AROUND THE NORTHWEST
Welcome to Around The Northwest, a weekly breakdown of the Northwest Division. Game recaps and team information on the Highlanders and their division rivals leading into the next week of the USL League Two campaign.
USL League Two Northwest Division Week 9 Matchups
Victoria Highlanders FC (5-2-1) at Portland Timbers U23 (2-6-2) – Friday, June 28th
The first half showed how much of difference home field advantage is for the Timbers and how their style changes as the host team. The home team was able to close the passing lanes and tighten up the midfield as the Highlanders, and both teams in general, were unable to get a lot of room to work with. Elyad Shojaei had the first chance of the match as he took a shot from the left wing that was bobbled initially before the goalkeeper managed to hang on to it.
Portland stormed right back with a couple of chances that came close to opening the scoring. After getting behind the Highlanders’ goalkeeper, the Portland forward shot into what he presumed was an open net until Joshua Banton raced back and cleared the ball from danger. In the 13th minute Schneider showed off his vertical jump as he was able to push a dangerous chance over the bar. The rest of the half was ruled by choppy play in the midfield and not much in the way of offensive chances. The game remained scoreless after 45 minutes of play.
The home side opened the scoring in the opening stages of the second half off a dangerous rush up front. Shumbusho cut across the box and fired it into the bottom right corner of the goal for the 1-0 lead in the 50th minute. Shortly after the opening goal Portland created a 2-on-1 scenario after one of their forwards intercepted a pass, but the shot from the left wing was turned aside by a diving Schneider. The Highlanders added to their lead in the 74th minute when Daniel Davidson’s cross was redirected by Shumbusho into the back of the net. The goal gave Shumbusho a brace and gave the visiting squad a 2-0 lead.
Portland had a corner opportunity in the late stages of the match and came away with a great scoring opportunity off a beautiful set up, but the play was deemed offside just as the ball was fired over the bar. The Highlanders tightened it up defensively in the closing moments as they controlled possession in the midfield and kept the Timbers to the outside. When the final whistle sounded, the Highlanders walked away with a 2-0 win
Vancouver TSS FC Rovers (2-6-2) at Seattle Sounders U23 (4-3-3) – Sunday, June 30th
The Rovers traveled to Sumner, Washington to take on the Sounders who were looking to pass the idle Foothills in the Northwest Division standings. Vancouver struck first as Elie Gindo scored his third goal of the season in the 10th minute. The rest of the half saw neither team able to create a prime scoring opportunity as the scored remained 1-0 Rovers after 45 minutes of play.
Sounders U23 came out looking like a different team in the second half as Joshua Bauer tied the game at one in the 46th minute. The Vancouver forwards had a hard time getting much behind the Seattle backline and struggled to maintain possession in the midfield. Pablo De Castro scored his team-leading sixth goal of the season in the 73rd minute to give the home team a 2-1 lead. Shortly after, in the 80th minute, O’Vonte Mullings scored the insurance goal to give the Sounders a 3-1 lead over Vancouver. With a three goal second half, Seattle walked away with a 3-1 win and jumped into third place in the Northwest Division.
Victoria Highlanders FC (6-2-1) at Lane United FC (4-2-4) – Sunday, June 30th
In the first half, the Victoria side had a new-look backline that featured Jake Ruby, Sean Young, Elyad Shojaei, and Mitch Popadynetz. While the opening moments of the match were a bit sluggish for the away team, the defensive strategy tightened up and the Highlanders controlled possession as the half went on. Victory Shumbusho, coming off a brace against Portland, had a chance in the 13th minute, but Escuin was able to reach out and make the save. Shun Takano found himself with a scoring opportunity in the 20thminute when he stepped up to take a free kick in a prime position, but his shot curled just over the crossbar.
The home team responded with a couple offensive chances of their own, but the Highlanders’ defensive strategy gave them little to no space to get a shot off or take advantage of possession in the box. Shumbusho took advantage of a great long ball but didn’t get full contact with the shot and Escuin came up with the save. After 45 minutes of play, the game remained scoreless.
Lane United FC came out strong in the second half, pushing up the field and crowding the box on set plays and crosses. The first goal of the game came off a corner chance when Nikkye De Point decided to make a pass back rather than a cross into the box. He passed it back to Adan Garcia who held it for a moment and changed the angle of the shot before he fired it into the top right corner of the goal in the 54th minute. Lane United came close two adding to their lead when a shot got through the legs of Simon Norgrove but Jake Ruby hustled back and saved a goal with a well timed block.
The last ten minutes of the match saw the Highlanders throw everything they could towards the home team’s goal. Goteh Ntignee had a great look in the 84th minute but his shot went just wide of the right post. Lane United FC was able to swarm the Highlanders whenever they had possession in the box in the final moments of the match and were able to hold on for the 1-0 win. With the win Lane United claimed top spot in the Northwest Division via head-to-head tie breaker against the Highlanders.
USL League Two Week Nine Team of the Week
Week 9 Power Rankings
USL League Two Week 9 Power Rankings
Heading Into Week 10
Calgary Foothills FC
Record: 5-3-2 (17 Points)
Division Rank: 4th
Leading Goal Scorer: Willy Akio (6)
Assist Leader: Cory Bent (2), Tofa Fakunle (2), Marcus Campanile (2)
Shot Leader: Oluwatofarati Fakunle (16)
Weekend Schedule: @ Lane United FC, July 5th; @ Lane United FC, July 7th
Lane United FC
Record: 5-2-4 (19 Points)
Division Rank: 1st
Leading Goal Scorer: Charlie Spurr (4)
Assist Leader: Sergio Diaz Rincon (1), Christopher Kalla (1)
Shot Leader: Alejandro Segovia (11)
Weekend Schedule: vs Calgary Foothills FC, July 5th; vs Calgary Foothills FC, July 7th
Portland Timbers U23
Record: 2-7-2 (8 Points)
Division Rank: 6th
Leading Goal Scorer: Bertrand Fourrier (3), Timur Zhividze (3)
Assist Leader: Terrell Lowe (1), Jonathan Jimenez (1)
Shot Leader: Bertrand Fourrier (14)
Weekend Schedule: vs Vancouver TSS FC Rovers, July 7th
Seattle Sounders FC U23
Record: 5-3-3 (18 Points)
Division Rank: 3rd
Leading Goal Scorer: Pablo de Castro (6)
Assist Leader: O’Vonte Mullings (2)
Shot Leader: Pablo de Castro (17)
Weekend Schedule: vs Victoria Highlanders FC, July 7th
Vancouver TSS Rovers FC
Record: 2-7-2 (8 Points)
Division Rank: 5th
Leading Goal Scorer: Matteo Polisi (5)
Assist Leader: David Malamura (4)
Shot Leader: Matteo Polisi (13)
Weekend Schedule: @ Victoria Highlanders FC, July 5th; @ Portland Timbers U23, July 7th
Victoria Highlanders FC
Record: 6-3-1 (19 Points)
Division Rank: 2nd
Leading Goal Scorer: Goteh Ntignee (4), Victory Shumbusho (4)
Assist Leader: Victory Shumbusho (4)
Shot Leader: Shumbusho (20)
Weekend Schedule: vs Vancouver TSS FC Rovers, July 5th; @ Seattle Sounders U23, July 7th