Weather conditions were almost perfect as Bellingham United entertained Spokane Shadow in an EPLWA showdown. With the two teams tied for second place with records of 5-3-1, BUFC looked to move into sole possession of 2nd with a victory.
Although there are no playoffs in the EPLWA, this match had a playoff-like intensity from the kickoff. Both teams had chances to score, and Kyle Witzel, BUFC’s leading scorer, looked like he was about to convert after he received a long ball and was headed towards the goal. Spokane goal keeper Timmy Costa came out to make the save and the collision forced Witzel out of the rest of the game. As the half continued both teams continued to push forward but it wasn’t until the final seconds of the half that BUFC was able to break the tie. The ball popped out to the top of the 18 yard box to Brendan Quilici who calmly cut the ball across to his left foot. He then bent the ball around the defenders and out of the reach of the goalie giving United a 1-0 lead at halftime.
Spokane came out of the locker room with renewed passion and took it to United in the first twenty minutes of the second half. In the 81st minute, however, Thiago Novis whipped a ball in from the left wing and Richard Henderson rose above the crowd to head the ball home.
In the 87th minute Spokane responded with a goal, making the score 2-1. The final couple of minutes saw end to end action but BUFC was able to hold on and earned the 2-1 victory in front of a crowd of more than 400 fans.
United heads on the road next week but will return to Civic Stadium for the final match of the 2016 EPLWA season Sunday, July 31st as we host Seattle Stars.