Monthly Archives: June 2014

Puget Sound Gunners 1, Lane United FC 0

June 27, 2014
LANE UNITED FC  0  -  PUGET SOUND GUNNERS  1 Goalscorers: Duerksen 17' Cautioned: Cook (PSG) 85' Venue: Issaquah High School, Issaquah, WA Attendance: 100 Referee: Vernon Winters


Goalscorers: Duerksen 17′

Cautioned: Cook (PSG) 85′

Venue: Issaquah High School, Issaquah, WA

Attendance: 100

Referee: Vernon Winters

Lane United FC lost to the Puget Sound Gunners 1-0 on a cool, drizzly evening in Issaquah, Washington. In the 17th minute, Justice Duerksen curled in a beautiful free kick from 25 yards to give the home team the lead, and they withstood the ensuing 75 minutes of nearly constant possession and patient pressure from Lane United to claim victory. With head coach John Galas shifting his team into a 4-5-1, the game had a completely different shape from the previous two ragged losses; Lane United’s midfield quintet regularly held onto possession for long periods and minimized the cheap giveaways that had cost them so frequently against Seattle and Victoria. Dirk van der Velde at right back frequently played far enough forward to count as a sixth midfielder, but Puget Sound played calculated defense, sitting deep and never allowing themselves to be overwhelmed by the numbers.

Galas said afterward that he was “happy with the team’s performance,” noting that “we did everything right, played solid defense, but lacked the killer ball in the final third.” Aside from the expertly taken goal, Puget Sound’s only other real chance came when Jeffrey Rose rattled the crossbar with a thunderous 30-yard shot out of nothing in the middle of the second half. Josep Baldoví, Lane United’s clear leader on shots over the course of the game, twice forced Keegan Rogers, the Gunners’ keeper, to tip well-struck efforts from mid-range over the bar. But no one on the Lane United side ever forced Rogers into a save with a shot from inside the penalty box; the closest chances besides Baldo’s two efforts came when the keeper left his line to barely cut out passes or crosses. Rolando Velazquez and Conner Bevans, so adept at making runs past a high defensive line, were unable to find the necessary space for shots against a defense that was willing to drop back into the penalty area at the first hint of pressure.

Galas said that “we’ll take a lot of positives out of this match; our passing was very fluid at times and we didn’t make too many careless mistakes.” The Reds head to Salem on Tuesday for what is nominally an away game against the Portland Timbers U-23s, then to Canada later in the week for a demanding two-games-in-24-hours test against Vancouver and Victoria.


Victoria Highlanders 7, Lane United 0

June 22, 2014
LANE UNITED FC  0  -  VICTORIA HIGHLANDERS 7 Goalscorers: O'Neil (PK) 16', Hundal 31', Basso 53', Greedy 59', Prette 77', Stokes 84', Stokes 90'+2 Cautioned: Hundal (VHFC) 7', Dietrich (LUFC) 37', Baldo (LUFC) 83' Venue: Willamalane Center, Springfield, OR Attendance: 317 Referee: Carlos Tercero


Goalscorers: O’Neil (PK) 16′, Hundal 31′, Basso 53′, Greedy 59′, Prette 77′, Stokes 84′, Stokes 90’+2

Cautioned: Hundal (VHFC) 7′, Dietrich (LUFC) 37′, Baldo (LUFC) 83′

Venue: Willamalane Center, Springfield, OR

Attendance: 317

Referee: Carlos Tercero

Lane United FC crashed to a 7-0 home defeat to the Victoria Highlanders Sunday evening, in an attractive and often evenly contested match in which only one team was able to provide any end product in front of goal. One statistic goes a long way to explaining everything: Lane United out-shot Victoria 18 to 13, but still managed to lose by seven. Coach John Galas said afterward that he was “frustrated because our team created some of our best chances all season, five or six really good chances, and we couldn’t do a thing with them.” By contrast, Victoria provided some incredibly accomplished finishing, the pick of them probably being the last kick of the game when Cameron Stokes chipped Matt Bersano from the corner of the penalty box and saw the ball nestle in off the underside of the crossbar. It was a fitting end to the game — almost anything the Highlanders tried in front of goal came off perfectly, while anything the hosts did was always a few feet off from success.

