Lane United End the 2016 Season With a Tough Loss at Home
July 15, 2016
Lane United FC’s 2016 season ended on a disappointing note with a 3-0 loss to the visiting Washington Crossfire. In front of a crowd of 519 at Papé Field in Eugene—instead of the usual Willamalane Center in Springfield—Lane United controlled the opening 20 minutes of the match while nonetheless failing to produce any clear-cut chances. The balance momentarily evened out before the Crossfire’s Alex Roldan scored the best goal that local fans have witnessed all season, tucking a 35-yard stunner in off the post, to put his team in the lead in the 33rd minute. The visitors doubled their advantage ten minutes later through Matt Poplawski, and the Reds never mounted a serious challenge in the second half until squandering a few late chances with the game well out of reach at 3-0 thanks to Cam Rohani’s 84th-minute penalty.
“We couldn’t score,” said Lane United head coach John Galas, “and it’s indicative of our problems all season.” Anyone watching the opening 10 minutes of the match, however, would have bet on the Reds getting at least a goal or two, so swiftly did they fly out of the gates. Joel Rydstrand was wrongly judged offside on what would have been a breakaway after only two minutes, then a few minutes later Casey ChubbFertal came an inch or two away from setting up Isma Fernández with a 1v1 against the Crossfire goalkeeper with an overhit defense-splitting pass. Riggs Lennon got a promising header on frame in the meantime, and with the Reds in complete control of possession, more chances and perhaps a goal seemed imminent. In actuality, none would be forthcoming. The Crossfire were the first to generate a real scoring chance, when in the 22nd minute Stephen MacDonald was chipped in behind the defense and forced Lane United’s Luis Barraza into a brilliant low reaction save with his hands, from only about 12 yards. Roldan then opened the scoring ten minutes later, first making a smart interception in midfield, then striding forward and curling a 35-yard shot that could not have been better placed, bouncing into Barraza’s net off the top twelve inches of the right goalpost. “We had a great opening 20 minutes,” Galas said, “but we couldn’t convert anything into a goal, and then we made a sloppy turnover and fell behind to a great goal from one of their guys. That’s the way it goes if you don’t create and convert chances.”
Lane United’s Lennon almost produced the perfect response a moment later, barging straight through the center of the Crossfire defense and shooting just over the bar from 20 yards, but the Reds fell victim to a second Washington goal soon after. Poplawski received an entry pass near the top of the box, and his first touch and an impressive burst of pace allowed him to get by the long-legged but not especially fleet-footed Stefan Tomasevic. The other center-half, Jonathan Stadler, who excelled the entire match and indeed most of the season, could not get across in time and the Washington striker pounded a close-range effort past a helpless Barraza. Lane United went into halftime down 2-0, and were lucky not to escape further damage soon after the interval, with Poplawski missing Michael Roberts with what ought to have been a back-post tap-in, and then seeing his breakaway shot from inside the penalty box stuffed by an exceptional Barraza save. Lane United almost got back into the match soon after, an awkward stooping header from Isma forcing a desperate clawing save from Saif Kerawala in the Crossfire goal, but as the half wore on they weathered several more Crossfire chances before finally conceding the third goal, when a stranded Stadler had little choice but to foul the substitute forward Gaby Joseph before he shot, and Rohani stepped up to roof an unstoppable penalty. Lennon had missed the goalframe with a free header from inside the six-yard box prior to the third Crossfire goal, and the substitute Alberto Cobos missed an even better chance to pull one back for the Reds a few minutes after it, when he met a cross unmarked at the penalty spot and dribbled it tamely at Kerawala. Jose Carlos Terron was sent off in stoppage time for two yellow cards accumulated in quick succession—the third time in the past two seasons that that exact fate has befallen a Lane United player against the Crossfire—but it hardly affected matters. The final whistle blew on the season with Lane United in fourth place in the PDL Northwest Division, although both the Victoria Highlanders and Kitsap Pumas could eclipse their position with wins in their respective final games on Sunday.
“I’m proud of the effort from the guys all season long,” Galas said. “This is the most talented group of players we’ve had yet, and I can’t fault them for the way they’ve gone about their business this year. The fans have been tremendous all season and I know I speak for all the players and everyone at the club when I say thank you to them, for such incredible support.”