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Lane United FC lost at home 1-0 to the Portland Timbers U-23s in a match farcically affected by center referee Benjamin Warren failing to apply the technical laws of the game. The Reds have every reason to feel aggrieved by the developments starting in the 15th minute of the game, when they converted a penalty that was not ordered to be retaken, as the rules of the game state it must, when Warren apparently judged that Lane United players had encroached on the penalty box during the taking of the kick. Portland scored the go-ahead goal, and eventual match winner, late in the first half courtesy of a headed goal from their massive forward Tucker Hume, and Lane United were unable to produce an equalizer in the second half.
The match started with Lane United on the front foot, although no clear chances materialized in roughly the opening quarter of an hour. But at the fourteen-minute mark, a ludicrously mishandled series of events unfolded. Lane United’s Akeem Ward latched onto an underhit backpass from Portland’s Peter Prescott and raced in on goal, utterly alone but for the goalkeeper, Colin Partee. Ward attempted to round Partee and clearly would have done so successfully to tap into an empty net, but Partee brought him down with a foul. Warren whistled and pointed to the spot, but then inexplicably refused to send off Partee for denying the most obvious of goalscoring opportunities; according to Lane United head coach John Galas, Warren told LUFC captain Jon Stadler that he “didn’t want to kill the game by issuing a red card so early”—bizarre justification for failing to apply the clearly delineated rules of the game. But the rot was only just starting to surface there. Michael Bajza for Lane United stepped up to hit his first penalty and saw it saved, low and to the right, by Partee—however, the nearside assistant raised his flag to indicate that Partee had encroached off the goal line, and Warren ordered a retake of the kick. Bazja then stepped up and scored, to the left this time, only for Warren to wave it off and, instead of ordering another retake, gave Portland a direct free kick at the penalty spot.
Nothing about that decision has any basis in the FIFA Laws of the Game; there is no scenario by which a penalty kick can go in the goal, and the result can be a free kick to the defending team. After the game, one of the assistant referees suggested that the free kick (rather than a retake) had been awarded because of encroachment by Lane United, despite the fact that the Laws clearly state: “if a team-mate of the player taking the kick infringes the Laws of the Game, and if the ball enters the goal, the kick is retaken.” The fact that the assistant referee after the game was adamant—to the point of cutting off discussion—that encroachment by the attacking team results in a free kick to the defending team is indicative of a disgraceful standard of rules awareness in the entire crew. Another possibility is that Bajza was punished for stuttering during his run-up to the ball; again, the laws state that “feinting in the run-up to take a penalty kick to confuse opponents is permitted as part of football.” Feinting at the end of the run-up but before the kick, which Bazja did not do, is explicitly forbidden, and results in a caution for the offending player—and, crucially, a retake of the penalty. Bazja was not cautioned for anything during the penalty incident (he was a few minutes later, for dissent), and hence the only conclusion is that Warren woefully misapplied the rules, and to Lane United’s detriment.
The mistakes were so blatant that surely one of Warren’s three assistants should have corrected him before the game was restarted and Lane United lost their rightfully earned chance to convert a penalty kick. But that was not the case, and the match moved ahead, with Lane United clearly rattled by what Galas called “the worst refereeing performance I’ve ever seen in my life.” Portland began to assert an offensive authority not seen in the first two matches between the two teams this season, with several last-ditch blocks or clearances by Lane United’s center-halves, Stadler and Mitch LaGro, keeping the score level. In the 39th minute, Lane United produced their best chance since the penalty debacle when Isma Fernández, growing less hesitant with each passing game, cut inside his man on the left side of the box and struck a goalbound curler to the far post that Partee did excellently to stretch and get a hand to. Five minutes later, though, Portland had their goal, the product of a combination between the two mammoth Hume twins, Walker and Tucker. Walker, a center-half, made his way forward for a corner and easily won a header at the back post, directing it back across the face of goal for Tucker to nod in from only a yard or two out. Portland headed into the break riding the high of having snatched a lead right at the end of the half.
The second half, unfortunately from a Lane United perspective, did not produce the type of fightback that had taken place during the 3-3 draw between these two teams at Providence Park in May. In that match, the Reds fought back from 2-0 down at halftime, then 3-2 later, to snatch a dramatic stoppage-time equalizer through Daley Stevens. But chances to level the score in this match were scarce, thanks to a compact Timbers back line and a lack of the Reds’ typical fluid possession in midfield. Lane United’s typical cross-field balls to their advancing wing-backs were, more often than not, cut out by the opposite fullbacks, in particular Nicko DeVera on Portland’s left. The Timbers’ Sam Werner almost iced the whole affair when he slammed a thunderous effort off the crossbar in the 63rd minute, at which point the Reds had yet to see a good look at goal. Their best moment came in the 80th, when Jason Eng on the right wing finally found space for a low cross that Isma, taking it first-time in stride from 15 yards, could only hit at the goalkeeper, who parried comfortably. The substitute Riggs Lennon produced a superb save from a header just a minute later, but even had that effort gone in, it would have been disallowed for offside. That was, ultimately, Lane United’s last flurry of attacking activity, and Warren, probably desperate to escape, only added two minutes of stoppage time despite there having been 10 substitutions and four bookings (one for time-wasting) in the second half, as well as injuries which required attention from the physios.
“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how bad the officiating was, we didn’t do enough to win,” Galas said. “We didn’t create enough chances and didn’t convert the ones we did take.” Some good news for the Reds did arrive later from Bremerton, Washington, where Northwest Division leaders Seattle Sounders fell to the Kitsap Pumas, 1-0—keeping the gap between Lane United and the leaders at eight points, with a game in hand for the Reds. They travel to Kitsap, Washington Crossfire and Victoria Highlanders—all below them in the current standings—in the coming two weeks before closing out the season at home at Papé Field against the Crossfire on July 15 at 7:00 pm.