No clear-cut chances had passed for either team until the 16th minute, when Jack O’Connor, starting at left fullback, brought down the Victoria forward Ian Greedy as he raced past on the right side of the penalty box. Riley O’Neil calmly converted the penalty for the lead, then inadvertently created the second goal fifteen minutes later when he mis-hit a shot from the edge of the box, which was deflected and popped out of the forest of bodies at the feet of Cam Hundal, standing all alone 12 yards from goal. His finish, too, was calm and unerring with Bersano charging him down, and suddenly Victoria were two up. The last action before halftime saw Lane United’s best chance when Josep Baldoví was played through but denied by the legs of the onrushing Brandon Watson, out from Victoria’s net.

The Reds carried some of the hope from the end of the first half into the beginning of the second, but it was dashed when Carlo Basso scored Victoria’s third in the 53rd minute. Andrew Ravenhill made an interception, bombed down the left wing and played an inch-perfect ball across the face of goal for Basso to smash in at the back post. The pattern of the goal underscored what would be a continual problem for LUFC and their tired legs — seemingly harmless turnovers in midfield suddenly transitioning into ruthless breakaways for the opponents, as few of the players in red had the energy to keep up with, much less disrupt, the Victoria players streaming forward. Four games in eight days had clearly exhausted them physically, although Galas wouldn’t take it as an excuse, indicating that he thought his players “had left their heads back in the building watching the World Cup game beforehand.” He added that “it’s been a long week, and I thought a 4-0 loss in Seattle would get it into their heads that they need to be more focused to succeed at this level, but maybe it takes seven at home for them to understand.”

Asked whether he thought 7-0 was an unfair scoreline, Galas demurred, suggesting that soccer is a sport where results are “100% decided” by teams being able to make the most of their limited number of chances, and that “today’s score proves that nicely.” At 4-0 after 70 minutes, Lane United were throwing everything at the goal but still failing to find the net, with Baldo missing by inches on a fantastic volley in the box and Conner Bevans getting played in behind the defense twice in five minutes. Watson saved his first shot, then forced him too wide when Bevans tried to round him a few minutes later. As soon as they had weathered that storm, Victoria got their fifth off what might have been an accidental shot from Sam Prette, then soon added the sixth off a route-one flick and finish between Greedy and Stokes, respectively. There was little anyone could do about Stokes’ brilliant chip for the seventh, and when the final whistle blew immediately afterward, the Highlanders had the biggest margin of victory in their 7-year history. Lane United now have four full days to recuperate before facing the Puget Sound Gunners in Issaquah on Friday.

Seattle Sounders FC U-23s 4, Lane United FC 0

June 20, 2014
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC U23  4  -  LANE UNITED FC  0 Goalscorers: Hansen 10’, Morris 54’, Bazja (PK) 58’, Lee 62' Cautioned: van der Velde (LUFC) 84' Venue: Sunset Stadium, Sumner, WA Attendance: 256


Goalscorers: Hansen 10’, Morris 54’, Bazja (PK) 58’, Lee 62′

Cautioned: van der Velde (LUFC) 84′

Venue: Sunset Stadium, Sumner, WA

Attendance: 256

Lane United hit the low point of their inaugural season with a 4-0 loss to a fresh Seattle Sounders FC U23 team in Sumner, WA. Still clearly suffering the effects of the mentally and physically draining match against Washington Crossfire 48 hours earlier, the Reds were only able to keep the scoreline even for the first 10 minutes, when the Seattle fullback Clement Simonin avoided detection at the back post and headed the ball back across the face of goal for Niko Hansen to score from six yards. In the ensuing ten minutes, Christian Dietrich on the left and the new acquisition Johnny Chronopolous on the right were able to make some inroads on the wings that led to Lane United’s best chances of the match. Chronopolous twice won free kicks that led to ultimately fruitless scrambles in the box, and Vizcaino crashed a header against the crossbar around the 20th minute after a foray from Dietrich had led to a corner. Lane United would not get any closer than that for the rest of the game.

