Tag Archives: Matches


Lane United Ties Washington Crossfire 1-1 on the Road

July 6, 2016

Lane United FC drew the Washington Crossfire 1-1 in Redmond, WA on Tuesday night in a match that never strayed far from excitement, for the right and the wrong reasons from a Lane United standpoint. The Reds scored in the third minute through Riggs Lennon but by halftime had only the gods to thank that the Crossfire did not convert one of their dozen or so chances to equalize. When Michael Bajza was harshly sent off for two bookable offenses in quick succession in the 41st minute, the second-half task became clearer—sit back and repel Crossfire attacks, and it nearly worked, but for Junior Sanchez’s excellently taken goal in the 68th minute. Stoppage time featured another red card, for a horror tackle by the Crossfire’s Nathan Aune on Daley Stevens, and then gilt-edged chances at each end as both teams threw caution to the wind in search of a winner. The beleaguered referee Seth Martin’s final whistle blew after a match-saving slide tackle from Daley Stevens to deny a Crossfire breakaway, and the result leaves both clubs still tied for third in the PDL Northwest Division, the Reds with a game in hand.

The match had barely sputtered into life before Lennon gave Lane United an early advantage; he had already thrown himself in front of a clearance by the Crossfire goalkeeper, Saif Kerawala, and deflected the ball into touch, but that was apparently not enough warning to the Crossfire back line, as he pressured the center-half Aune into a poor backpass in the next passage of play. The recent Creighton transfer latched onto it and with minimum fuss slotted it under the keeper for an early 1-0 lead. However, the Reds proceeded to play the next half-hour in a state of unprecedented disorganization, with massive gaps appearing all over midfield, possession only in fleeting moments, and the back line unable to handle the tremendous pace of the Crossfire forward Simon Lekressner and left winger J.T. Townsend. Those two created—and squandered—a handful of chances apiece over the remainder of the half, frequently missing the target or occasionally forcing Lane United’s Ben Willis into an easier save than ought to have been required. Willis did produce one moment of goalkeeping brilliance, though, denying Danny Gavin at full stretch on a free kick from 22 yards, which was about five yards advanced from where the initial foul, from Michael Bajza had taken place. That foul earned him his first, and thoroughly deserved, yellow card, but the second one, which came only a few minutes later, was considerably harsher. The referee, Martin, felt that Bazja’s high-footed nick of a Crossfire player was worthy of a second booking, but given the mild force and speed of the challenge, as well as the fact that it was only fractionally late and 50 yards from goal, it was not clear that it deserved a second caution. It was almost a carbon-copy of events from last year in this fixture, when the Reds’ Jordan Jones was sent off, also late in the first half, for two back-to-back yellow cards; in that match, Lane United collapsed and shipped three goals in the second half, but this year the response from the Reds was significantly more mature.

The Reds came out for the second half with Armando Filho and Isma Fernández having been replaced by Dillon Nino and Jose Carlos Terron, respectively, to create an overtly defensive 4-4-1 formation, with only Ricky Lopez-Espin in an advanced role. The move paid off for awhile, too, with the Crossfire’s chances mostly limited to long shots that did not remotely trouble Willis in goal. In the 65th minute, though, the defense was broken open by the Crossfire fullback Junior Sanchez beating his counterpart Akeem Ward down the left wing and firing just over the bar from a good position on the left side of the box. And Sanchez was more clinical three minutes later, placing a low 25-yard shot in the minuscule window between Willis’ sprawling hand and the left-hand post; it was an equalizer born from the only bit of quality finishing that the Crossfire displayed all match.

The status quo, with the Reds holding the Crossfire at arm’s length well away from goal, was maintained for the next quarter of an hour but with five minutes left to play the balance suddenly shifted. The 86th minute saw Lane United’s first effort on goal in the entire second half, a harmless wide shot by Stevens, but the floodgates opened right afterward. With the Crossfire suddenly at sea, Riggs Lennon slammed a low volley from 18 yards to force a diving save out of Kerawala, then Stevens was scythed down by Aune flying in at full speed, legs extended and studs showing—the type of tackle that results in grisly injuries if the tackler happens to connect. That challenge earned the Crossfire man a straight red card, and from the ensuing free kick, Lennon was inches away from scoring the PDL goal of the season, slamming a 35-yard effort left-footed off the upper 90 of the goalframe. The Reds had chances to put away the rebound, but the ball was eventually cleared, and only a minute later Joel Rydstrand beat several defenders on the dribble before playing in Lennon—only for his close-range shot to be denied by a desperate sliding block from the last Crossfire defender. A goalmouth scramble ensued, which led to a corner; from Lennon’s first delivery, Reds players shouted in vain for a handball when a Crossfire defender awkwardly played the ball out over the goal line, leading to a second corner. From that delivery, someone on Lane United was whistled for jumping to head the ball in the vicinity of Kerawala, and that generous call almost gave Washington the game: Kerawala took the free kick quickly, and with all the Reds within 40 yards of the opposing penalty box, a Crossfire forward was onside at the halfway line. On his last legs, he charged forward toward the retreating Ben Willis, but Daley Stevens, recovering from at least 70 yards away deep in second half stoppage time, produced the tackle of the season to slide in and clear the ball into touch just as the forward was reaching the penalty box. It was the last meaningful action of the game.