After a twelve-day hiatus from league play which included a friendly exhibition match against local Liga Unida team, Club Jalisco, Lane United are switching gears as they prepare to host Portland Timbers U-23s on Wednesday night. This match will mark the third time the reds have played the Timbers U-23s this season. In the first match of the season on May 7th, Lane United traveled to Tualatin Hills Recreation Center where they defeated the Timbers U-23s 1-0 off an 11th-minute goal from Nathan Braaten. On May 24th, the Reds traveled to Providence Park where they fought back from a 2-0 deficit at halftime to tie the Timbers U-23s 3-3.
Wednesday’s game will mark the second-to-last home game of the regular PDL season for the Reds and will be the final 2016 home game at Willamalane unless they host a playoff game. Lane United will host their final home game of the season at the University of Oregon’s Papé Field on July 15th, against Washington Crossfire.
The Portland Timbers U-23s are currently in last place in the Northwest Division at 1-5-3, a record which belies their quality. “This Timbers group will not look like the first two Timbers U-23 teams we have faced” said Coach Galas. “Numerous players have left, and a new batch has come in. We won’t have to face Timmy Mueller this game as he is off on trial in Switzerland, which is great for him. Putting their record aside this team is as good as anyone in this league. They have been through a coaching change and numerous player changes, but this is a well coached group, a very competitive group that would love nothing more than to get a result away from home and spoil our playoff chances. We will have to be very disciplined defensively, deal with their press, and be resilient on set pieces for a complete 90 minutes. We haven’t played our best soccer yet this year, and it will take a comprehensive effort from all of us to get a result Wednesday night. I hope our loyal fans can come out and give us the extra energy we may need to stay in this playoff hunt.”
Wednesday’s game is a can’t-miss event for Lane United fans pushing the Reds toward a first ever playoff appearance. Tickets can be purchased at laneunitedfc.com/tickets
Lane United FC vs. Portland Timbers U-23s
WILLAMALANE, Springfield, Ore.
June 29, 2016
7:00 p.m. PT
Lane United FC takes on Portland Timbers U-23s at home after earning a win and a tie against the Timbers U-23s on the road this season.
REFEREES: Center: Benjamin Warren AR1: Michael Armstrong AR2: Riley Hooper 4th: Joe Cowman
ALL-TIME (6 meetings): Lane United: 2 wins, 7 goals … Portland: 2 wins, 7 goals … 2 ties
AT Willamalane (2 meetings): Lane United: 1 win, 2 goals … Portland: 1 win, 1 goal
Lane United 1 win, 1-0 (away) …1 tie 3-3 (away)
Timbers 0 wins
Lane United 1 win, 2-0 (home)
Portland 1 win, 2-0 (home)
EUGENE, Ore. — After a full week of training, Lane United FC head coach John Galas is excited to see members of the 2016 roster take the field this Saturday, in Lane United’s first game of the PDL season. Lane United begins the season with a difficult matchup against the Portland Timbers U-23s at Tualatin Hills Athletic Center at 7pm.
The Reds saw an improved record in 2015 over 2014, and ended the season in fifth place in the Northwest Division of the PDL Western Conference. This year’s roster includes some familiar faces but adds some exciting newcomers from U.S. colleges and international clubs. When asked about the Timbers, coach Galas said, “I think our boys are up for the challenge, they have had a few days to train together and seem eager to compete Saturday night.”
The Portland Timbers U-23s finished the 2015 with a 6-2-4 record to earn second place in the Northwest Division. This year’s team includes former LUFC forwards, Timmy Mueller and Jordan Jones who both scored in Lane United’s 2-0 victory over the Timbers last July. Coach Galas made it clear that he wishes Timmy and Jordan all the best, but that the team’s focus will be on starting the season strongly by earning a victory for the Reds on the road.
“We are excited to finally get the season underway. It’s a long wait between seasons and we couldn’t be more excited than to take on the Timbers U23s in the opener.” said Galas. “This will be a massive challenge playing last year’s runners-up in the Division. It will be a true test of where we are as a club. They are loaded with talent, talent we know a lot about with the likes of Jordan Jose, Devonte Small and last year’s PDL young player of the year Timmy Mueller. They will be organized defensively, well coached, and certainly a threat going forward.”
The Reds will be donning their all-new Cascadia jerseys for the match in Beaverton, and their new home kit against Kitsap on May 13th at the WIllamalane Center in Springfield. Fans interested in supporting Lane United in their first away game can join the Red Aces away game bus. Tickets are $45 per person, which includes a ticket to the game, transportation to and from the game, and Oakshire beer. For more information, visit the Red Aces website.
Lane United FC vs. Portland Timbers U-23s
TUALATIN HILLS ATHLETIC CENTER, Beaverton, Ore.
May 7, 2016 (WEEK 1, PDL Game #1)
7 p.m. PT
The first game of Lane United’s 2016 PDL season will be a Cascadia matchup against Portland Timbers U-23s. Both teams have assembled strong rosters for the coming season and will look to improve on their records from 2015.
REFEREES: Center: Andrew Brooks. AR1: CJ Koll AR2: Ian Miller 4th: Carlos Tercero
ALL-TIME (4 meetings): Lane United: 1 win, 3 goals … Portland: 2 wins, 4 goals … 1 tie
AT PORTLAND (2 meetings): Lane United: 0 wins, 1 goal … Portland: 2 wins, 3 goals … 1 tie
Lane United 1 win, 2-0 (home)
Portland 1 win, 2-0 (home)