At halftime, still clinging onto a 1-0 deficit, Galas elected to substitute some of his main weapons, all of whom had played 90 minutes against the Crossfire on Wednesday and will be absolutely essential to a good result against the Victoria Highlanders on Sunday. Brenden Anderson, Pancho Vizcaino, and Martin Lukaschik came out, with the relatively untested Matt Arbogast and Joseph Bolous coming in along with the regular substitute Daley Stevens. It meant, crucially, that the back line only had one regular starter (Casey Phillips) in his normal position, with Dirk van der Velde moved in to center back from his normal fullback role, where he has played exclusively this season. Again, the defense lasted ten minutes of the half before being split open by slick passing down the left wing; the end result was Jamael Cox gliding in uncontested at Matt Bersano, who had to stay tight to his near post and was helpless when Cox pulled it back to Jordan Morris to pass into an empty net.

Lane United still looked up for the fight, but a dubious penalty call four minutes later effectively ended the game. Joseph Bolous got called for climbing over Hansen on an aerial challenge, even though the forward was not making an attempt to play the ball and not even moving towards it. Bazja drilled the penalty low and to the right. Four minutes later, Seattle got their fourth when Mark Lee chased down a ball played back to Bersano and slide-tackled it cleanly from him, then got up and passed the ball into the vacated net. Half-chances came and went for both teams afterward, but each team used its full complement of six substitutes and played essentially with the hand-brake on for the final 20 minutes.

“We played well enough to beat the Crossfire on Wednesday and dropped points,” head coach John Galas said after the game. “We spent a lot of energy in that match chasing those points and it came back to haunt us tonight, because we never really got out of the gate. It was a combination of tired legs and a lack of competitive fire. We will regroup and get after it on Sunday. We have the best fans in the league and want to reward them with a solid performance on Sunday against a very good team in the Victoria Highlanders.” That game is at 6:00 p.m., and will see a Highlanders team also in the midst of a tough road trip; they will play the Portland Timbers U-23s in Portland less than 24 hours before kicking off against Lane United.

Washington Crossfire 2, Lane United FC 1

June 19, 2014
WASHINGTON CROSSFIRE  2  -  LANE UNITED FC 1 Goalscorers: Poplawski (WA) 25’, Lukaschik (LUFC) 29’, Haddadi (WA) 67’ Cautioned: Selles (LUFC) 9’, Kollars (WA) 20’, Kiembi (LUFC) 77’, Besagno (WA) 84' Sent off:  Venue: Redmond High School, Redmond, WA Attendance: < 30


Goalscorers: Poplawski (WA) 25’, Lukaschik (LUFC) 29’, Haddadi (WA) 67’

Cautioned: Selles (LUFC) 9’, Kollars (WA) 20’, Kiembi (LUFC) 77’, Besagno (WA) 84′

Sent off: 

Venue: Redmond High School, Redmond, WA

Attendance: < 30

Lane United FC continued its streak of three games without a point by losing 2-1 to the Washington Crossfire in a match that they would have won comfortably, if soccer were a just game. On a high school football field in Redmond, in front of no more than two dozen home supporters, Lane United oozed quality from about the tenth minute onward, linking up all over the field, launching menacing-looking attacks, and rarely allowing their opponents to string more than a few passes together. But when the final whistle blew, the Crossfire had claimed victory thanks to two goals that were essentially tap-ins, while the Reds were left to wonder how they had failed to net more than one goal, way back in the 29th minute, from all of their good attacking play.

With standout forward Khiry Shelton likely gone for the rest of the season, head coach John Galas trotted out a different formation than his usual 4-3-3, choosing instead a 4-1-3-1-1, with Conner Bevans as the out-and-out striker and Martin Lukaschik behind him in a “number nine and a half” role. To say that Lukaschik thrived there would be an understatement. He scored Lane United’s only goal of the game by trailing a Bevans breakaway and absolutely lashing home the striker’s cross first-time. Three other times in the first half, he found loads of space to shoot from around the top of the box; two were saved, one spectacularly, by the Crossfire’s very astute goalkeeper Tyler Visten, and one blazed just over the bar off his left foot. He also picked out, or was inches away from picking out, Bevans sprinting through the center of the Washington defense on at least five other occasions. Lane United’s best chance to equalize once they’d fallen behind 2-1 in the second half also featured Lukaschik, this time pulling strings with Josep Baldoví and eventually finding the Spaniard on the right side of the box, 16 yards from goal, only to see him shoot a foot too high.

