Around The Northwest - USL League Two Week Eight
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 8 Matchups
Calgary Foothills FC (4-2-2) at Victoria Highlanders FC (4-1-1) – Friday, June 21st
The visiting team struck first as Willy Akio found himself behind the defenders before he fired it into the back of the net in the 2nd minute to give the Foothills a 1-0 lead. After some choppy play in the midfield, the Foothills mounted an offensive rush that resulted in a penalty awarded to Calgary after a hard challenge in the box by a Highlanders’ defender. Tofa Fakunle lined up at the spot and made no mistake as he potted his fifth goal of the season in the 34th minute to give Calgary the 2-0 lead. The visiting squad added another goal right before half. Akio scored his second goal of the game in the 45th minute off a pretty passing play in the box. After 45 minutes of play, the Foothills held a 3-0 lead.
Former Highlander Marcus Campanile added to the Calgary lead, scoring in the 49th minute of play. Connor Guilherme came close to breaking the shutout in the 63rd minute but his header was turned aside by Benjamin Jackson. The Highlanders broke through in the 73rd minute when Goteh Ntignee scored off an impressive rush for his third goal of the season, in only his second start of the season. Although Guilherme came close to adding a second goal, the Foothills were able to tighten up the defensive end and take the 4-1 win.
Vancouver TSS FC Rovers (2-4-2) at Lane United FC (3-1-4) – Friday, June 21st
The Rovers headed to Eugene, Oregon to take on Lane United FC. Looking to move up the Northwest Division table, Lane United FC took advantage of being the host. While the Rovers scored first off a Danylo Smychenko goal in the 15th minute, Lane United turned the momentum and took over the half. Charlie Braithwaite tied the game at one in the 20th minute as he converted his penalty chance. Katsuyoshi Kimishima followed up just three minutes later with a goal of his own to put the home side up 2-1. Right before the half ended, the Eugene side struck once again when Adan Garcia tapped in a cross to give Lane United FC a 3-1 lead after 45 minutes of play.
Eric Diaz added to the lead in the 78th minute, but Vancouver responded right back with a goal of their own off the ensuing restart. The home side put the game away in the 85th minute as Willie Spurr scored his first goal of the season to push the lead to three. When the final whistle sounded, Lane United FC walked away with the 5-2 win and jumped into the second spot in the Northwest Division.
Calgary Foothills FC (5-2-2) at Victoria Highlanders FC (4-2-1) – Sunday, June 23rd
The home side took advantage of a retooled lineup as Mackenzie Cole and Aly Adib drew into the starting eleven. Both teams played a choppy opening 13 minutes as neither team was able to gain clear possession in the midfield long enough to put together an offensive attack. Goteh Ntignee came close to a tap-in in the 14th minute, but the pass from Daniel Davidson was a touch too heavy. The first shots of the game came off a dangerous rush for the Highlanders as Shun Takano’s initial shot was stopped by Benjamin Jackson before Davidson had a go at the rebound, but Yacine Tchemmoun made a brilliant defensive block near the goal line to keep it scoreless in the 26th minute.
Aribim Pepple, one of Calgary’s most dangerous and explosive players over the weekend, looked well on his way to a breakaway but a perfectly timed tackle by Joshua Banton pushed the ball out of danger. Davidson found himself with another opportunity as he broke in on the left wing and fired a shot just wide of the left post. Elyad Shojaei followed up that chance with a good look of his own but his shot sailed over the crossbar in the 37th minute. In the 40th minute, Connor Guilherme was issued a yellow card for a hard challenge in the midfield. After 45 minutes of play, the teams headed to the locker rooms with the game still scoreless.
The second half saw the home side strike early with Goteh Ntignee scoring his fourth goal of the season in only his third start. Sean Young threaded a perfect pass to Ntignee in the box where the USL League Two Top 50 Prospect fired a shot through Jackson’s legs to give Victoria a 1-0 lead in the 49th minute. It took all of seven minutes for the Highlanders to strike again. Victory Shumbusho played the ball over to Shun Takano who shot a perfectly placed ball just inside the far post for his second goal of the season.