Head coach John Galas said afterwards that he is “not sure why we can never end a match 11v11 against the Crossfire. I think our boys are disappointed with the result, but to play down a player for over 45 minutes was always going to be tough. I’m certainly pleased with the effort, the organization and commitment from the whole group tonight. We had to adjust tactically after the sending off, replacing Filho and Fernández, which was tough, but at the end of the day the changes we made played a big part in us almost stealing 3 points tonight. We have to stay positive, stay united and committed to the cause as we prepare for Kitsap. We still have a fighting chance to make the playoffs and we are without question going to give everything we have next match to keep the dream alive.” With FC Tucson looking increasingly likely to wrap up the automatic bye in the Western Conference playoffs, the Reds face a two-game road trip, at Kitsap Pumas on July 9 and Victoria Highlanders on July 11, and the last match of the regular season hosting the Crossfire at home, at Papé Field, on July 15, needing victories in all three to keep playoff hopes alive. With the way the PDL NW Division has unfolded thus far, nothing would be surprising. Stay tuned.

Lane United Earns First Home Win of the Season Against South Sound FC

June 10, 2016

Lane United earned their first home win of the season tonight in a non-league friendly match against South Sound FC. The visiting team was composed of Evergreen Premier League of Washington club, South Sound FC as well as some guest players from PDL clubs, the Kitsap Pumas and Seattle Sounders U-23s. The friendly format of the game allowed LUFC coach John Galas to experiment with his team’s lineup which resulted in fans seeing some new faces among the Lane United starters. Aidan Johnson, Riggs Lennon, and Sam Tweeton all saw their first start for the Reds this season.

From the first, Lane United controlled the tempo of the game with midfielder Aidan Johnson taking an early shot from the top of the box that was deflected by the South Sound goalkeeper for a corner kick. The Reds continued to apply pressure to the South Sound squad with Nathan Braaten and Ismael Fernandez recording multiple shots in the first half. The payoff came just before halftime when Rolando Velazquez sent the ball into the center of the box where LUFC newcomer Riggs Lennon was waiting to head it into the back of South Sound’s net. Red smoke once again filled the air at Willamalane as the Red Aces celebrated the Red’s first home goal of the season in their usual style. The Reds went into the locker room at halftime ahead 1-0.

After the half, South Sound came out revitalized and seemed about to even the score when their #23 suddenly found the ball at his feet two yards away from Lane United’s wide open goal. However, Dirk van der Velde came flying into the box and made an incredible block that cleared the ball out of the danger zone and set South Sound up for a corner kick. South Sound had few chances after that with both teams unable to create many real goal-scoring opportunities. Both teams saw more fouls during the second half but could not convert set pieces into a threat on goal. The rain also picked up significantly in the second half, soaking all of the players and fans at the game. But for the Lane United faithful, sitting in the rain was a small price to pay to see the Reds earn their first home win of the 2016 season. Lane United’s next home game will take place on Sunday, June 12th at 4:00 PM at the Willamalane Center for Sports and Recreation. The Reds will take on the Seattle Sounders U-23s exactly nine days after losing to them 2-1 on the road in Washington.

Match Report: Lane United FC @ Portland Timbers U-23s

May 25, 2016
Eugene native Daley Stevens headed in a stoppage-time equalizer to secure Lane United FC a point in an outrageously action-packed 3-3 draw against the Portland Timbers U-23s at Providence Park on Tuesday. Earlier in the game, former Reds Timothy Mueller and Jordan Jones bagged the goals for Portland, with Mueller’s first-half brace ensuring that Lane United would not endure a third consecutive scoreless draw even as it raised fears that the Reds might be on the receiving end of a shellacking. Two quick goals to start the second half, from Isma Fernandez and Vicente Mora, brought the contest level. Lane United then spent the final half-hour down 3-2 before Stevens rose at the back post to nod in a Matt Coffey cross and ensure that the Reds would not return home empty-handed after their cohesive performance in front of thousands of fans in one of the country’s footballing fortresses.

 

The match opened with end-to-end action that scarcely let up for the duration of the 90 minutes. After five minutes, Akeem Ward was denied his first Lane United goal by a strong diving save from Portland’s Nils Leifhelm, and less than a minute later at the other end Luis Barazza, making his first start in goal for Lane United, had to throw his legs in front of a close-range volley from Mueller to make an equally impressive reaction stop. Mueller couldn’t be denied for his next chance, though, when a Timbers break led to him being slotted down the left channel; he sidefooted comfortably to the back post for a 1-0, 12th-minute lead—Lane United’s first goal conceded after 282 minutes of the new season. Mueller then created, almost entirely by himself, a brilliant chance to add to his tally a few minutes later by outleaping everyone to meet a floating cross and power it on goal, but Barazza stretched and made a spectacular top-hand save to push the ball over the bar.

