Lane United Defeat Sounders U-23s 3-1 in Second Home Win of the Season
June 13, 2016
Lane United FC defeated the Seattle Sounders FC U-23s at home, 3-1, for the second time in three years, aided by a goal from Stefan Tomasevic, a brace from Matt Coffey, and a fourth-minute sending-off from Seattle’s Jalen Crisler. The match was chock-full of incident, with the first five minutes containing more to write home about than some entire matches do. In the space of 150 early seconds, Seattle went from watching their star forward Guillermo Delgado walk in unchallenged on the Lane United goal to somehow ending up not only down 1-0 themselves, but also down to 10 men. Delgado had missed the goalframe by a yard after Lane United all but handed him a free score with a poor giveaway, and less than 30 seconds later the ball was in the back of the opposite net, Tomasevic beating his defender to the near post to thump in a first-time volley from close range. Vicente Mora had served up the juicy cross after Seattle fell asleep from a short throw. The Sounders’ Crisler then compounded his team’s problems less than two minutes later by getting himself sent off for kicking Tomasevic in the stomach as the latter was on the ground after losing out on an aerial challenge. The transgression was well spotted by the referee, Pawel Sojka, coming as it did long after the ball had left—it was the type of cheap shot that more often than not goes unpunished or even unspotted in PDL matches. It was, at any rate, the fifth red card in six meetings between Lane United and the Sounders U-23s, and Seattle, despite dominating the first two minutes of the match, were suddenly in a massive hole.
Lane United did their best, however, to help their guests climb out of the hole, by continuing to possess and defend carelessly despite their advantage. Head coach John Galas said emphatically after the match that he was “not happy” with the first-half performance, saying “we were really loose in possession and couldn’t handle being closed down at speed, and had far too many giveaways in midfield.” Emblematic of their issues was the misplaced pass that allowed Jose Aguinaga of Seattle to charge straight through a retreating and stranded LUFC center-half pairing; his charge was ended by the last man, Jonathan Stadler, dragging him back inside the penalty box when he had a gilt-edged shooting chance. Inexplicably, no card was given to Stadler even after the referee took the advice of his closest assistant and the fourth official on the matter, but the penalty had nonetheless been awarded and Troy Peterson stepped up to take it.
If that wasn’t enough drama, the next few minutes afforded fans the most improbable sequence of events in Lane United’s history as a club. Peterson shot at waist-height to Luis Barazza’s right, and the Lane United goalkeeper produced a stunning save, only for the referee Sojka—his proactive style now working to Seattle’s advantage—to order the kick retaken because of encroachment into the penalty area by both teams. Peterson, unfazed, strode forward for his second attempt and managed to produce an even worse effort, low and just off-center, which Barazza saved again. The two then collided as Peterson chased the rebound and a phalanx of retreating Reds arrived to hack the ball nearly clear, but only as far as Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu at the top left corner of the penalty box. He controlled with one touch and laced a dipping volley with his second, and it beat Barazza, who had incidentally been injured in the collision immediately prior, at his near post, despite him getting a hand to the shot. Only fourteen minutes had been played and any memory of the previous three home games, with their one goal in 270 minutes, had been swiftly erased by the almost nonsensical rate and range of incidents.
The game could only slow down from there, and it did, although both teams continued to threaten at either end. Lane United continued their pattern of unsteady possession and an exposed back line, and were twice rescued by dubious offside calls against Delgado. In the 38th minute, Christopher Wingate smashed a brilliant long-range shot off the the left post, and Seattle generally threatened more than Lane United will feel a 10-man visiting opponent ought to. For their part, Lane United forced a few saves out of Paul Christensen, one of them a harbinger of what was to come in the second half as it had come from the Reds’ Matt Coffey dancing inside from the right wing and shooting from close range. Coffey’s dribbling also won the stoppage-time free kick from which he then scored before half: from the left wing, Isma delivered a whipped ball to the back post where Mitch LaGro rose to loop a header back across and over the goalkeeper, with Coffey crashing it into the net from very close range. It was a perfect note on which to enter halftime from a Reds standpoint, given the profligacy of much of their play up until then.
The second half produced a vastly improved Lane United display. Within a minute of the kickoff, Coffey served notice of his continued intent by beating the opposing fullback, Kyle Bjornethun, all ends up on the right wing and only losing out when his final touch before shooting escaped him and a recovering center-half cleared into touch. Many of the home fans thought their team had an insurance goal ten minutes later when Coffey again roasted Bjornethun, this time laying off for Akeem Ward to shoot from 15 yards, but the Creighton man sidefooted deceptively wide, into the side netting. Lane United frequently found the most purchase on the wings, with Coffey on the right and Terron, and later the substitute Amer Sasivarevic, on the left; Terron forced a tricky save out of Christensen with a hard low volley in the 67th minute. In the 75th, the Reds finally scored the dagger, again through Coffey, who pushed the ball onto his right foot past a floundering Bjornethun on the right flank of the penalty box and went for goal himself, roofing a very powerful shot at the near post from about 10 yards. The match effectively concluded with that strike, as Lane United for the final quarter of an hour proceeded to treat an appreciative crowd of 463 to long spells of aesthetically and geometrically sound possession against their flagging opponents. The final score of 3-1, “thoroughly deserved” according to Galas, in combination with the 2-2 result this afternoon between Calgary and Victoria in Canada, puts the Reds at second in the PDL Northwest Division table at 10 points. Two home matches on successive nights against Calgary await on Thursday and Friday of the coming week.