Lane United’s overwhelming superiority in the midfield, with Pancho Vizcaino and Mikel Selles complementing Lukaschik and Baldo, meant that the Crossfire often gave away possession before even having a chance to test the Reds’ back line. When they did, though, it looked shaky. The best chance of the first 20 minutes fell to Hamza Haddadi, the Crossfire striker, when he somehow found himself utterly unmarked at the penalty spot but couldn’t head Cesar Rocha’s cross from the left on target. Of course no one knew it then, but this was an alarmingly exact foreshadow of the game-winning goal in the 67th minute. In that one, Sean Russel, the left fullback, had time to play in an inswinging cross to the spot of his choice, which turned out to be about ten yards from goal. Again, Haddadi was somehow completely alone and this time he headed it comfortably past the goalkeeper Chris Lowrimore, who had tried to come off his line at the last second and interfere once he noticed the seriousness of the situation.

The Crossfire’s opening goal also came to them remarkably easily. In the 25th minute, Haddadi knocked over Brenden Anderson from behind on the left wing to dispossess him in what looked like an obvious foul—Galas said after the game there was “no question” it was a foul, although it went unwhistled by referee Chuck Spaniola—and then raced in toward the goal, playing it across the face for Matt Poplawski to tap in at the back post. That score opened the proverbial floodgates in the opposite direction, with Lukaschik scoring his thumping goal four minutes later and Lane United looking certain to score on every wave of attack they threw forward until halftime. The Crossfire escaped to the break with the score still at 1-1, then survived several more Lane United attacks in the first 20 minutes of the second half. Lukaschik got a decent shot off after close-range passing in the penalty box, only to have Visten save it, then Conner Bevans turned and prodded the ball off the crossbar from 15 yards after Christian Dietrich had sliced in from the right wing and fed him a crisp pass.

A minute later, Bevans was substituted for Pierce Kiembi, and a minute after that, the Crossfire got their winner through Haddadi. The final 20 minutes were more frantic and unstructured than before, with Lane United eventually opting for more direct long balls into the Crossfire box and, for the last ten minutes, the Crossfire not even pretending to try to play out of their defensive end, only booting clearances as high and wide as possible. Galas said afterwards that his team “hadn’t done enough to win. We were certainly in control of the match, but we keep shooting ourselves in the foot with mental lapses that cost us points.” It was an uncompromising assessment, but one that fits with one of the central dicta of soccer: it doesn’t matter how well anyone can play if they fail to make the most of their chances. The team will stay in the Seattle area until Friday evening’s match against the Sounders FC U23, which Galas characterized as a “must-win” and a chance to make amends after two heart-wrenching losses in a row.

Kitsap Pumas 2, Lane United FC 1

June 15, 2014
LANE UNITED FC  1 -  KITSAP PUMAS  2 Goalscorers: Bevans (LUFC) 24', Sanchez (Kitsap) 66', Sanchez (Kitsap) 90' + 3' Cautioned: Devlin (Kitsap) 19', Bevans (LUFC) 30', Catalano (Kitsap) 30', Shelton (LUFC) 41' Sent off: Shelton (Kitsap) 88' Venue: Willamalane Center, Springfield, OR Attendance: 400


Goalscorers: Bevans (LUFC) 24′, Sanchez (Kitsap) 66′, Sanchez (Kitsap) 90′ + 3′

Cautioned: Devlin (Kitsap) 19′, Bevans (LUFC) 30′, Catalano (Kitsap) 30′, Shelton (LUFC) 41′

