within one on the scoreboard in the 79th minute. The Whitworth standout created the equalizer moments later as well we he beat a defender in the left corner of the box and drove to goal. The first shot was stopped, but the rebound found its way back to Espinoza, who lofted a ball across the six to Hauenstein, for a header into the wide open goal from a few yards out in the 80th.
Bellingham would grab the win in the 87th on a strike from Brandon Wright, who stopped a ball that was being cleared with his chest and arm that appeared to be away from his torso. No handball was called and he quickly struck the ball into the goal for victory, to keep Bellingham with three points of league-leading Seattle, which also won on the weekend, in what is now a two-team race for the title.
Spokane finished tied with Seattle Stars atop the league table on record, but are the second seed based on tiebreakers having fallen to the Stars during the campaign. The Shadow will host Washington Timbers in the NWPL Semifinal. The third-seeded Timbers blanked Yakima United 4-0 in the quarterfinals Saturday. Seattle will play host to fourth-seeded Fuerza FC, who topped Washington Premier South Sound 2-0 Saturday.
The NWPL Championship will be hosted Saturday, July 29 by the highest remaining seed.