Monthly Archives: July 2014
“The First Touch,” Anthem Media’s locally produced documentary series about Lane United FC, is now posted in one place on the LUFC website. More episodes are still to come, but if you wanted to grab some popcorn, sit back and watch almost everything that happened to the club between January and June of this year, you could now do it instead of having to hunt far and wide for the individual installments. A big shout out has to go to Anthem for producing such an excellent series on the club. Enjoy!
Watch the series at http://www.laneunitedfc.com/the-first-touch. Below is a preview of the excellent fifth episode.
LUFC – The First Touch | Episode 5 | The Calm and The Storm from Anthem Media on Vimeo.
Lane United FC finished off its season on a high note, beating the Vancouver (WA) Victory 2-0 in a friendly match in front of an appreciative home crowd in Springfield. The Reds comprehensively outplayed their opponents from the Evergreen Premier League, an amateur summer league comprised of teams within the state of Washington. In the end, the shot count was 23-5 in Lane United’s favor, and they had also enjoyed the vast majority of possession. Head coach John Galas, taking advantage of the expanded number of substitutions under the exhibition-match rules, by the end had trotted out Max Hawes, Ian Malony, Pipo Peralt and several other players who trained with the club all season but had seen limited or no playing time in the league campaign. It was a relaxed, festive atmosphere and the teams will both benefit from the match — Lane United from the morale boost and Vancouver from the chance to play against sturdier opposition than they normally face in their home league.
The first half flew by as Lane United held almost all of the possession, much of it in the opposition half. The Reds only forced one save out of Vancouver goalkeeper Jordan Farr, although they had several decent attempts go narrowly wide from just outside the penalty area. The best chance of the half fell with the last touch before halftime, when Pablo Gil beat his marker to the near post on a corner and flicked a header inches over the bar from six yards. In the second half, the Reds benefited from an own-goal by a Victory defender to open the scoring in the 57th minute, though in reality all the credit for the goal might as well go to Daley Stevens. He sliced through a static Vancouver defense from left-back and zipped a low cross in from the side of the penalty area; it might have been headed for Khiry Shelton but a recovering Vancouver defender redirected it into his own net anyway.
Shelton got in on a breakaway only a minute later but his attempt to lob the incredibly long-armed Farr was denied. Edgar Gomez soon after swung a shot just wide of the right post, then Josep Baldovî capped off the scoring with a smooth finish in the 67th minute. Again, a fullback, this time Ryan Trutner on the right, beat multiple players on the dribble and slid in a cross. Gomez looked like he might be the first to reach it but the ball rolled past him and straight to Baldo, who sidefooted the ball into the left side of the net for what is, incredibly, his first goal of the season.
The match ebbed to a close after that, with a few more chances falling Lane United’s way, including when Stevens again darted in from fullback and tried to score himself, forcing a great save from an outstretched Farr at the far post. After the match, the players and the fans saluted each other for excellent commitment on both sides. Galas said that he “couldn’t be more pleased with the win” as the final chapter to the 2014 season.
Lane United FC finished its inaugural PDL season with a 1-0 loss at home to the Portland Timbers U23s. As in the first contest between these two on July 1, Dennis Castillo scored Portland’s only goal, blasting a shot in off the underside of the crossbar in the 66th minute—only this time there would be no late comeback from the Reds. The closest they came to equalizing was a fluke 20-yard deflection off Joseph Bolous, which forced a tremendous save out of Brendan Moore in goal. Otherwise, the Timbers played assured defense in protecting their advantage and what had started out an open, fast-paced match fizzled to a close in the final minutes.
The Timbers very high-pressure defense led to a couple of chances in the opening ten minutes as Lane United struggled to string passes together. There were two goal-mouth scrambles in a row from corners in the sixth minute, which the Reds ended up surviving. They settled into the game soon after, creating chances of their own, none better than when an unmarked Pancho Vizcaino headed over the crossbar from a corner kick. The kick itself had been forced by a sprawling save from a shot by Baldo, who was Lane United’s star performer on the night. For a span of about 20 minutes in the first half, Portland’s defenders could barely touch him, let alone contain him, as he repeatedly collected the ball under pressure, beat the first man or two and looked to start attacks. Baldo’s countryman Eleazar Ocaña, making his first start for Lane United, initially misplayed several passes but eventually settled in enough to ping a 30-yard rabona to Dirk van der Velde at the start of the second half to break open an attack that ended with Bolous getting a decent shot on goal.
