Every WISL club is in action this week as two league matches and an exhibition will be played on Saturday December 20th. The Wenatchee Fire will host Alianza Tri-Cities in a friendly at the Wenatchee Valley Sportsplex at 7:00 PM. It’s the second straight year the two sides have played. In WISL action Bellingham United hosts Oly Town and Tacoma hosts Arlington. The Artesians and Stars issued match previews that you can enjoy below.
The WISL will return to action after a holiday break with matches held January 3rd in Wenatchee, Tumwater and Tacoma.
OLYMPIA, WA— With a game winning last-minute goal on Saturday night, the Oly Town Artesians won their first road game in franchise history and took sole possession of second place in the Western Indoor Soccer League. But in the process, the Artesians lost one of their top players for an extended period of time and will travel to Bellingham a little banged up and with a chip on their shoulder.
Matt Stalnik found himself in the right spot at the right time when a shot across the box found him on the back post and the one touch banged into the back of the net to give the Artesians a 7-6 lead with 12.5 seconds left. But after letting go on the shot, Arlington’s Andrew Escalante recklessly slammed into Stalnik knocking him into the boards and bending his knee the wrong way. Escalante received a red card immediately and has been suspended by the WISL for two games while Stalnik could likely miss the rest of the season once the full extent of his injury is known.
The injury put a damper on what should have been a big celebration for the Artesians, who scored three goals in less than two minutes to erase a 5-3 Arlington lead midway through the fourth quarter. The win moved Oly to 2-1-0 with six points and they leapfrogged the Wenatchee Fire, who got blitzed by first place Tacoma, and the idle Bellingham United setting up a battle for second place this week when the Artesians take on the Hammers at the Bellingham Sportsplex on Saturday night at 7:20 PM.
Bellingham United enters the game on Saturday night at 1-1-1. In their opener on November 15th, the Hammers fell to Tacoma 4-3 before giving up a last second goal to Wenatchee in a 6-6 draw on November 22nd. Two weeks ago, Andrew Weishaar scored four goals in an 8-4 win over Arlington at the Sportsplex. The Western Washington alum earned WISL Player of the Week for his effort and is tied with the Artesians’ Greg Wolfe for second place in the WISL with five goals scored.
The Artesians are led by Wolfe’s five goals and Willie Spurr and Stalnik trail him with four goals each. Three of the top six goal scorers in the WISL are from Oly. Goalkeeper Mauricio Sanchez, despite the highest goals against average amongst keepers that have played multiple games, has been outstanding between the pipes and the numbers don’t back up how well he has played this season.
Fans can keep up with all the action on Saturday night from Bellingham by following the Artesians on Twitter at @OlyTownFC or by liking the Artesians on Facebook at Facebook.com/OlyTownFC.
The Artesians return to Olympia Indoor Soccer after the holidays when they get a rematch with Bellingham United on January 3rd. First kick is set for 6:00 PM, doors open at 5:00 PM. Advance tickets can be purchased at http://www.olytownfc.com or by calling (360) 561-7252.
TACOMA, WA— The Tacoma Stars will host the Arlington Aviators on Saturday night December 20th at 7:30 PM in the Tacoma Soccer Center. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and military, and $5 for kids ages 5-12. Under 5 get in free. Tickets are selling quickly and can be bought online here. There will be a quick-entry line for ticketholders.
The Stars come into the match with a 3-0-0 record in Western Indoor Soccer League play (5-0-0 overall), good for first place. The Aviators have played three close matches in WISL competition but have been edged out each time. Arlington (0-0-3) lost at home last week to Oly Town Artesians 7-6 on a goal with 12 seconds left.
To make matters even more challenging for the vistors, they will be without team leader Andrew Escalante, who was red-carded on the goal that doomed the Aviators last week. Arlington will be without a couple other key contributors as well.
Tacoma is spreading the love around with 15 different goal-scorers so far. Reigning WISL Player of the Week Derek Johnson leads (in all matches) with 8. Kyle Danielson has 5 and Chris Raymond and Joey Gjertsen have 4 each.
The Aviators are led on the attack by the 3 goals of Aaron Burns (in WISL play.) Zach Crutchfield and Adrian Panduro have 2 each.
WESTERN INDOOR SOCCER LEAGUE STANDINGS (Through 12/13/14)
|Club||Points||Wins||Losses||Ties||GF||GA||Goal + / –|
|OLY TOWN ARTESIANS||6||2||1||0||22||22||0|
GF= goals for. GA= goals against. 3 points for a win, 1 point for a tie. Top four clubs make the playoffs.
In goal the Stars are at least three deep, with Aaron Anderson leading the league in goals against average (GAA) at 4.0.
Erik Cruz is the starter in the nets for the Aviators. The club is dealing with roster numbers issues and it is possible the versatile Cruz, whose GAA is 6.3, could also double as a field player at times.
It’s Wingman Brewers Night as the Stars welcome a new sponsor and serve local beer at the Far Post Bar. “Go Stars” sign cards will be handed out to the first 100 fans arriving for the match courtesy of Stars sponsor Gilchrist Auto.