The second half of the inaugural Western Indoor Soccer League (WISL) season kicks off Saturday night January 3 with three matches in three Washington cities: Tumwater, Wenatchee and Tacoma. For Oly Town FC it is a key rematch with Bellingham United at 6 PM at Olympia Indoor Soccer. For Wenatchee it is a vital battle with Arlington at 7 PM at the Wenatchee Valley Sportsplex. The Tacoma Stars comeback to action with a friendly against Yakima United at 7:30 PM at the Tacoma Soccer Center.
OLYMPIA, Wash. – (OlyTownFC.com) The Oly Town Artesians (2-2-0, 6 points) kick off 2015 and the second half of the Western Indoor Soccer League season on Saturday night with a rematch against a familiar foe. Bellingham United (2-1-1, 7 points) comes to town fresh off a 7-5 win in the last game of 2014 that knocked the Artesians out of second place. Sitting just one point behind the Hammers, Oly looks to return the favor on Saturday, January 3rd in a 6:00 PM kick off at Olympia Indoor Soccer.
The two teams met two weeks ago at the Bellingham Sportsplex in a game that got away from the Artesians because of fouls and penalties. Willie Spurr scored at the buzzer of the third quarter to draw the Artesians level at 5-5 but Bellingham took advantage of three blue cards and scored two power play goals in the fourth quarter to take the 7-5 victory, their second of the season. Brendan Quilici scored a brace for the Hammers while Tanner Williams and George Bundy scored in their debuts for the Artesians.
Both teams played without one of their top scorers and Oly will be still be without the services of veteran Matt Stalnik, who is out for the season after an injury against the Arlington Aviators on December 13th. Andrew Weishaar and his five goals did not play for Bellingham in the last game and his status for this week is unknown at this time.
Including Stalnik and Weishaar, six of the top eight goal scorers in the WISL hail from Bellingham and Oly. Willie Spurr and Greg Wolfe are tied with Weishaar for second place in the league with five goals each and Nate Salveson and Stalnik are tied with Quilici and Tacoma’s Kyle Danielson for third place with four goals. Tacoma’s Derek Johnson leads the league with 11 goals.
The Artesians are 1-1-0 in WISL play on their home field of Olympia Indoor Soccer. On December 6th they picked up the first win in franchise history with a 10-8 win over the Wenatchee Fire thanks to a hat trick from Stalnik. Meanwhile, Bellingham have yet to win a road game this season after a loss to Tacoma in their opener and a draw at Wenatchee.
Tickets to Saturday night’s game are $8 for adults and $5 for kids 5-12 years old and will be available at the door beginning at 5:00 PM. First kick is scheduled for 6:00. The beer garden will be open for fans 21 and over, the kids area will feature Artesians coloring pages and other crafts and there will be other games and prizes throughout the night.
Olympia Indoor Soccer is located at 7845 Center St. SW in Tumwater on the backside of the Capitol City Tennis and Athletic Center.
TACOMA, WA—Yakima United FC visits the Tacoma Stars on Saturday night January 3rd at the Tacoma Soccer Center for a 7:30 PM friendly (tickets for sale online here). It will be a case of an outdoor club putting on indoor shoes in the hopes of staying fit and also keeping a dream alive to one day play a full indoor season of their own.
Yakima United FC, known as the “Hoppers” thanks to the valley’s great production of hops, plays in the summer in theEvergreen Premier League (EPLWA). John Crouch, GM of the Stars fields the South Sound FC Shock in the same outdoor league. Now a few players who competed on grass in Yakima will face each other again on Field Turf in Tacoma.
“Right now we don’t have a facility to accommodate YUFC to play indoor soccer in a league like the WISL,” says Hoppers GM Josh Vega. “But there’s a lot of exciting things going on in our area right now and it seems like in the near future that will be a very real possibility, which we are very excited about.”
Until the time a full indoor venue comes to fruition in Yakima, YUFC wants to keep a foot in the game.
“As of right now we are viewing this friendly as an opportunity to get our EPLWA players together, as we’re beginning to plan and prepare for the 2015 season,” Vega says. “So for this trip our team won’t look much different than our 2014 outdoor team. We’d like to see if we may be able to set up a few more friendlies with WISL clubs and possibly integrate some potential new faces but for now we’re just using this to bring our returning players back and get a good workout in.”
Outdoors the Hoppers were led by the 9 goals of Hector Valdovinos and the sturdy defense of Dennis Stevenson.
Yakima isn’t backing down from the challenge of playing the unbeaten Stars, but they also know it won’t be easy.
“As far as playing the Stars goes obviously they’re a fantastic club,” Vega states. “I’m very thankful to John Crouch for setting this up for us and I think it should be a lot of fun. That said they’re in the middle of their season and playing a game some of our guys will not be the most acclimated to. So I expect a very tough game. And while for us this event isn’t so much about the result we’re definitely coming with the aim of being competitive and hopefully giving the fans a fun night out and a good workout for both teams.”