Monthly Archives: July 2015
Lane United FC’s standout striker Timothy Mueller has been named to the USL PDL’s All-League team, the league announced Tuesday. Mueller was tied for fourth nationwide and led the entire Northwest Division with nine goals in eleven games, and bagged thirteen overall in all competitions. He had been named to the All-Western Conference team a day earlier. On May 23, he scored a first-half hat trick against Puget Sound Gunners; two weeks later on June 5 at home against Calgary Foothills FC, he scored to begin a streak of six straight games with at least one goal.
Mueller seems to bang in goals wherever he goes, as he led the Oregon State Beavers with eleven goals as a freshman in 2014 on their way to an NCAA tournament appearance. He missed the last game of the 2015 Lane United season, away at Calgary Foothills FC, to train with Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer.
The Northwest Division is one of three in the PDL’s Western Conference, along with the Mountain and Southwest Divisions. The Northwest nonetheless contributed eight of the eleven all-Western Conference players, bolstering its reputation as one of the most competitive divisions in the league nationally.
“Timmy was a real joy to coach this past summer,” said Lane United head coach and sporting director John Galas. “He has a competitive nature second to none and is very coachable. He was a constantly working to improve is game this summer and had a real thirst to learn our system. He adjusted very well and was a threat to score in every game he played. We look forward to working with him in the future to help his development. I’m excited to head up to Corvallis to watch him and the other OSU boys play this fall.”
Mueller will play for the Beavers this fall as a sophomore.
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 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.
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 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.
Lane United FC midfielder and Oregon State graduate Will Seymore has been called up to play in the Vancouver Whitecaps organization. Seymore had already been selected in the 2015 Major League Soccer SuperDraft with a third-round pick by FC Dallas, but has been playing with Lane United since the beginning of the PDL season. On Monday, he got the call to join Vancouver, starting with their Whitecaps 2 team, which plays one rung below the MLS in the USL.
Lane United head coach John Galas says he thinks there is “little chance” Seymore will be returning to the Reds following this progression. “We’re thrilled for Will and want to thank him for everything he’s contributed to our club so far this season. He’s now the second player that has gone straight from us into the pros (after Khiry Shelton) and that’s something that everyone in the organization can be proud of. Will has been a model young professional and we wish him all the best in his career.”
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time with Lane United,” Seymore said earlier today. “The culture, the club the fans — there’s real passion here at Lane and in the community. It’s really a testament to the amount of work and preparation Dave and John (Galas) and the staff have put in and committed to this club and really shows where the organization is headed. Even though this has been a tough season so far and we haven’t gotten the results we’ve wanted, the philosophy John has been training us with really rewarded our playing style.”