 

The teams exchanged shots, crosses, nearly-missed through balls and all other manner of attacking sorties for the next half-hour, but by the end of the half Portland had started to squeeze the game just slightly. They skirted the edge of the Lane United box for the final five minutes before halftime before the Reds made a hash of a clearance from a left-wing cross and the ball fell to Mueller 15 yards out. Rather than panic, he pushed the ball to his right to open up a shooting space and blasted in with his right foot with almost the last kick of the half. Lane United, already down for the first time all season, suddenly had a significantly more imposing task ahead of them returning from the break, but their turnaround was almost immediate. Only three minutes into the second half, the Reds’ persistence around the Portland penalty box was rewarded when a rebound from a Jose Carlos Terrón shot at the back post fell conveniently to Isma, who turned and passed it into the net for 2-1. The Reds continued to pour forward and boss the game until the 55th minute when Binder found himself in loads of space to drop in a cross from the right wing, which landed on the head of Mora—unforgivably, from a Portland perspective, left unmarked eight yards from goal—to tuck away with a calm headed finish.

 

It seemed Lane United’s fightback was complete and that the match would restart from square one at 2-2, but the Reds immediately conceded for a third time to Jordan Jones, who was played into the penalty box on the ground and got off a low finish through the legs of a recovering, slide-tackling Jonathan Stadler. Stadler, as has been his wont all season, was rarely in the wrong place on the day, disrupting or denying entry passes to Mueller for as long as he was on the pitch, but Portland had exploited an awkward gap in the center of defense for the third goal. But Lane United almost immediately began to create chances for the equalizer, first when Ward, who was also excellent all game, nearly capitalized on a miscommunication between the Portland back line and goalkeeper and tried to chip into a vacated net from 30 yards. Then came the Reds’ best chance until the equalizer, when superb combination play released Isma down the right wing and he crossed to Terrón crashing in unnoticed at the back post. One of the Timbers’ recovering center-backs, though, got just the faintest touch on the ball to redirect it into Terrón’s midsection and the ball actually bounced away off of him, with the open goal beckoning from inside the six-yard box.

 

Lane United continued to chip away and in the 90th minute, the substitute Coffey spooned an awkward bouncing ball over the bar from close range amid the chaos caused by a long Casey ChubbFertal throw-in. In stoppage time, the Reds finally drew level with their hosts. Coffey and Stadler were up against only one fullback on the right wing, and the latter patiently worked the former into an unhurried, unchallenged crossing opportunity. His looping delivery was expertly dropped at the back post where Stevens—like Mora earlier, shockingly unmarked at close range—directed an expert header down and in before the goalkeeper could get across. Deep into stoppage time, the Reds celebrated, but Stevens’ goal still wouldn’t be the last action of the game, as the Timbers’ Geoffrey Dee then strode forward after the kickoff and decided to let fly from over 30 yards. The hit was pure and Barazza looked beaten all ends up, and the crowd cheered as the ball rippled the net—the outside of the side netting. It was the last kick of the game.

 

“I think this is the type of game that will reassure us later on in the season when our backs are against the wall, that we can still create quality chances and claw our way back,” said Lane United FC head coach John Galas. “I told the guys at halftime that we couldn’t feel sorry for ourselves, that we’d gone 2-0 down to two mistakes—correctable mistakes as far as the rest of the season is concerned—and challenged them to get a goal within the first 15 minutes of the second half to make it a game again, and they did that. This felt like a win, not that we stole a point, because with the amount of chances we created we absolutely deserved something—but the mood in the locker room afterward was like a win. It was a brilliant collective effort. The starters got the comeback going and two subs, Coffey and Daley, finished it.”

 

The Reds remain unbeaten heading into a 10-day break, at the conclusion of which they face the Seattle Sounders U23 away in Washington on June 3.

Match Report: LUFC vs Kitsap Pumas

May 14, 2016
Lane United FC earned their first points in five attempts against the Kitsap Pumas with a 0-0 draw last night in their home opener, but the Reds will walk away feeling that they might have even deserved a win against the reigning PDL Northwest Division champions for their efforts. Both teams had genuinely strong chances to score, with Kitsap coming closest when Hamza Haddadi hit the crossbar and Lane United forcing several point-blank saves out of Pumas goalkeeper Matt Grosey at key junctures. Reds head coach John Galas summed up his team’s sentiment by saying after the match that he’s “pleased with 180 minutes of clean-sheet ball, but the guys will be a little disappointed that they couldn’t grab a win from this game.”

 

LUFC:Kitsap 5:13 3The Reds picked up where they had left off following their season-opening win at Portland last Saturday by showing off some assured possession in midfield and solid defensive shape. The task would never be quite as easy against the generally larger and faster Kitsap squad, but the two teams were about even for the opening exchanges of the match. The first solid chance came ten minutes in, when Kitsap’s ChuySanchez—who has put a game-winner past Lane United before, in stoppage time of this fixture in 2014—curled a 20-yard shot just a few inches wide of Ben Willis’ left-hand post. A few minutes later, Ricky Lopez-Espin for Lane United decided to let fly from the top right corner of the box and forced asprawling save out of Grosey. Lane United seemed sure to score in the next passage of play a minute later, when Joel Rydstrand—metronomically dictating play from midfield alongside Binder for the second week in a row—snatched up an interception in Kitsap’s defensive third and was patient enough to slip in Vicente Mora overlapping to his left. The Spaniard raced into the box unmarked and had his first shot slapped back to his feet by Grosey; he elected to shoot again from a wider angle rather than square a cross back to Rydstrand, and Grosey threw himself in the way of that shot too.

