Monthly Archives: June 2015
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.
Lane United FC handily won its exhibition match, 8-0, against the all-stars of Springfield’s Liga Unida on Tuesday night. Casey Phillips opened the scoring for the Reds after 12 minutes with a typically powerful and well-placed left-footed shot, his first goal of the year, and a torrent of goals followed, with Lane United up 5-0 by halftime. Raul Muntean, Devonte Small, and Brenden Anderson all scored their first goals in a Lane United jersey, while Timothy Mueller bagged his 10th and 11th of 2015 in all competitions, putting him on a blistering pace of one per game, including at least one in the last five consecutive matches. The Liga Unida XI came closest to pulling a goal back in the middle of the second half, when Elvis Ontiveros cracked a 25-yard half-volley off the crossbar, but in the end they were outshot 20-2 by the PDL club.
After Phillips had opened the scoring in the 12th minute, Mueller blasted a 20-yard shot off the post a few minutes later and then decided to move closer in for his next few chances. In both, he simply ran past the Liga Unida center backs and finished 1v1 against goalkeeper Jonathan Morales, side footing past him the first time and chipping him the second. Devonte Small had assisted his second; in the 30th minute, Mueller returned the favor by crossing for Small to finish with a diving header. Cristian Cataluña then got into the act, crossing for Raul Muntean to prod home to make it 5-0 by halftime. Barely two minutes into the second half, Brenden Anderson rose to head in a Raul Muntean corner kick, then Small grabbed his second after Baldo had done most of the hard work, racing through midfield and eventually setting him up on the left side of the box. Baldo himself scored from the left side of the box ten minutes later — his first goal since the opening night of the season due to his long injury break — and that left the final tally at eight.
Lane United head coach John Galas commended “the professionalism with which both teams approached the game. Our guys went out and played to their abilities, and everyone was able to stay fresh and get the right number of minutes, and a few guys got on the scoresheet for their first time ever. And to (the Liga Unida team’s) credit, when they went down by a couple of goals they stayed composed, kept playing hard but fair, never got chippy. You could see the respect both teams had for each other out on the field.” Lane United next look forward to what is likely to be a very stiff test, on Saturday against the unbeaten and division-leading Kitsap Pumas at their home field in Bremerton, Washington. They return to the Willamalane Center for a massive home fixture against the Portland Timbers U-23s on the night of July 3.
Lane United FC were finally able to pick up all three points from a league match this season and they did it in some style, dispatching the visiting Puget Sound Gunners 4-2. Head coach John Galas said afterward that he had challenged his squad to assert themselves immediately from the kickoff, and Timothy Mueller took the coaching to heart, scoring 90 seconds into a match in which his father, Roland, traveling from Idaho, was in attendance for Father’s Day. Puget Sound got a deserved equalizer a quarter of an hour later through Robert Hyams, but then repeatedly found themselves exposed at the back from Lane United’s incisive attacking possession, culminating in a goal from Dirk van der Velde — also with his father, Chris, looking on in the stands — in the 32nd minute. The second half belonged to Lane United, with Mueller adding a second after 70 minutes and Alex Pantoja winning and then converting a penalty before the Puget Sound substitute Javier Reyes added a consolation goal in stoppage time to avoid his team suffering a repeat of the same scoreline from their last visit to the Willamalane Center, in May of 2014.
