Monthly Archives: May 2014
Lane United FC continued its strong start to the 2014 PDL season by beating the Puget Sound Gunners 4-1 in a comprehensive victory. The Gunners, who had finished a 2-0 loss to the Portland Timbers U-23s only 24 hours before the kickoff of the Lane United match, looked very tired from the outset and could barely manage to disrupt the home team’s patient passing rhythm for the first half. After only two minutes, Martin Lukaschik played in Khiry Shelton with an excellent through-ball, and the big forward, who spent most of the match playing a slightly deeper role at the point of attack, glided in and finished at the near post. He was then instrumental in maintaining Lane United’s dominant possession for the rest of the half, simply turning around as soon as he felt opponents closing in, holding off a challenge or two with his 6’3” frame, and recycling the ball to any one of Lane United’s three hard-working midfielders, Lukaschik, Baldo or Pancho Vizcaino.
Shelton was at the heart of Lane United’s second goal, the product of a counter-attack straight from a Puget Sound free kick on wing. As soon as the clearing header fell at Bevans’ feet, 45 yards from his own goal, it was apparent that Puget Sound had only one man back to cover the rest of the field. Shelton raced down the right channel and Bevans slipped him the ball; when Shelton tried to round the keeper, he was shepherded out too wide. Instead of attempting a low-percentage shot, he held up the ball, forcing Dodson the keeper to play out of his net. He then picked out Bevans with a low hard centering pass; and the Gonzaga striker somehow scrambled it into the net with three defenders back desperately on the line.
Puget Sound rarely got a taste of possession; their best half-chance came when their lightning-quick forward Ashkanov Apollon pounced on an attempted pass between Duran Lee and Casey Phillips, the Lane United center-halves, and raced in on the goal. For a second he was away, but Lee and the bobbling turf both conspired to dispossess him. A few minutes later came the pick of the goals; Phillips collected a Puget Sound clearance from the corner in the center circle, strode forward 10 yards and, since no one had closed him down, decided to have a go and absolutely rifled a left-footed shot into the top left corner from what must have been 35 yards.
The temperature of the match heated up unnecessarily in the second half as the referee, Cesar Tercero, swallowed his whistle on a number of apparently obvious foul calls on both teams. He then sent off Lane United’s Amer Sasivarevic in the 55th minute for what he must have determined was a case of denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity, although the attacker, Ballew was being forced wide of the goal about 35 yards out and Phillips, the center back, was tracking back behind the play when it happened. Just before the sending-off, Shelton had added Lane United’s fourth by charging down Dodson, the goalkeeper, as he tried to clear an under-hit backpass. Shelton created his own luck by throwing himself into the situation and was rewarded when the ball deflected off him straight back into the vacated net.
The pattern of the game shifted after the red card, as Lane United sat back to try and preserve the shutout and Puget Sound moved the ball around the attacking half, albeit without creating many clear-cut chances. Their goal came when their left-back, Justice Duerksen, hit an inswinging cross and no one, including the Lane United goalkeeper Lowrimore, was able to get a touch on it as it bounced in slow-motion toward the back post. There was little goalmouth action for the final 15 minutes. Bevans, who had somehow enjoyed even less protection than anyone else on the field from Tercero, almost scored by barging through two questionable challenges in a penalty-box scramble, then a few minutes later was taken off before his understandable frustration with the referee boiled over into anything punishable. The match phased out quietly, and when the final whistle eventually blew, Lane United had preserved its unbeaten start and moved to seven points, good for second place in the Northwest Division for now and their first away match, to Kitsap in seven days, looming.
Conner Bevans, the Lane United FC starting forward and scorer of the club’s first goal in its PDL history, is headed east for a week-long trial with the 2013 MLS champions Sporting Kansas City. He left for Kansas City yesterday evening and will be back on May 29, in time for the Reds’ next game against Puget Sound Gunners on May 31.
“One of their goals in the summer is to identify and bring in potential MLS prospects, and he’s certainly one of them,” said Lane United head coach John Galas. Asked if the news of Bevans’ goal on Friday night against Seattle had an effect on Kansas City’s decision, Galas said, “I think the call to bring him in probably happened before that, but the goal definitely doesn’t hurt. It’s great for us to have our players train at the MLS level; when we get Conner back he’ll certainly be in great rhythm and great form.”
Lane United FC drew 1-1 with the Washington Crossfire in a game that, while not especially ill-tempered, saw the home team finish with only nine players on the pitch and the striker Khiry Shelton pulling emergency duty at center back. The Crossfire’s Matthew Poplawski had opened the scoring after only five minutes, but Washington could never add a second goal and, already down to ten men after the dismissal of Brenden Anderson for two yellow cards, Lane United got their equalizer in the 60th minute from the penalty spot after Baldo Ribes was fouled.