Kharlton Belmar showed himself to be Portland’s most dangerous player by virtue of his blazing speed. Casey Phillips and Luke Connolly only lost track of him twice, once when he broke down the right in the 60th minute and slightly underhit a shot that allowed Chris Lowrimore to make a diving save. The other instance was the goal a few minutes later, where Belmar received the ball in the box with enough space to cut a cross back across the face of the goal for Dennis Castillo to thump home from 15 yards out at the back post. Before that, the Reds had been enjoying their best attacking of the game, coming closest when Baldo toe-poked a volley over the bar from eight yards after Luke Connolly headed a cross down for him. Chronopolous also started the second half by sneaking in behind the back line only to be closed down instantly by Moore, out off his line.
After their goal, Portland scaled their frenetic pressure back a notch and stonewalled most of Lane United’s ventures forward. Two minutes after the goal, Lane United shouted for a penalty after the ball clearly struck a defender’s hand off of a cross from Baldo, although the referee, Oscar Rivas, either didn’t see the incident or deemed it unintentional. Head coach John Galas said afterward that he thought it was a “clear handball,” saying that “the guys worked all season, and they worked especially hard tonight, only to end up dealing with a ref who was average at best.” Portland’s Reed McKenna should have been cautioned for persistent infringement after six fouls in the first seventy minutes, several of which stifled forward attacks, but Rivas refused to even have a word with the Portland forward. The conclusion of the match was broken up by substitutions and fouls from both teams, and after the final whistle, Lane United’s Rolando Velazquez was given a second yellow card for dissent. The result ended up being Lane United’s sixth one-goal loss of the season.
Galas said that he was “immensely proud of the team’s effort recently, ever since our bad week back in June. The guys really showed commitment to improve and give a good result to our fans, who are the best in the league. I can’t fault anyone’s commitment on or off the field.” The last match of the season comes on Tuesday, against the non-PDL side Vancouver Victory. That match is at the Willamalane Center at 7:00 p.m.
Lane United FC suffered a heartbreaking 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps U-23s, surrendering the game-winning goal with almost the last kick of the game in stoppage time. They had fought back gamely after Ali Musse opened the scoring for Vancouver in the 69th minute, equalizing in the 81st through an outstanding free kick by Edgar Gomez. After a back-and-forth for the final 10 minutes, Vancouver hoisted in a long free kick that Jordan Farahani nodded home from 6 yards out. The game was over less than a minute after the ball was put back in play, meaning all of Lane United’s good work in tying the game and even creating chances to win it was for naught, at least on the scoreboard.
Head coach John Galas praised his team afterwards, saying he “couldn’t have asked for a better performance” out of his squad. They had started out strongly when Johnny Chronopoulos — starting at forward for the first time this season — was played down the left channel by Baldo and dragged a shot wide after 45 seconds. Half-chances abounded for both teams in the first half but clear-cut ones did not. The best for either team came when Vancouver’s leading scorer Cody Cook fanned on a low cross that had hit him in stride eight yards out. Baldo shot high from a good position on the left side of the box a few minutes later, but the rest of the half passed at about 80% speed, without many standout incidents.
Vancouver flew out of the traps immediately to start the second half, almost as if it had been part of the plan all along to lull everyone to sleep at first. Lane United were up to the task of stopping them, but only barely in some cases. Wade Hamilton had to make several very good saves, three from Brett Levis, who had also waged a personal assault on Hamilton’s net in the second half of the match between these two teams four days ago in Canada. Daley Stevens slid to clear the ball off the goal-line after a huge goalmouth scramble in the 50th minute, then Musse rounded Hamilton and almost scored in the 54th. Lane United had a few decent chances on the counter, but Vancouver was beginning to squeeze the game and it wasn’t a surprise when they scored on an efficient team move down the left. It ended with Levis playing a centering pass for Musse to sweep in from the center of the box for a 1-0 lead.
Vancouver continued to press the Reds for a short spell, but Lane United began to push back and were rewarded with a brilliant equalizer in the 81st minute. Baldo craftily won a foul 25 yards out, from which Gomez curled a flawless shot into the top right corner that no goalkeeper could have stopped. Pierce Kiembi, on as a sub, had the best chance of the ensuing ten minutes when he broke forward and carved out a shot on his favored right foot from the top of the box, but his connection wasn’t strong enough to put it past Nolan Wirth in Vancouver’s goal. But then, from what appeared to be a harmless free kick near the center circle, the Whitecaps snatched their victory. The ball was floated to the back post, where Musse met it with his head and guided it across the face of goal for Farahani to crash into the net from six yards. Galas in his post-game interview said that he “didn’t know what else the guys could do,” then concluded with the line that nearly every defeated coach at any level of soccer can now reach for: “At least we didn’t lose 7-1.”