 

The next incident was the first of several important refereeing decisions, when Jon Stadler, Lane United’s last player back, conceded possession under pressure to Haddadi and then seemed to haul him down at the top of the penalty box as he tried to shoot past an onrushing Willis. Referee Andrew Marihart, however, had a different view of the incident than most others, and decided that Haddadi had fouled Stadler in winning the ball off him. Kitsap were annoyed, but then had to feel lucky late in the second half, at the exact same point on the field, when Marihart did not award Lane United a penalty (and a sending-off for Kitsap’s Rene DeZorzi), for DeZorzi’s recovering tackle on Lopez-Espin after the big forward had rounded Grosey. DeZorzi did make contact with the ball, but it was fractional especially when compared with the contact he made with Lopez-Espin, who had to be substituted out due to injury after the play. Marihart managed to avoid doling out red cards in both incidents but never had another choice when Kitsap’s Cory Keitz flew studs-up and with excessive force into Daley Stevens in front of the Lane United bench in the 86th minute. By that point, though, the teams had mostly spent themselves and another chance did not materialize at either end for the remainder of the match, despite the imbalance in numbers

 

LUFC:Kitsap 5:13Both teams at times had potential scoring opportunities elude their grasp when poor individual touches were exacerbated by the unforgiving turf at the Willamalane Center. Haddadi, Ismael Fernandez and, most glaringly of all, Mike Ramos late in the second half after having been sent clear on goal—all watched in despair as the opposing keeper smothered runaway balls that could have been theirs to shoot. Lane United must be comforted by the fact that Willis, in the first 180 minutes of the season, has rarely had to stop a shot, his contributions mostly confined to intercepting through-
balls and crosses. Grosey did have several shots to stop tonight, including the most impressive of all after 80 minutes when he dove low and to his right to deny Lopez-Espin from 10 yards after he had won possession for himself deep in Kitsap territory. Aside from the controversial penalty decision, it was the last true chance for either team. A capacity crowd of 775 attended the match—Lane United’s first-ever goalless draw—but on the strength of the performance should have been persuaded to return for the rest of the season. The next match is at home to the Victoria Highlanders, who lost to Kitsap 3-0 on May 7th.

Lane United Defeats Timbers U-23s In First Game of Season

May 8, 2016
LUFC:timbers1Lane United FC will be brimming with enthusiasm after a comprehensive 1-0 victory over the Portland Timbers U-23s in the first match of the 2016 PDL season. The contest kicked off with three former Lane United standouts in Timmy Mueller, Jordan Jones and Devonte Small all dressed in the Timbers’ green, but their influence on proceedings was negligible as the visiting Reds put on a defensive showcase. José Mourinho is fond of saying that winning 1-0 is the easiest thing to do in the sport, and the Reds certainly made it look comfortable after scoring early through Nate Braaten in the 11th minute and then scarcely allowing the Timbers a glimpse of the goal for the ensuing 80 or so. Head coach John Galas praised the collective effort, saying that his squad’s “defensive organization was superb” and singling out Matthias Binder and Joel Rydstrand in the center of midfield especially for praise.

 

Galas also admitted that any offensive strategy was “freelance and on the fly,” given that his team had only started practice on Monday of this week and had been focusing on the defensive aspects of the game for most of that time. Stefan Tomasevic, normally a center-half, played 90 minutes as a target forward, but still showed plenty of instinct by latching onto a chipped through-ball after five minutes, only to be denied by Zach Nelson in the Portland goal. Nelson would later deny two more one-on-ones from Braaten in the second half, but he was powerless to stop the Oregon State man’s goal in the 11th minute. Most of the credit for the goal should go to Lane United’s Dillon Nino, who chased after a hopeful long ball, then shouldered his opposite fullback off of it when the easier options seemed to be to play it back to the goalkeeper or simply put it into touch. Suddenly, Nino had the ball at his feet with an utterly unmarked Braaten hovering around the penalty spot to slot home his squared pass. Portland had threatened with a few half-chances in the opening minutes of the match, but did not trouble Ben Willis in the Lane United goal again for the rest of the match, except for a few crosses and attempted through-balls which he dealt with authoritatively.

 

It would be hard to overstate the Reds’ dominance of the midfield, especially once Mitch LaGro was substituted on in a holding role at halftime. LaGro, his Creighton teammate Rydstrand and the returning Binder never needed a second invitation to pounce on an interception or tackle, and Binder and Rydstrand especially were the hub of possession as they successfully played keep-away from the Timbers for much of the second half. The Timbers seemed increasingly hesitant as the match progressed to try playing out of the back, so unsuccessful were they in their efforts to move the ball on the ground through midfield, and with the amount of giveaways they offered in exposed positions, it was something of a miracle—or just down to brilliant play from their goalkeeper Nelson—that they only conceded once. Braaten was handed a breakaway at the beginning of the second half from a bad back-pass, and was later played through by Tomasevic into an identical LUFC:Timbers2position, only for Nelson to stuff both efforts. The Timbers would have given anything to be able to say they had had even one chance of similar quality, but the pattern of the match was epitomized by LaGro neutralizing Mueller with a crunching slide tackle at the top of the box in the 80th minute just when it seemed as if the big Oregon State man finally had a clear chance to shoot. A scramble from a long throw-in was the Timbers’ only other half-chance, and appropriately, the referee’s whistle blew in stoppage time as Lane United were streaming forward on another counter from another turnover forced. The Reds, and the traveling Red Aces who were in full voice all match long, were nonetheless glad to take all three points. The first home match of the campaign awaits, against the defending PDL Northwest Division champions Kitsap Pumas on May 13th.