Every indication before the match was that there would be goals — the two teams had produced six between them in a breathless 3-3 draw in Issaquah, Washington in May, and both were tired and perhaps a little stretched following losses on Friday night. Mueller, now Lane United’s leading scorer with seven on the season, is built to thrive against leggy defenders, so when Edgar Gomez floated a 40-yard ball to him between the center backs after only 90 seconds, it was no surprise to see him outpace one and then muscle off the other before calmly stroking his shot into the bottom corner of Cody Jewett’s net. Puget Sound had the better chances in the ensuing ten minutes before eventually getting an equalizer. The Gunners’ fullback Kevin Cook whipped a nearly impossible-to-defend cross to the back stick, where Hyams was on hand to rise highest and loop a header back across the face of goal over Bersano. A brief period of respite for both teams followed before Edgar Gomez pulled up with an injury and was replaced by Josep Baldoví, back after an almost six-week injury layoff; his presence changed the complexion of the match immediately, as his first move was to play Mueller through with an inspired through-ball, though the big man was forced too wide to be able to finish after rounding the goalkeeper. In the immediate turnaround from that incident, Puget Sound would get one of their best remaining chances, but Matt Bersano in goal for the Reds blocked a streaking Charles Pitts’ shot with his legs.
Lane United’s two fullbacks, van der Velde and Amer Sasivarevic, were the surprise providers of the goal that would put Lane United up by one going into halftime. Sasivarevic, whose outswinging crosses from the left wing have spelled danger for opponents all season, served a typically intelligent ball into the box after beating a defender; after Mueller couldn’t quite reach it, Jewett in goal appeared to have it covered, but he instead spilled his catch straight to van der Velde at the back post, who had a simple tap-in for 2-1. The Reds continued to press soon after, with Baldo going close from 22 yards, and then kept their foot to the pedal following the halftime interval. Early in the second half, Mueller was denied a breakaway when he was incorrectly called offsides on a ball that had been intentionally played straight to him by a Gunners defender. Half-chances then came and went at each end before Lane United put together their prettiest goal of the match, in the 69th minute. Following good midfield possession by Alex Pantoja, van der Velde fired a ball forward toward Devonte Small and Mueller, running in tandem. The Beavers teammates combined beautifully, with Small deftly flicking his first touch into Mueller’s path; he then outpaced the one remaining defender, rounded Jewett with ease and finished comfortably.
With that blow, the Gunners seemed mostly finished, although Lane United did occasionally show a worrying tendency to give up odds-on counters as they pushed for even more goals. In the 82nd minute, Pantoja notched his second of the season when, after playing a one-two with Devonte Small at the edge of the box, he attempted to race around the outside of the PSG fullback and was blocked off at full force. The Spaniard stepped up to take the ensuing penalty, burying it in the bottom right corner. Tempers threatened to boil over as the game approached stoppage time with a number of niggly incidents and demonstrative performances of dissent; finally the Puget Sound substitute Alexander White lost his cool completely and stamped on a prone Matthias Binder, with the referee Andrew Marihart no more than five yards away and looking straight at the two. After White’s expulsion, Puget Sound did get their consolation, with Reyes tapping in off a rebound. Galas, as any coach might, said he was “pretty disappointed with the lax defending that let them walk in and do that, even though we were up.” But he also was full of praise for his team’s attitude, saying that “they’ve fought through the losses, continued to give it everything in training, and this win is no more than they or the fans deserve today. They took care of business out on the field and I’m proud of the guys for continuing to push and making it happen.” Lane United now have an exhibition match to look forward to, on Tuesday night against an all-star team from Springfield’s Liga Unida, followed by a road trip to play the division leaders and 2014 national finalists Kitsap Pumas.
Lane United FC lost to the Seattle Sounders FC U23s 2-1 on Friday evening. In front of an impassioned crowd of 561, the Reds could not repeat the magic of 2014’s inaugural night, when they triumphed 1-0 over Seattle; in this year’s home fixture, their play was disjointed for long stretches and the visitors were consistently superior, although Lane United made the final minutes interesting with a stoppage-time goal from Timothy Mueller and an outrageous goalmouth incident that ended with Brenden Anderson being sent off. Lane United head coach John Galas bemoaned his team’s mistakes, saying that “if you shoot yourself in the foot at this level with mistakes and silly fouls in dangerous locations, you’ll be punished, and that’s exactly what happened with us.”
