Daily Archives: July 1, 2018
Lane United FC and the visiting TSS FC Rovers played out a 1-1 draw on Sunday afternoon in Springfield in a match which was finely balanced from the first kick to the last. Midway through the second half, Willie Spurr bagged his third goal in as many days for the Reds to equalize only four minutes after the Rovers had gone ahead through their #9 Dan Davidson. The result leaves Lane United just ahead of their Canadian counterparts on goal differential to hold the second-place spot in the USL PDL Northwest Division.
Both sides came into the contest on short rest. Lane United, though, had won their Friday night match 5-0 at home against the Timbers U-23s whereas TSS had fallen to a 1-0 defeat on the road at Victoria Highlanders. It was no surprise, then, to see the two teams feeling each other out in the opening exchanges, hesitant to apply pressure high up the pitch and prioritizing security at the back above all else. It took 40 minutes for the first truly threatening spells of pressure to arrive for either team, first when Lane United had a series of shots blocked in quick succession in the TSS penalty area, then a minute later when the dangerous Zach Verhoven teed up Dan Davidson for a 15-yard shot that somehow deflected off another Rovers forward and out for a goal kick when it seemed easier to score. TSS then had a strong claim for a penalty in the 44th minute when Casey ChubbFertal hauled down the opposite fullback Janko Vong clean through on goal behind him. Unfortunately for the visitors, the referee Lucas Brooks—whose past matches in Springfield have tended to be marked by bad tempers and a general loss of control—saw nothing wrong with the challenge. With the Rovers bench incandescent and some of their players apparently distracted, the Reds’ Nick Moon snuck in behind the back line at the other end no more than 20 seconds later only to be denied by goalkeeper Mario Gerges one-on-one. The half ended with Brooks blowing the whistle in the middle of a threatening Rovers counter-attack.
The second half proved much more entertaining fare but for more of the right reasons, as the teams frequently traded attacks back and forth. In the first fifteen minutes both Moon and Gloire Amanda saw good chances for the Reds, only for the ball to get stuck under their feet at the crucial moment of shooting. Lane United were enjoying the lion’s share of possession in the middle of the half, albeit without creating many clear-cut chances, but in the 62nd minute disaster struck—a cheap giveaway in midfield saw the substitute Rovers midfielder Erik Edwardson racing forward toward an exposed back line, and it was only a matter of a simple pass to Davidson for a low first-time finish underneath Paul Kruse, and the Canadians were up 1-0.
Lane United pushed back almost immediately though, and no more than four minutes later had their equalizer. Jon Stadler, Moon and Sergio Diaz combined effectively on the right wing, as they so often did this game, with Moon eventually popping up near the top of the box and finding a completely unmarked Diaz with a reverse ball back to his right. Diaz turned and sidefooted a shot to the far post that forced a sprawling, clawing save from Gerges, but unfortunately for the Rovers keeper he was helpless to control the rebound and Willie Spurr and Gerard Hernando crashed in to scramble it into the net. The final touch was judged to have gone to Spurr, and the Reds were level—and for the next ten minutes, it seemed they had smelled blood, as they pushed forward for the go-ahead goal. Amanda saw a brilliant chance deflected by a last-ditch block 10 yards away from goal off a Moon cross, then again down the same wing five minutes later the substitute Anthony Macchione drilled a low ball in that Hernando backheeled on frame from six yards out, only for Gerges to just about manage to squeeze the shot down and stop it from going over the goal line.
After the 75th minute, it was TSS Rovers’ turn to enjoy good pressure, with William Raphael coming closest on a breakaway that forced Kruse to make a diving intervention at the attacker’s feet. Proceedings rather ground to a halt after 83 minutes when Matteo Polisi and Matthias Binder wrestled each other to the ground in the center circle, sparking a confrontation that involved all outfield players for both teams as well as Gerges the TSS goalkeeper; in the end, Binder and Polisi were shown yellow cards for their roles in the skirmish. Both teams, to their credit, spent the final minutes of regulation plus stoppage time actively searching for a winner, snapping into challenges and attempting to break quickly upon winning possession, but ultimately no goal would be forthcoming for either team. The result means that for the moment Lane United will hold onto the second spot in the USL PDL Northwest Division on goal difference, although a Seattle Sounders FC U-23 win against the Portland Timbers U23s on Tuesday would put the former into second place alone.