Calgary Foothills FC 3, Lane United FC 2

July 15, 2015
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Calgary Foothills FC 3, Lane United FC 2 Wednesday, July 15, 2015 Venue: Hellard Field, Calgary, Alberta Goalscorers: Dean Northover (CFFC) own-goal 29’, Yoann Promone (CFFC) 48’, Elijah Adekugbe (CFFC) 69’, Dominic Russo (CFFC) 81’, Jordan Jones (LUFC) 85’ Cautioned: Dominic Russo (CFFC) 44’, Kieran Hay (CFFC) 49’, Tyrin Hutchings (CFFC) 63’, Amer Sasivarevic (LUFC) 74’, Jonathan Stadler (LUFC) 87’, Cristian de Luis (LUFC) 90’+2 Attendance: 150

Lane United FC lost their final match of the 2015 USL PDL season, 3-2 to Calgary Foothills FC at Hellard Field in Calgary. The Reds were the superior team for the first half-hour of the game and were rewarded by a Calgary own-goal in the 29th minute, but for the next 50 minutes they were the ones under siege as the Foothills deposited three unanswered goals in Matt Bersano’s net. Jordan Jones pulled one back for Lane United with five minutes to spare in regulation and frantic attempts to nab the equalizer ensued, but it was too little and too late by that point. The loss means the Reds finish fifth in the table for the PDL’s Northwest Division on 11 points, ahead of Washington Crossfire and the Puget Sound Gunners.

The match started briskly enough, with Lane United’s midfield of technicians — Daley Stevens, Matthias Binder and Isma Fernández, backstopped by Richy Hurtado — combining very effectively all over the field and often creating enough time and space to pick out intelligent long balls to Jordan Jones and Cristian Cataluña up front. Lane United’s best chance came after 20 minutes when Lane United broke forward after Bersano had collected a corner kick; Deion Jones at fullback picked out the unrelated Jordan Jones racing down the right channel with a long pass, but he dragged his 18-yard sidefooted attempt left of the far post. After a few more good looks forward and nearly-connecting through-balls, Lane United forced Calgary into an own goal. The central midfield patiently combined to switch play to Amer Sasivarevic on the left wing; he served up an expertly placed cross that on needed a touch from anyone to cause trouble, and Dean Northover, one of Calgary’s defenders, was the one to supply it, slicing the ball into his own net at the near post. Not long after the goal, Calgary began to show signs of getting back into the game, the most worrying being when Dominic Russo buried a header past Bersano only to have it called back for offsides. Calgary’s offense kicked into high gear for the last 10 minutes of the first half as ball after ball was whipped into the Lane United box. All efforts were cleared in one way or another, but the Reds no longer held the foothold in midfield and it seemed like halftime would provide a much-needed chance to regroup.

Instead, Calgary returned from the break in exactly the same style as they’d gone into it, aggressively attacking the Lane United box and summarily producing a goal in the 48th minute. Two substitutes, Yoann Promone and Tofa Fakunle were involved, the former finding the latter streaking forward behind the defense from the right channel. Fakunle, Bersano and a recovering Jonathan Stadler all converged on the ball at the same time around the edge of the penalty box, but apparently no one touched it as it squeezed through all three and into the net. A tickled Promone 45 yards away got credit for the goal. Calgary continued to rack up the crosses and corners — at one point they had seven corners to Lane United’s zero — and even though Lane United head coach John Galas said his team had discussed the set-piece threat specifically at halftime, Elijah Adekugbe flew in unmarked to crush a free header past Bersano from a corner kick in the 69th minute. Russo, who was engaged in acrimonious battles with Cristian de Luis and Jonathan Stadler all game, bagged a legitimate goal in the 81st minute to put the game seemingly out of reach. Promone forced an unbelievable reaction save out of Bersano from 10 yards after a kind deflection had given him an open look; unfortunately, the rebound from Bersano’s save fell right to Russo, who roofed it home to make the score 3-1. Jordan Jones scored with a header in traffic off of a long diagonal assist from Binder in the 85th minute to bring it to 3-2, whereupon the Reds actually created several good opportunities to equalize, none better than Sasivarevic volleying Cristian Couto’s cross over the bar from 15 yards with his preferred left foot. Ultimately, that would be Lane United’s last chance as Calgary held on for only their second home win of the season.

Befitting of a match that had such noticeable and long-lasting swings in momentum between the teams, John Galas afterward held mixed opinions on his team’s performance: “I’m disappointed to go out with a loss, especially the manner in which we lost, with too many mistakes and a set-piece goal right after we’d talked about their set pieces,” he said. “But on the other hand, we did play very well for the first half-hour and fought back with everything we had at the end and almost snatched the equalizer. And all in all, it’s been a hell of a second half of the season. We won five out of our last seven matches, including three in the league, and I’m pretty satisfied with that and I think the guys will hold their heads high.”