The game started with Guillermo Delgado, the Seattle number nine, running straight past the Lane United central defense inside the first minute and wasting a clear shot from 15 yards by blasting it into the side netting. Alex Pantoja narrowly missed the opposite net on a deflected effort a few minutes later, and then the teams settled into a pattern of less coherent, incisive play. Neither keeper saved a shot the entire match. What attacks did materialize tended to come from Seattle, and when they did, their right winger Florian Valot tended to be involved. He ended the night with a goal and an assist to his name, a fitting reward for an attacking performance which was causing the Reds’ back line trouble well before his team’s first goal came. When it did, in the 31st minute, it was hardly the result of a well-oiled attack; a few nice passes in midfield seemed to have fizzled out when Casey Phillips easily intercepted a through-ball, but he and goalkeeper Chris Lowrimore then miscommunicated in the penalty box, leading to Valot picking up a loose ball and with everyone suddenly at sea, passing to Delgado to slot into an open net.
The second half was largely cut from the same cloth as the first, with Seattle having the edge in attacking and half-chances. In the 54th minute their second goal, as with their first, materialized from an odd sequence, this time Cristian de Luis being penalized for dangerous play with a high boot near the corner with Seattle not particularly threatening at the moment in attack. But a foul is a foul, and all of a sudden, the Sounders were salivating over a dangerous free kick from the wing. When it was swung in viciously by Brandt Bronico, Valot again distinguished himself by separating from his marker and turning a free header from about eight yards past a helpless Lowrimore in goal. Galas said he was happier with his team’s performance in the final 30 minutes of the match, but by then they had given themselves an uphill task. Seattle soon substituted the goalscoreres, Valot and Delgado, and were content to sit and soak up what pressure LUFC could muster. The Reds were finally able to pull a goal back in the first minute of stoppage time with a very good move. Richy Hurtado raced forward down the left channel and slipped a pass wide to Amer Sasivarevic on the wing; with his second touch, he whipped an inch-perfect cross to the near post where Mueller had shown typically adroit penalty-box movement to steal a few inches on his man. He still had work to do but was able to flick an expert header across the face of goal, which nestled in the opposite side netting. The crowd roared in hopes that the final few minutes of stoppage time could see the Reds snatch an improbable point, but it wasn’t to be, with Seattle keeper Paul Christensen intercepting their two final long balls into the box.
Unfortunately, most memories of the night will concern the red-card incident at the end of the match. With the second of those final long balls into the Seattle box, Lane United’s Anderson collided forcefully with Christensen after he had already caught the ball, dislodging it; Anderson then knocked it into the empty net, though not before referee J.J. Blodgett had blown play dead for Anderson’s initial foul. No less than five Seattle players then converged on Anderson while he was on the ground; video from behind the goal, which Lane United has shown to the league, showed players attempting to put Anderson in a headlock and swinging punches at his head. The result of the melee was Anderson being shown a second yellow card and then a red, and a total of one Seattle player, Michael King, receiving a caution. Lane United head coach John Galas said that Blodgett had communicated the sentiment to him after the game that, “basically because my guy started it, all the retaliation was alright. I think (Anderson) deserved a little more protection than one yellow card when he’s lying on the ground with five guys on him.” Play never restarted after the brawl, which began at least five minutes into injury time. Lane United now have less than 48 hours before their next league match, at 12:00 pm on Sunday against the visiting Puget Sound Gunners.
Lane United FC kept their first clean sheet of the season and beat the visiting Vancouver Victory 1-0 behind a 21st-minute goal from the irrepressible Timothy Mueller. The Evergreen Premier League opponents Vancouver never looked likely to equalize and continued to surrender quality chances to the Reds throughout the match, only troubling the Lane United back line with a few passages of sustained pressure in the final ten minutes of the game. Lane United head coach John Galas regretted being “pinned back” for the finish, but otherwise commended his team’s clear command of their non-league opponents. “The clean sheet is the biggest thing for us, but also some of our possession was excellent. We moved the ball around very well on some of our attacks; my only regret is that we didn’t grab two or three more goals.”