Lane United FC cruised to a 5-0 win against the Portland Timbers U-23s on Friday night, a result that sees them vault from fifth place to second in the USL PDL Northwest Division. Nick Moon and Willie Spurr led the Reds with two goals apiece, with the substitute Gloire Amanda adding a fifth late in the second half to round off a comprehensive team performance. The visiting Timbers threatened sporadically in the second half to make up some of the deficit, but ultimately failed to get even one effort past the exceptional Paul Kruse in the Lane United goal.
The Reds started off the match with the vast majority of possession and pressure, with Casey ChubbFertal the first player to get a clear sight of goal when his free header from a corner kick forced Tobias Holstein in the Timbers net to sprawl and tip the goalbound effort over the bar. The Timbers soon after produced what would end up being one of their best chances of the entire match, a 20-yard low bullet half-volley that forced an equally athletic diving save from Kruse at the other end. But the Reds continued knocking on the door and in the 21st minute made their first breakthrough, when ChubbFertal wrapped a pass from the left wing around the back line for Moon to chase—finding himself one-on-one with Holstein, he calmly rolled the ball around the Portland keeper and slotted into an empty net.
Straight from the ensuing kickoff, Lane United ramped up the pressure even further and only 90 seconds later had their second goal of the match through Spurr. With the Reds flooding forward in numbers, Spurr found himself with space to shoot at the top of the penalty arc, and after shifting the ball onto his right foot he made no mistake in burying a curling effort into the bottom right corner. Willie’s brother, Charlie Spurr, nearly got in on the act a few minutes later but missed a 45-yard empty-net shot after Holstein had sold himself completely trying to intercept a ball over the top, and in the 29th minute he was denied by Holstein from a more point-blank range after having been played in by the exceptional Sergio Diaz on the right wing. The torrid pressure continued for the rest of the half, and Moon bagged his second in the 40th minute, taking control of a half-cleared cross, after Diaz and Gerard Hernando had terrorized the Timbers back line yet again, and dispatching the ball into the roof of the net with extreme prejudice from 18 yards.
Portland substituted three quarters of their back line between the 35th minute and the start of the second half in an attempt to stem the bleeding, and for 10 minutes at the start of the second period the strategy appeared to be paying some dividends, with Lane United barely able to string multiple passes together. But despite some worrying spells of pressure from the visitors, the Reds would add a fourth goal in the 57th minute, courtesy of Willie Spurr again. Diaz, who continued his first-half pattern of bamboozling any defender unfortunate enough to be stuck in front of him, this time beat the substitute fullback Alan Cruz at a canter and squared a ball to the right channel of the box for Spurr to gather, stride forward with and slide under the desperately exposed Holstein for 4-0. At this point, the Timbers seemed thoroughly defeated, and they were lucky not to be down a man and another goal when Holstein cleaned out the Lane United substitute Gloire Amanda, who was clear through on goal, with a terribly timed challenge in the 67th minute, only for the referee to look the other way for some reason. Amanda would exact revenge in the late late stages of the game though, exchanging a simple 1-2 with Eduardo Lorente in the Timbers penalty area between some statuesque defenders and thumping home a right-footed finish. The ensuing air-guitar celebration with the corner flag was emblematic of the Klopp-style “heavy-metal football” the Reds had been playing all evening. They now have less than 48 hours to recover before meeting the visiting TSS FC Rovers—fresh off a 1-0 loss to Victoria Highlanders—on Sunday afternoon at 2:00.