The match started with the Crossfire immediately applying pressure into the Lane United defensive third. A long throw-in that was launched in the vicinity of the penalty spot ended up with Poplawsky prodding a low shot that the Lane United goalkeeper Matt Bersano barely saved, then following up his own rebound and tapping into an empty net. For the next give minutes, the Crossfire kept pressing and created what no one knew at the time would be their best chance of the rest of the game, when Anderson had to race back and clear a trickling shot from Poplawski off the line. After that point, Lane United’s midfielders and forwards started to feel the game out and maintain possession, springing several attacks that just lacked a final ball. Shelton and Conner Bevans both had strong low shots on their preferred right foot that forced saves out of the Washington goalkeeper Tyler Visten. The Crossfire defenders must have been concerned at the amount of space behind the midfield that Lane United’s forwards, plus Mikhail Doholis, the most attack-minded midfielder, had to run at them.
The game could have changed—-but in reality, it barely did—-when Anderson was sent off in the 40th minute for his second yellow card after he brought down Poplawski who was racing behind the back line. John Galas reshuffled his defense, took off the forward Chico Sastre and replaced him with a fullback, Tyler Stelter, and the status quo was effectively upheld. Lane United still had space to attack, and Martin Lukaschik hit the post on a half-volley thirty seconds before halftime. Ten minutes into the second half, Lukaschik was subbed out and on came Baldo Ribes; five minutes later, he won a penalty by shifting the ball past Andy Thoma, who swung out his boot and clipped the Valencian’s ankle. Shelton passed the ball low into the right corner and the score was tied.
Chances came and went for both teams after that point, and it seemed likely that more goals were coming. Galas dropped Shelton back into the midfield and introduced Velazquez as a lone striker; he created several chances almost completely on his own. He was also booked for simulation when it appeared to everyone but the referee that the defender, Justin Schmidt, had thrown him down. Schmidt made no remonstrations after the initial whistle, seemingly expecting a booking for a tactical foul, then walked sheepishly away as the 17-year-old was booked for diving.
Rivas’ loose attitude towards physical play contact eventually resulted in the incident where Lane United’s other center-back, Julio Alarcon, was sent off in the 88th minute. Alarcon was dragged down by a combination slide-tackle and rugby-tackle in the corner as he attempted to shield the ball out of play, then did something to react to his opponent on the ground—-the camera footage is obstructed on his actual movement and no one except the players close by and the referee could have possibly had a clear view of the incident. He was then shoved violently to the ground by Poplawski, who escaped with only a yellow, although the league will certainly be reviewing the entire incident. It was a sour end to a match that had been full of open, attacking play throughout and seemed to deserve more goals than the 1-1 scoreline suggests.
Lane United won the first PDL game in its history 1-0 Friday night behind a single goal from Conner Bevans in the 21st minute. From that minute onward, Lane United was forced to hold on, relying heavily on the expertise of goalkeeper Matt Bersano and center-halves Julio Alarcon and Brenden Anderson for prolonged stretches of pressure in the second half. A red card for Seattle’s Clement Simonin, for his second bookable offense, in the 83rd minute took some of the sting out of the final ten minutes of the match, and Seattle never posed a serious threat afterward.
The match began slowly, with Lane United very deliberate in their attempts to pass out of the back. Often, the ball never made it to the forward line of their 4-3-3 before possession was lost. When it did break to Rolando Velazquez on the left or Khiry Shelton in the target-man role, the attacking quality on display was impressive. Velazquez and the attacking midfielder Doholis had both played in a few decent crosses from the left wing before the former found himself with the ball at his feet, Conner Bevans to his right and the chance to break, with only Seattle’s two center-halves between them and the goal. Velazquez slid a perfectly-weighted through-ball to Bevans, who timed his run excellently, and he was in utterly alone to pass the ball past the stranded Seattle keeper Jake Feener to the far post.
The goal had little effect on the pattern of the rest of the first half. Jamael Cox’s zippiness and Niko Hansen’s formidable straight-line speed meant that they occasionally made worrying forays into the Lane United attacking third, but Bersano only had one real save to make when Hansen shot hard to the near post from the right side of the penalty box.
LUFC’s starting right back, Dirk van der Velde, had aggravated a lingering hamstring injury just before the goal and was replaced by Casey Phillips, who played on the right the rest of the game as Amer Sasivarevic switched to the left. Phillips bore the brunt of Seattle’s pressure in the second half—Luis Esteves and Hansen were constantly allowed to run at him. Alarcon provided good cover and cut out a surprising number of aerial crosses for someone of his sub-6’ stature, but Seattle’s best chances of the game came from the left flank in the second half. First, Esteves dropped a cross onto the head of Thomas di Villardi, who couldn’t direct his header down at the goal frame. Then ten minutes later, Esteves cut in and plastered a shot on his right foot low to Bersano’s near post, and the keeper did very well to push it around for a corner. In the meantime, all manner of crosses and incisive runs were flying into the Lane United box and somehow no clearer chances than those two materialized. On the Lane United end, Shelton’s remarkable ability to either win fouls or hold up the ball and recycle to the midfielders meant that Lane United occasionally had chances to rest and ease forward, but with 15 minutes left, it was largely one-way traffic coming back at them.