Lane United FC 5, Bellingham United 0

July 12, 2015
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Lane United FC 5, Bellingham United FC 0 Sunday, July 12, 2015 Venue: Willamalane Center, Springfield, OR Goalscorers: Ismael Fernández 14’, Richy Hurtado 21’, Jordan Jones 25’, Jordan Jones 65’, Amer Sasivarevic 73’ Cautioned: Ryan Morrissey (BUFC) 27’, Cristian Couto (LUFC) 55’ Attendance: 418 Referee: Lucas Brooks

Lane United FC waltzed to a comfortable 5-0 victory against non-league Bellingham United FC in their final home game of 2015 on Sunday. Jordan Jones bagged two goals and had a third poached off of him at the goalline by Isma Fernández, while Richy Hurtado and Amer Sasivarevic both added their first goals as Lane United FC players. Hurtado’s was the pick of the bunch, a 30-yard rocket into the top corner of the net with his favored left foot that put the Reds up 2-0 after only 21 minutes. Isma had opened the scoring seven minutes earlier by tapping home a ball that was likely trickling in anyway from Jordan Jones’ first attempt at meeting a cross. Jones in the 25th minute did officially extend his streak of consecutive games with a goal to three when he crashed in a pulled-back cross from Raul Muntean, then added a second 20 minutes into the second half by lasering a low left-footed shot past a helpless Hector Gutierrez in the Bellingham goal. The Reds capped off their scoring with the best team move of the match, which ended with Cristian Cataluña selflessly squaring across the face of goal – when he had an equally good chance to shoot – so that Amer Sasivarevic could tap into an empty net for 5-0.

Lane United head coach John Galas commended both his team’s play and Bellingham’s after the match. Bellingham, who have not won a game in their own league, the Evergreen Premier League of Washington (EPLWA) all season, “made the long drive down here and played an honest game and so did our guys,” Galas said. “We extend a big thanks to them, as they put a lot of work into this game. I’d also like to thank all our fans, on behalf of literally everyone at Lane United FC, for their support this year. It’s no exaggeration to say they’re the best fans in the division and we’re very glad to have finished with a great home record (7-2-1) to reward their support. We finished with 270 consecutive minutes of shutout ball and that makes both me and the supporters very very happy. We stayed in rhythm with this game and now it’s on to Calgary for a big one, the last game of the season.”

Lane United fly to Calgary, Alberta early this week for the final match of the season, on Wednesday at 5:30 pm (Pacific) against PDL Northwest Division newcomers FC Calgary Foothills. The Reds tied 1-1 with Calgary in the home fixture on June 5; a win on Wednesday would vault them over the Canadians on points and result in a fourth-place finish in the Northwest Division, one outside of the playoff spots. Lane United will live-Tweet and report on the Calgary game on Wednesday.

Lane United FC 2, Washington Crossfire 0

July 9, 2015

 

Lane United FC 2, Washington Crossfire 0 Thursday, July 9, 2015 Venue: Willamalane Center, Springfield, OR Goalscorers: Timothy Mueller 60’, Jordan Jones 81’ Cautioned: Devonte Small (LUFC) 70’, Jacob Jones (WC) 86' Attendance: 541 Referee: Jason Perlewitz

Lane United FC 2, Washington Crossfire 0

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Venue: Willamalane Center, Springfield, OR

Goalscorers: Timothy Mueller 60’, Jordan Jones 81’

Cautioned: Devonte Small (LUFC) 70’, Jacob Jones (WC) 86′

Attendance: 541

Referee: Jason Perlewitz

For the second match in a row, Lane United FC walked away from the Willamalane Center with an impressive 2-0 win over a league opponent, with the Washington Crossfire this time the victims. The pattern of events was remarkably similar to the win over the Portland Timbers U-23s six days previous: second-half goals from Jordan Jones and Timothy Mueller, and one massive save from Matt Bersano in the Lane United goal. Bersano’s intervention this time around was even more critical, as he denied Washington’s Wesley Stark from the penalty spot with the score only at 1-0. Thirteen minutes later, Jordan Jones added Lane United’s insurance goal with an uncontested header from a set piece, and the Reds comfortably saw out the win in the closing minutes.

Though Lane United were in winning form entering the game and fielding one of their strongest lineups of the season, while Washington were on a three-game losing streak and traveling without their leading scorer, Hamza Haddadi, and several of their University of Washington-based players, the first half was a surprisingly even affair with decent chances for both teams. Lane United head coach John Galas went so far after the match as to say that his opponents were “the best Crossfire team we’ve faced so far, more fluid and better playing overall.” The Reds lost their influential midfielder Alex Pantoja to injury after 15 minutes, and while the team were briefly down to 10 men, center-half Cristian de Luis actually provided the best chance of the match until that point when he carried forward unchallenged and laced a shot just high from the top of the penalty box. Stark, Washington’s biggest threat on the night, forced Matt Bersano into a diving near-post save in the 20th minute, which was followed almost immediately by the Crossfire goalkeeper Tyler Visten denying Mueller on a breakaway. Late in the first half, Washington created more chances, with Hassani Dotson whistling a long shot a few inches wide of a worried Bersano’s post and Jeff Rose forcing the Lane United captain to tip a closer-range effort over the bar.