On a night when Armando Filho suited up for the Reds for the first time after battling back from a repeat ACL injury sustained right before he was scheduled to make his debut in 2014, Lane United clearly benefited from the relaxed pace and physicality of play in comparison to some of their league fixtures. Casey ChubbFertal, starting at left-back, was the first to trouble Jordan Farr’s net with a violently struck but possibly mis-hit cross that forced the Vancouver goalkeeper to scramble to his near post and claw the effort away. A few moments later, Mueller bagged his sixth goal in seven games; having somehow been allowed to walk up to the edge of the penalty arc and shoot on his powerful right foot, he forced Farr to parry the ball up in the air and back toward the unguarded goal frame. Backtracking, Farr and a defender were able to keep the ball from crossing the goal line, only to find Mueller the first to respond to their desperate clearance and bang it back into the net before they could be on their feet again. Mueller showed his versatility a minute later when he almost provided an assist to a diagonally streaking Cristian Cataluña, only to over-hit the chipped through-ball slightly. Before the half was over, he had ended up with three more chances, none better than when he actually got past the onrushing Farr by lobbing a bouncing ball to himself, then took too long to control it and ended up scuffing a shot wide with defenders dropping back to cover the goalmouth.
Vancouver had loudly proclaimed victory when they beat a squad of Lane United trialists on their home turf in April, but this was an entirely different class of opponent: Mueller’s glut of chances told only part of the story. Equally impressive was how comfortably Lane United possessed the ball in most parts of the pitch. Attacks would start from the back and switch side to side a few times without the blue-and-white-clad visitors ever quite being able to touch the ball for themselves. John Galas singled out almost his entire starting eleven, name by name, after the game for “coming in with the right attitude, putting in an honest shift and taking care of the ball. Occasionally I thought we could have had more thrust and found the killer ball sooner, but the important thing is we were spaced well, had good rhythm and were secure with our possession.”
The Victory slowly built momentum in the second half, to the point where the last fifteen minutes of the game saw quite a bit of possession in the Lane United defensive third. But if the Reds were bending a little more, they never seemed like breaking; in the end, Chris Lowrimore only had to save one shot on target, a speculative 30-yard free kick from Tracy Hassan. Cristian de Luis and Luke Connolly, who each played the full 90 minutes in their first center-half partnership, did not have trouble winning the necessary aerial challenges or fifty-fifty tackles that, if lost, could have spelled difficulty for the Reds’ goal. They were helped by full-field sacrifices by some of their teammates, with Alex Pantoja and Armando Filho, the latter substituted on in the 68th minute, both tracking back to make recovery tackles at the top of the box at multiple points. Vancouver’s offensive improvements also occasionally came at the expense of Lane United breaks; Mueller might have converted another chance late in the second half after Deion Jones played him in, but the big Oregon State man went for power from about 15 yards, and ended up pounding the ball well over the goal. Deep into injury time, Vancouver’s Armando Guevara connected decently with a back-post header that went just wide, but that was as close as the Victory would get to avoiding the loss.
Lane United now begin a much-needed rest period of nine days before playing their next match, at home to the Seattle Sounders FC U23s on June 19 at 7:00 pm.
Lane United FC drew 1-1 with Calgary Foothills FC Friday night in Springfield, Oregon. The Reds were able to pick up their first home points of the 2015 PDL season in an even, entertaining match that head coach John Galas said afterward had ended in “a fair result.” For the first team all season, Calgary found themselves behind to an opening goal by an opponent, in this case Lane United’s scoring leader Timothy Mueller in the 27th minute, but they swiftly canceled out that advantage through their own top goalscorer Darius Ramsay in the 30th. From that point on the match tilted back and forth, but despite occasional good spells of pressure and even a few clear-cut chances at both ends, neither side were able to produce a winner.