Sent off: Shelton (Kitsap) 88′

Venue: Willamalane Center, Springfield, OR

Attendance: 400

Lane United FC suffered their first home defeat of the season, losing to the Kitsap Pumas 2-1 off a goal from Chuy Sanchez in the 93rd minute. Sanchez, who had also scored his team’s equalizer in the 66th minute, was one of the only steadying influences for the visitors in what was a chaotic, chippy match from the kickoff until the final seconds. His goals were high-quality finishes, the first off a first-time volley in the penalty box and the winner from a 19-yard free kick that he somehow finessed over the wall and down into the net, with Lane United’s stalwart goalkeeper Matt Bersano rooted to the spot. Lane United, also not wanting in the beautiful-goals department, had opened the scoring in the first half with Conner Bevans finishing a sublime pass from Josep Baldoví.

Kitsap thought they had the first goal of the game under ten minutes in when Septi Danciu poached a tap-in in the box after some scrambling following a long throw. He was ruled offside, though, and the fact that no one protested it means it was probably an easy decision. Khiry Shelton then got in on the act, in one graceful motion controlling and firing a volley from about 15 yards out, forcing Matt Grosey into a good diving save. Bersano went tit-for-tat by denying Danciu on a breakaway a minute later, then goalmouth action took a back seat to holding, chipping, robust aerial challenges and ill-advised slides as Lucas Brooks, the referee, struggled to get control of the game. He handed out four yellow cards in the first half alone. But with this match falling only eight days after the first clash between the two teams, it might have been expected that the familiarity would breed contempt even though the first match had not had much of a rough edge.

Above the fray glided Baldo for Lane United and Sanchez for Kitsap. The former drew first blood in the 24th minute by slotting Conner Bevans in on an absolutely delicious pass that instantly eliminated both Kitsap center-backs, from which Bevans swept the ball past an onrushing Grosey first-time for a 1-0 lead. Bevans almost returned the favor to his Spanish teammate a few minutes later by racing down the right wing and sliding in a cross that Cory Keitz, Kitsap’s best defender and recent PDL Team of the Week selection, slid and cut out at the last possible second. Sanchez missed a golden chance to equalize by misconnecting with a free header 10 yards from goal a few minutes before halftime. Because real chances after that were so few and far between until his eventual goal, he must have been worried that he’d missed his only chance to bring his team back in the game. But he and Catalano combined efficiently for the second goal in the 66th minute. Straight off a bouncing throw-in, Catalano flicked the ball over the marker that was on his back, right into Sanchez’ path; for a split-second, it looked like he had too much adjustment to do in order to hit a shot, but he squeezed off a first-time volley anyway that went into the side netting.

Andy Devlin almost scored a spectacular bicycle kick two minutes later that would have sealed Kitsap’s comeback, but Dirk van der Velde headed the ball off the line. Things went quiet for the next 15 minutes as the flow of the game was interrupted by sloppy touches and injuries, including a worrying one that ended the day for Julio Alarcon, Lane United’s brick wall of a center half. With five minutes left in regulation, the game began to get stretched and chances opened up at both ends, then Kitsap’s Cody Shelton earned a straight red card in the 88th minute for a medieval slide tackle on Baldo that stifled a counter attack. Everything hung in the balance until Lane United gave away a foul at the edge of their own penalty area in injury time and Sanchez guided the ball over the wall for the game-winner. It capped a brilliant all-around performance from him, in what was not always a particularly brilliant game. Starting Wednesday, Lane United begin a grueling stretch of three games in five days, two on the road against Washington Crossfire and the Seattle Sounders FC U23 followed by one at home against the second-place Victoria Highlanders. Quickly forgetting the disappointment of this loss will be essential to gaining points from any one of those three tricky encounters.

