Around The Northwest - USL League Two Week Six
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 6 Matchups
Seattle Sounders FC U23 (1-2-2) at Calgary Foothills FC (3-1-2) – Friday, June 7th
Calgary Foothills FC, coming off a 1-1 draw against Timbers U23, hosted Seattle Sounders FC U23 in the first game of a weekend doubleheader between the clubs. The home side came out of the gate looking to put an end to their three-game winless streak with a solid offensive attack. Their good form in the first half eventually paid off as Oluwatofarati Fakunle slotted home his fourth goal of the season in the 32nd minute to give Calgary a 1-0 lead. Other than a pair of yellow cards issued to the Sounders, the rest of the half saw both teams settle into a defensive tempo. After 45 minutes of play, the Foothills held a 1-0 lead.
It didn’t take long for the defending champions to double their lead in the second half as Willy Akio converted on his opportunity in the 47th minute to give the home squad a 2-0 lead. Not going down without a fight, the Sounders responded with a goal of their own in the 59th minute when Dante Brigida scored his first of the season. The goal gave Seattle some momentum heading into the later stages of the second half, but they were unable to find the equalizer. Calgary walked away with the 2-1 win and picked up their fourth victory of the season in the process.
Victoria Highlanders (2-1-1) at Vancouver TSS FC Rovers (2-2-1) – Friday, June 7th
Highlanders FC traveled to Swangard Stadium to take on Vancouver TSS FC Rovers in the first leg of the Juan De Fuca Plate. Both teams traded chances in the first half with the Highlanders looking to take advantage of their games in hand in the Northwest Division. The Rovers got the first two chances with the first two shots of the game. First, Connor MacMillan released a dangerous shot from distance that was stopped by a diving Trevor Schneider. The second opportunity was created by David Malamura who cut across the box before firing a shot on goal that Schneider also turned aside. The visiting team took advantage of the long ball as Jake Ruby, Daniel Davidson, and Shumbusho were attacking the wings all night and putting pressure on the Rovers' backline. Davidson came close to a breakaway in the first half, but the tactical long ball from Joshua Banton was a touch too far ahead of the forward. Highlanders’ captain Joshua Walter had a free kick from outside the box that was initially bobbled by Luciano Trasolini, but the Rovers’ goalkeeper was able to cover the rebound. While each team had their fair share of scoring opportunities in the opening 45 minutes, the game remained scoreless at the half.
The second half started a bit more cautious than the first, with the Rovers seemingly figuring out their best plan of attack against the Highlanders' defense. The home team had a great chance in the 54th minute when Schneider was forced to make a point blank save before Connor Guilherme cleared the ball from a dangerous situation. It wouldn't be until the 66th minute that the Victoria side would convert on one of the numerous offensive opportunities between the teams in the match. Awarded a penalty kick off a Vancouver hand ball, Shumbusho walked to the line and made no mistake as he fired a shot past the Rovers' goalkeeper for his second goal of the season to give the Highlanders a 1-0 lead.
After 90 minutes of play, the Highlanders walked away with a 1-0 win in the first leg of the Juan De Fuca Plate. Trevor Schneider picked up the well-earned clean sheet in his first start of the season and was named to the USL League Two Team Of the Week for Week Six. The second leg of the JDF Plate will be played in Victoria on Friday, July 5th against TSS FC Rovers.
Portland Timbers U23 (1-4-1) at Lane United FC (2-1-3) – Saturday, June 8th
Portland Timbers U23, after a successful weekend against the Foothills that saw them take four of a possible six points from the top team in the division, traveled to Eugene, Oregon to square off against Lane United FC. The home team wasted no time to set the tone of the game as Charlie Spurr scored his fourth goal of the season just five minutes into the match to give Lane United a 1-0 lead. Soren Jensen joined in with an early goal of his own in the 13th minute off a free kick to give the ‘Reds’ a 2-0 lead early in the half. Timbers U23 had a fantastic chance to get within one in the 32nd minute, but Lane United FC goalkeeper Albert Escuin came up with a terrific save to keep the visiting team off the board. Lane held the 2-0 lead at halftime.
Remi Prieur came up with some big stops at key times to keep the Timbers in the match, but the early deficit had kept the momentum with the home team. While the Portland side came close on a couple of offensive opportunities, they were unable to solve Escuin. After an Adan Garcia free kick bounced off the crossbar, Eric Diaz managed to tap it in for a 3-0 lead in the 86th minute. Escuin picked up the clean sheet as Lane United FC took the 3-0 decision.
Seattle Sounders FC U23 (1-3-2) at Calgary Foothills FC (4-1-2) – Sunday, June 9th
The second match of the weekend double header between the two teams was a back and forth affair in the opening eight minutes. Back and forth was the run of play for the majority of the first half. Foothills FC would mount an attack that would result in a few scoring opportunities, but Sounders U23 would push right back with chances of their own as they looked to split the weekend series. While both clubs had opportunities to get on the scoreboard, the match remained scoreless at halftime.
The opening stages of the second half didn’t look much different from the first as both teams took advantage of the counterattack. The Sounders’ Shakeem Adams found himself with an opportunity but was taken down in the box resulting in a penalty kick for Seattle. Pablo de Castro made no mistake as he slotted it home for a 1-0 lead in the 62nd minute. Suddenly on their heels, the Foothills regrouped and worked the ball down the field to create an opportunity to tie the game at one. Nicolas Campuzano and the Seattle backline were up to the task as they were able to turn away the dangerous looks that Calgary created. The visiting side would put the game away in the 79th minute after Pablo de Castro scored his second goal of the game with a beautiful free kick from 18 yards out that found the back of the net. With a 2-0 lead and a fantastic performance from their ‘keeper, Campuzano picked up the clean sheet, the Sounders hung on for the win and handed Calgary Foothills FC their first home loss since 2015.
USL League Two Week Six Team of the Week
USL League Two Week 6 Power Rankings
Calgary Foothills FC and Victoria Highlanders FC were both named to the USL League Two Week 6 Power Rankings in the Western Conference.
Heading Into Week 7
Calgary Foothills FC
Division Rank: 1st
Leading Scorer: Oluwatofarati Fakunle (4)
Shot Leader: Oluwatofarati Fakunle (13)
Weekend Schedule: None
Lane United FC
Division Rank: 2nd
Leading Scorer: Charlie Spurr (4)
Shot Leader: Alejandro Segovia (7), Sergio Diaz (7)
Weekend Schedule: @ Vancouver TSS FC Rovers, June 14th
Portland Timbers U23
Division Rank: 6th
Leading Scorer: Bertrand Fourrier (2)
Shot Leader: Bertrand Fourrier (5)
Weekend Schedule: @ Sounders FC U23, June 14th; @ Victoria Highlanders FC, June 16th
Seattle Sounders FC U23
Division Rank: 4th
Leading Scorer: Arthur Herpreck (3), Pablo de Castro (3)
Shot Leader: Pablo de Castro (11)
Weekend Schedule: vs Portland Timbers U23, June 14th; @ Vancouver TSS FC Rovers, June 16th
Vancouver TSS Rovers FC
Division Rank: 5th
Leading Scorer: Matteo Polisi (4)
Shot Leader: Matteo Polisi (7)
Weekend Schedule: vs Lane United FC, June 14th; vs Seattle Sounders FC U23, June 16th
Victoria Highlanders FC
Division Rank: 3rd
Leading Scorer: Victory Shumbusho (2)
Shot Leader: Victory Shumbusho (7)
Weekend Schedule: vs Portland Timbers U23, June 16th