At the end of the first half it seemed to be anyone’s game, but Lane United started to rack up the scoring chances in the first 15 minutes of the second. Mueller was unusually profligate, missing the goal frame on several chances that he would have expected himself to bury, including another 1v1 with Visten, but a player of his skill won’t ever be held down for long; in the 60th minute he finally broke the deadlock by converting an even tougher chance than some of the ones he had spurned. After Dirk van der Velde played in a one-hopped cross from the right wing, Mueller, side to goal, swept in a brilliant finish on the full volley with his first touch. The goal marked his ninth of the season in league play, currently tying him for most in the PDL, and his 13th overall in all competitions. Five minutes later, the Reds had put themselves in a spot of bother, though: the Washington substitute Ibrahim Drame got by Casey ChubbFertal on the right wing and was hauled down by the former South Eugene High School man upon entering the penalty area. After deliberating with his assistant, referee Jason Perlewitz pointed to the spot. Stark stepped up and tried to place his attempt in the bottom left corner, but Bersano was already there and made what ended up looking a comfortable save, with Dirk van der Velde hacking away the rebound before Stark had a chance to fire again.

Galvanized by that save, Lane United immediately began creating almost a chance a minute in search of their second goal. Finally, in the 81st minute, Jordan Jones delivered it by nodding in the simplest of headers from inside the six yard box after a well-delivered inswinging corner from Daley Stevens. The win was never in doubt afterwards. Galas afterward stressed the importance of the back-to-back clean sheets, saying that “over the past 180 minutes we’ve defended so well as a team, and it’s really given everyone else a lift not to have to come back from goals down. I thought we were a little loose defensively in the first half, but we survived and the second-half performance was exceptional, especially from Bersano again.”

Lane United next play a friendly match against Bellingham United of the Evergreen Premier League, at home on Sunday, July 12. It will be the Reds’ last home game of the season. They have one more contest afterwards, an away date in Calgary on July 15 for the last PDL game and last game overall of 2015.

Lane United FC 2, Portland Timbers U-23s 0

July 4, 2015
Lane United FC 2, Portland Timbers U-23s 0 Friday, July 3, 2015 Venue: Willamalane Center, Springfield, OR Goalscorers: Jordan Jones 54’, Timothy Mueller 58’,  Cautioned: Brenden Anderson (LUFC) 32’, Richy Hurtado (LUFC) 60’, Cristian de Luis (LUFC) 63’, Romilio Hernandez (PTU23) 76’, Andrew Lewis (PTU23) 79’ Attendance: 552 Referee: Andrew Brooks

Lane United FC 2, Portland Timbers U-23s 0

Friday, July 3, 2015

Venue: Willamalane Center, Springfield, OR

Goalscorers: Jordan Jones 54’, Timothy Mueller 58’, 

Cautioned: Brenden Anderson (LUFC) 32’, Richy Hurtado (LUFC) 60’, Cristian de Luis (LUFC) 63’, Romilio Hernandez (PTU23) 76’, Andrew Lewis (PTU23) 79’

Attendance: 552

Referee: Andrew Brooks

Lane United FC secured its first home shutout victory of the 2015 PDL season, beating the Portland Timbers U-23s 2-0 in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd at the Willamalane Center. Portland would have come into the match heavy favorites for any neutral observer, sitting at second in the PDL Northwest Division on 21 points compared to Lane United’s 5, but the Reds looked sharper throughout and were rewarded with two goals in quick succession early in the second half. The tragedy of watching their hoped-for future home, Eugene’s Civic Stadium, burn to the ground earlier in the week seemed to have inspired the Reds and their fans both to an unusually impassioned performance: the Red Aces supporters’ group unfurled a banner with the theme of rebuilding at halftime, while Lane United head coach John Galas said after the match that there had been a tacit understanding in the locker room that the team needed to deliver its best possible response on the field in light of the events. After going two goals up, with their second league victory and a rare clean sheet in sight, the Reds back line defended with the utmost intensity while the midfielders and forwards broke out a bamboozling array of one-touch passing patterns and individual dribbling moves, emanating a confidence that simply hadn’t been seen at any point in any league match so far this season.

Both teams waded tepidly into the first half, with few chances developing in the opening exchanges besides the reigning PDL Player of the Week Todd Wharton chunking a sidefooted effort wide from 15 yards after 10 minutes of play. All of a sudden, in the 25th minute, the match broke open as Timothy Mueller and Josep Baldoví combined usefully, not for the first or last time, moving in from the right wing and Mueller shot low, forcing Portland keeper Eric Dick into a diving save; 30 seconds later Portland’s Ben White was in on goal at the other end but over-hit his attempt to chip Matt Bersano; and no less than a minute after that Jordan Jones roped a sweet connection just over the crossbar back in the Timbers’ penalty area. The rest of the first half was bogged down by injuries, as both Portland’s Dennis Castillo and Lane United’s Brenden Anderson had to be substituted, the latter after an off-the-ball collision with White that neither referee Andrew Brooks nor any one of his assistants noticed.

Lane United began the second half by taking a few hefty knocks on the Timbers’ door, with Jones, Mueller and Baldo almost combining at the edge of the box only to be denied at the last inch by a recovering tackle from Andrew Lewis. Richy Hurtado then put Mueller in on goal a few minutes later with a long ball over the top, and Mueller uncharacteristically skied his finish well over the bar. But Portland were offered no reprieve ten minutes into the half when Matthias Binder, who was outstanding on the left wing as soon as he had come on for Daley Stevens at halftime, found Jones cutting in behind the back line in the penalty box; he stretched out a toe before the goalkeeper could arrive on the scene and the ball trickled into the net for a 1-0 Lane United lead. The next goal followed soon after, with the birthday boy Mueller picking up his eighth league goal of the season; Jones was the first to meet a cross from the right wing, but after his attempt at a header was deflected aimlessly toward the penalty spot, Mueller accepted the birthday gift by being on hand to blast it into the roof of the net with a first-time volley.