Kitsap Pumas 2, Lane United FC 0

June 7, 2014


LANE UNITED FC 0  -  KITSAP PUMAS 2 Goalscorers: Sanchez (PK) 13, Gonzales 44 Cautioned: Sanchez 90 Sent off:  Venue: Gordon Park Field, Bremerton, WA Attendance: 435


Goalscorers: Sanchez (PK) 13, Gonzales 44

Cautioned: Sanchez 90

Sent off: 

Venue: Gordon Park Field, Bremerton, WA

Attendance: 435

Lane United FC lost its first match of the season to an opportunistic Kitsap team who pounced on two first-half mistakes to score the game’s only goals. The Pumas’ fast, powerful forward Miguel Gonzales was responsible for both goals, winning a penalty for Chuy Sanchez to convert in the 13th minute and then scoring himself after intercepting a back-header and rounding Matt Bersano a minute before halftime. The second goal was the real game-changer, as Lane United were about even with the hosts until that point, and probably would not have minded going into halftime down 1-0. But a two-goal deficit to the division leaders on the road was a huge task to overcome, and they never made a dent in it in the second 45 minutes.

The 435 fans at Kitsap’s Gordon Field Park were treated to a wide-open 15 minutes. Both teams won multiple corners, Matthew Grosey in Kitsap’s goal had to slide at Khiry Shelton’s feet to barely dispossess him after five minutes, and Kitsap already had two shots on goal before the penalty occurred. Both teams hadn’t wasted any time in midfield, looking up and wide to their forwards quickly, and the penalty was born from the same pattern of play: Gonzales took down a pass, ran straight at Anderson and when he tried to challenge, the ball pinged straight forward past him. Anderson attempted to chase back but got his legs caught up with Gonzales’ just inside the corner of the penalty box and the referee, Chipalo Street, made the relatively easy decision of pointing to the spot. Cortez hit an unstoppable penalty to Matt Bersano’s right for a 1-0 lead.

The pace of the game slowed down a little afterward, but Gonzales and the team’s leading scorer, Joaquin Rivas, continued to do a good job of latching onto long balls and odd bounces and both were able to squeeze more shots off in the ensuing half-hour. Daley Stevens, starting for the first time for Lane United, found pockets of space to shoot from 20 yards twice, but each time it was on his left foot and each time his shot sailed harmlessly high. Possession was about even, with Kitsap and Lane United equally comfortable on the ball in all parts of the pitch. The only time Lane United looked especially unnerved is when long balls came forward; they were staring directly into the setting sun and had two tireless forwards breathing down their necks. The killer second goal came when Dirk van der Velde, the right-back, attempted to head the ball back to Bersano, but Gonzales stole in on a dead sprint, toed the ball up and around Bersano, and tapped it into an empty net. It was really smart opportunism from the forward, who didn’t initially look like he had a chance to reach the ball.

In the second half, Conner Bevans and Shelton both ran themselves ragged all over the attacking third but never ended up with the type of clear-cut chance that they excel at burying. Kitsap never made the mistake of being caught with too few players behind the ball, and quickly crowded out any half-chances that looked like they might develop from Lane United’s forwards and midfielders. They also continued to possess calmly, without being afraid to look long and wide to the forward wings whenever Lane United got too narrow. In other words, it was a clinical performance in defending a lead. Sanchez twice barely missed shots from centering passes by Gonzales, then Gonzales hit Bersano’s crossbar with an enormous volley after the substitute forward Septi Danciu had backheeled the ball into his path. The referee, Street, never had much trouble to deal with, handing out only one card in the 90th minute for apparent dissent. Mikhail Doholis, who came on for Stevens, hit a decent free kick that forced a diving save from Grosey just after that incident, but that was the last exciting action of the game. The result puts Kitsap at 15 points and keeps them in first in the division, although they have to face Lane United in Springfield next Sunday for what should be an evenly contested re-match.

Shelton Makes PDL Team of the Week, Phillips Honorable Mention

June 5, 2014

Khiry Shelton was named to the starting 11 in the Premier Development League’s Team of the Week, following his star performance on Saturday wherein he scored two goals and added an assist in Lane United’s 4-1 win over the Puget Sound Gunners.

Casey Phillips earned an honorable mention for his stalwart defensive effort, punctuated by an outrageous 35-yard wondergoal that put the Reds up 3-0 at the end of the first half.

Shelton had earned honorable mention once already, on May 22 following his strong performance in Lane United’s first game.


Khiry Shelton (above) and Casey Phillips (right). (photos: John Sperry / John D. Sperry Photography)

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