On an unusually warm evening, with kickoff temperatures hovering around 85 degrees, Calgary at first looked the stronger side, with periods of incisive possession around the Lane United penalty area, but the Reds weathered the storm without allowing the visitors a clear look at goal. Lane United began to show their strongest threat, the immense power and pace of Mueller, playing as a lone striker in a heretofore-unused 4-1-4-1, in the ensuing passages, with the Oregon State man getting several chances to romp forward. In the 20th minute, he finally got the gilt-edged chance he’d been working towards, when Alex Pantoja — who was excellent in the 10 role all night — slipped him a gentle through-ball on the left, but Mueller elected to try to round Calgary goalkeeper Sean Melvin and was forced far enough wide that his ensuing shot could only find the side netting. Only seven minutes later, from almost an instant-replay of the first chance’s buildup, he was able to convert. Again Pantoja beat a man in midfield, this time by looping the ball over his defender to himself, and streamed forward, again with Mueller to his left. Waiting for the big man to release, Pantoja eventually weighted a perfectly timed through-ball and instead of trying to round Melvin, Mueller calmly slotted it underneath him with his left foot for the 1-0 lead.
The Reds certainly looked to be on top of Calgary in the lead-up to the goal but the visitors scored with almost their next attack. A cross was worked into an overloaded penalty box from the left, and when Jon Stadler and a Calgary forward canceled each other out in contesting for a header, the rebound fell to a totally unmarked Ramsay, who blasted it past Matt Bersano from only about 10 yards. Head coach John Galas lamented the ease with which his team conceded their lead, saying that “that was the main disappointment from the game, that we couldn’t hang onto that one-goal lead longer than a few minutes.” Pantoja almost responded for Lane United within a few minutes but thumped a half-volley a yard wide from the top of the box, then Isma Fernández, on just before halftime for Daley Stevens, who had been injured after an unsavory challenge from Miguel Romeo, put his first touch of the match inches wide of the post after being set up by more good running and hold-up play from Mueller. These, as well as Isma’s well-struck 22-yard shot at the beginning of the second half that dragged just wide of Melvin’s right-hand post, would end up being the Reds’ last clear chances of the night.
In the second half, the balance, at least in terms of chances, swung ever so slightly back to the visitors, although their 7 to 1 advantage in second-half shots belies the fact that only two of them seriously worried Bersano in the Lane United goal. The first came in the 71st minute when Dominic Russo, Calgary’s most persistently threatening forward, found himself in open space on the right channel of the penalty box and absolutely leathered a shot a few inches above the near post; Bersano would have scarcely had time to react had it been on target. The second came in the last stages of the game, and forced Bersano into a spectacular diving save from the substitute Nic Reyes. Reyes had waltzed into quite a bit of space around the top of the box and was able to fire off a curling effort that was destined for the bottom corner until Bersano, at full stretch, got just a strong enough hand to it to push it around the post. Lane United’s final chance to respond came a minute later when Cristian Cataluña was released down the right side; with Mueller already having a yard on his man in the middle of the field, the pressure was on to deliver a first-time cross, and the Spaniard’s delivery stretched Mueller just enough to cause him to miss his connection with the ball, with the goalkeeper and a recovering defender also rapidly closing in to meet it.
The final whistle blew shortly thereafter for the Reds’ first home points of the season, following their loss to Kitsap three weeks previous. Galas thought that Calgary had come “exactly as advertised — very well-organized and with lots of pressure, but we had trained for exactly that and for the most part our guys handled it well. There were still too many cheap giveaways here and there that we can work on improving, but we never got hurt on them. At the end of the day, it’s a point, and it’s always easier getting those when you play with eleven guys.”
Lane United now embark on a stretch of four more home games before they are forced to hit the road again; the next one comes against non-league opposition in the Vancouver (WA) Victory, on Wednesday, June 10, also at 7:00 p.m. at the Willamalane Center.