The Reds were doubtless mindful at this point of their away match at the Puget Sound Gunners in May, when they had surrendered a two-goal lead and come away with only a point after a 3-3 draw. The second-half back line of Dirk van der Velde, Cristian de Luis, Jonathan Stadler and Casey ChubbFertal, backed up by Bersano in goal, made sure there would be no such concessions on this occasion. Bersano, whom Galas called the man of the match, made the save of the night in the 84th minute to keep the lead at two, reaching high to push Anthony Macchione’s close-range shot over the bar. The back four, including Cristian Couto who came on as a late substitute for van der Velde, cut out most crosses and threatening developments, only once allowing a clear chance, when Romilio Hernandez of the Timbers blasted off the crossbar from 20 yards. Galas said that the clean sheet was “massive” and called the overall second-half performance the team’s best of the season. “We were intelligent and confident going forward even when we were up, but with Matty in goal and the back line defending really diligently, I thought the clean sheet was all that the guys deserved.”

Lane United will stay at home and face the Washington Crossfire on Thursday, July 9, in their final home league match of the season before playing an exhibition against EPLWA side Bellingham United on July 12 and then traveling to Calgary for their final match, on July 15, against FC Calgary Foothills.

Kitsap Pumas 4, Lane United FC 0

June 29, 2015
Kitsap Pumas 4, Lane United FC 0 Saturday, June 27, 2015 Venue: Gordon Park, Bremerton, Washington Goalscorers: Cory Keitz 3’ (PK), Logan Miller 18’, Mike Ramos 38’ (PK), Logan Miller 48’ Cautioned: Cristian Cataluña (LUFC) 53’, Matthias Binder (LUFC) 80’, Trevor Jensen (KP) 86’ Attendance: 378 Referee: Ramy Touchan 

Kitsap Pumas 4, Lane United FC 0

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Venue: Gordon Park, Bremerton, Washington

Goalscorers: Cory Keitz 3’ (PK), Logan Miller 18’, Mike Ramos 38’ (PK), Logan Miller 48’

Cautioned: Cristian Cataluña (LUFC) 53’, Matthias Binder (LUFC) 80’, Trevor Jensen (KP) 86’

Attendance: 378

Referee: Ramy Touchan 

Lane United FC were comprehensively beaten 4-0 by last year’s national finalists and current PDL Northwest Division leaders Kitsap Pumas on Saturday night in Bremerton, Washington. The game did not start well for Lane United, who conceded a penalty, duly converted by Kitsap captain Cory Keitz, after less than two minutes. That penalty had come from the result of a misplayed ball by the Reds defense, and so did the second goal in the 18th minute, which Joe Masumiya and Logan Miller walked into the net after a turnover. Lane United were not able to pick themselves off the floor at that point, giving up a second penalty before halftime and then allowing Miller to score his second of the game a few minutes into the second half. Lane United head coach John Galas’ verdict was that his team was “second-best on the night. Unfortunately, our training, which was good in the lead-up, didn’t translate to the game.”

Galas questioned both penalty decisions, which seemed to have involved minimal contact or, at most, contact initiated by the attacker rather than Reds goalkeeper Matt Bersano, who committed both fouls. In the first incident, after 90 seconds, Bersano had been put in an unenviable position when Cristian de Luis slipped trying to hit a back-pass to him. Logan Miller raced in and went down under some sort of challenge, and Keitz converted a minute later. In the second, after 38 minutes, a ball was hoisted into the penalty area following a clearance from a Kitsap corner. With the Lane United back line all pushed up, Rene DeZorsi somehow snuck in onside, brought the ball down and pushed it around Bersano, again going down rather intentionally. Referee Ramy Touchan, who made the penalty call after hesitating, inexplicably did not also send Bersano off for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity even though the goalkeeper’s foul fit every criterion for it. This raised the question of how much conviction Touchan had in his original decision. Regardless, Mike Ramos stepped up to the spot this time and buried another textbook penalty to put Kitsap up 3-0 and sailing smooth before halftime.

Galas did point out after the game that “regardless of the two penalty decisions, we were naive and we put ourselves in tough positions. Our possession was poor, and when we lost it (Kitsap) were able to run straight through the big gaps right in front of our back four.” The Pumas’ second goal bore that out, with the back of the Lane United midfield getting dispossessed no more than 40 yards from their own net and watching Joe Masumiya sprint into the Lane United area and square the ball for Miller to tap in easily. The Reds only threatened a few times themselves. Kitsap goalkeeper Matt Grosey’s most notable actions involved sprinting off his line to collect through-balls a few inches ahead of the Lane United forwards, but he was not forced into a save on the night. The typically stingy Kitsap defense did an effective job of containing the PDL’s third-leading scorer, Timothy Mueller, who despite an impressive work rate up front was finally held without a goal for the first time in six games in all competitions. The Pumas’ “management of the game and their organization, on the pitch, was top-notch, as you would expect from a professional club like them,” Galas said.

Lane United now have six days to recover before facing the Portland Timbers U-23s at home on Friday, July 3 in a late 8:00 pm kickoff.