With a 2-0 lead, the Highlanders continued to push the tempo and attack the Foothills backline. The momentum would eventually swing the other direction after Guilherme was issued his second yellow of the match and thus ejected in the 75th minute to put the Victoria side down a man. Simon Norgrove and the Highlanders backline were able to weather the storm as Calgary threw everything they had at the net looking to score two quick goals. While Willy Akio was able to convert on a beautiful goal in the added time, the Highlanders held on for the 2-1 win.
Lane United FC (4-1-4) at Seattle Sounders U23 (3-3-3) – Sunday, June 23rd
The Sounders were looking to pull within a win of first place in the NW Division when they hosted a red-hot Lane United FC squad. The home team struck first as Pablo De Castro added to his team-leading goal output as he scored his fifth goal of the season in the 22nd minute. With half time looming, Alejandro Segovia scored in added time to tie the game at one after 45 minutes of play.
The second half saw the Seattle side control the midfield and direct possession as a result. Noe Meza scored in the 69th minute to give the Sounders a 2-1 lead. While Lane United FC looked to swing the momentum in the latter stages of the match and put together some solid offensive rushes, the Sounders’ Dante Brigida converted on his chance in the 90th minute to put the game out of reach. Seattle took the 3-1 win and finished the weekend just two points behind the division-leading Foothills FC.
Vancouver TSS FC Rovers (2-5-2) at Portland Timbers U23 (1-5-2) – Sunday June 23rd
Timbers U23, looking to pull even with the Rovers in the standings, hosted a Vancouver squad coming off a 5-2 loss earlier in the weekend. Timur Zhividze started a wonderful match with a goal in the 15th minute to put the home team up 1-0. The Rovers were able to respond with a goal of their own in the 45th minute when Kristian Yli-Hietanan converted on an assist by David Malamura and tied the game at one. The home side was able to shift the momentum right before half as Bertrand Fourrier scored in added time to give Portland a 2-1 lead as both teams headed to the locker rooms.
With a goal under his belt already, Zhividze registered his first career hat trick, scoring two goals in the second half in the 52nd and 68th minute to give Portland a 4-1 lead. Fourrier pushed the lead to four as he wrapped up his brace in the 78th minute to put the game out of reach. Matteo Polisi continued his solid offensive season as he potted a goal in the 89th minute in the final moments of the match, but it was the home squad that walked away with the 5-2 win.
USL League Two Week Eight Team of the Week
Week 8 Power Rankings
Heading Into Week 9
Calgary Foothills FC
Record: 5-3-2 (17 Points)
Division Rank: 1st
Leading Goal Scorer: Willy Akio (6)
Assist Leader: Cory Bent (2), Tofa Fakunle (2), Marcus Campanile (2)
Shot Leader: Oluwatofarati Fakunle (16)
Weekend Schedule: None
Lane United FC
Record: 4-2-4 (16 Points)
Division Rank: 3rd
Leading Goal Scorer: Charlie Spurr (4)
Assist Leader: Sergio Diaz Rincon (1), Christopher Kalla (1)
Shot Leader: Alejandro Segovia (9)
Weekend Schedule: vs Victoria Highlanders FC, June 30th
Portland Timbers U23
Record: 2-6-2 (8 Points)
Division Rank: 6th
Leading Goal Scorer: Bertrand Fourrier (4)
Assist Leader: Terrell Lowe (1), Jonathan Jimenez (1)
Shot Leader: Bertrand Fourrier (13)
Weekend Schedule: vs Victoria Highlanders FC, June 28th
Seattle Sounders FC U23
Record: 4-3-3 (15 Points)
Division Rank: 4th
Leading Goal Scorer: Pablo de Castro (5)
Assist Leader: O’Vonte Mullings (2)
Shot Leader: Pablo de Castro (16)
Weekend Schedule: vs Vancouver TSS FC Rovers, June 30th
Vancouver TSS Rovers FC
Record: 2-6-2 (8 Points)
Division Rank: 5th
Leading Goal Scorer: Matteo Polisi (5)
Assist Leader: David Malamura (4)
Shot Leader: Matteo Polisi (13)
Weekend Schedule: @ Seattle Sounders U23, June 30th
Victoria Highlanders FC
Record: 5-2-1 (16 Points)
Division Rank: 2nd
Leading Goal Scorer: Goteh Ntignee (4)
Assist Leader: Victory Shumbusho (4)
Shot Leader: Shumbusho (15)
Weekend Schedule: @ Portland Timbers U23, June 28th; @ Lane United FC, June 30th