Simonin’s two second-half yellow cards each came from ill-advised challenges that won the ball. In the first, around the 60th minute, he raised his foot too high to prod the ball away from Velazquez near midfield and ended up cleating the 17-year-old Lane United attacker in the shin. In the 83rd minute, he leapt into a full-blooded tackle on Martin Lukaschik—again, he won the ball first, but again, the nature of the challenge was too reckless for the referee Andrew Marihart to ignore.
The last ten minutes passed without much incident, Matt Bersano gathering the few half-chance through-balls that Seattle managed to put through. Sounders defenders were twice cautioned for cynically tugging back nascent breakaways. When Marihart blew his whistle three minutes into stoppage time with red smoke drifting onto the field from the Red Aces’ south grandstand, a flood of young fans streamed onto the field to celebrate a hard-earned victory for the area’s new franchise.
The Red Aces and Lane United are very pleased to announce an initiative to provide tickets for Lane United home match to local soccer-playing youth. Matthew Auxier, a Red Aces member and social studies teacher at Agnes Stewart Middle School, directly adjacent to the Willamalane Center, combined with Lane United managing director Dave Galas to launch the initiative: fans will be able to donate tickets to students at the middle school in exchange for a voucher for 10% off all Lane United merchandise at the club store.
“We were well aware through Matt (Auxier) of the huge interest in soccer among the Agnes Stewart student body,” said Dave Galas, Lane United’s managing director. “However, we also knew that a lot of kids in the neighborhood and the school might not have the luxury of being able to buy tickets for all of the games. I knew this was a win-win situation the moment Matt suggested it to us.”
Several busloads of students from Agnes Stewart, all of whom play soccer, got to attend Lane United’s training session on Wednesday, May 14 as part of a field trip. At the conclusion of the session, they met Lane United players, got autographs signed and were given six soccer balls by the club.
Fans who want to donate tickets are encouraged to contact Dave Galas at Lane United for the time being. Donation centers will be set up at home games and at the Oakshire Public House in the future; updates will be posted on the website and Lane United’s social media outlets when that is the case.
Lane United has rounded out its roster for the 2014 season by naming the last three players to join the club. Two Spaniards, Mikel Selles and Josep “Baldo” Ribes, and a Brazilian, Armando Filho, will be coming to Eugene by the start of the season.
Filho, who enjoyed a productive freshman season at Post University in Connecticut alongside fellow Brazilian Chico Sastre in the fall of 2013, was an early scouting target of Lane United head coach John Galas. Unfortunately, Galas said, he suffered a torn ACL during the season and will continue his rehabilitation with Lane United over the summer. Galas said Filho stands a chance, given the already solid progress of his recovery, of earning playing time by the end of the summer.
The two Spaniards, Selles and Antillaque, come to Lane United on markedly different paths. Selles “reached out to us online,” Galas said, while he was playing for English non-league side Christchurch FC. Galas’ Spanish coaching acquaintance Jaime Alonso was able to scout and interview Selles and arrange for him to come to Lane United for the 2014 season.
Galas had had his eye on Borja Antillaque, a Valencian player, since April. “Borja came through the trials conducted by Legacy Global Sports on our behalf in Valencia, Spain recently. He was by far the best player out of the 200 at the trials,” Galas said. “Unfortunately, Borja broke his ankle just as we were prepared to announce him. Alex Peralt, however, was able to recommend Baldo (Ribes) as a player of commensurate quality, and those two will be traveling together to Eugene from Spain early next week. I think the fans will be really pleased to have players of this quality on the pitch in front of them all season.”
With the addition of these three players, Lane United has now filled out its roster for the 2014 season.
Lane United FC head coach John Galas revealed the names of seven players, based in and around Eugene, who have made it onto the final roster via the tryout process that started back in January. Max Hawes, Daley Stevens, Tyler Stelter, Ryan Trutner, Luke Connolly, Ian Malony and Edgar Gomez have sufficiently impressed in training and the recent practice matches to earn a spot in the squad, Galas said.
“We are excited to welcome these local players into the squad,” Galas said. “Throughout the tryout period they have shown great commitment, energy and a clear desire to make this team. To be able to have a core of local talent is an added bonus for LUFC. They are all very visible in the local soccer community, and they have all shown they are ready to compete for playing time this year. It’s a balanced group, as we have added three defenders, three midfielders and two strikers. I am really encouraged by their progress over the last few months and I’m excited to have them on board.”
Edgar Gomez, alone among the local players, has experience at the PDL level, having played a season with Lane United’s Northwest Division opponents Kitsap Pumas. The rest come from various local organizations, including the University of Oregon men’s club team and the Eugene Metro Futbol Club Mundial side.
Full training sessions for Lane United start Monday, May 5 at 9:30 a.m. at the Willamalane Center. Galas said that during the first week, the first thirty minutes of each practice session will be open to the public and the media.