Yakima, WA – It, was a beautiful evening at Marquette Stadium and a stunning occasion. With over 600 fans in attendance on the day amidst a showcase of high quality soccer hosted by Yakima United. The day started off with the Central Washington Soccer Academy U-14 boys hosting the Sounders Academy, and The Sounders Women battling to a 2-2 draw against Central Washington University. The main event of the evening saw the day’s hosts attempt to become the first home side to collect all three points of the 2015 EPLWA season. As well as be the first team to take points away from Tacoma’s South Sound FC. It looked to be the ending to a perfect day at the conclusion a first half that saw Yakima’s Jesse Esquivel score a double, and the Shock go down a man after Cody Guthrie was sent off in the 38th minute for serious foul play. But it was not to be as South Sound showed why they were title challengers last season and among the favorites to hold the crown in 2015.
It was a cagy opening to the match, until Esquivel scored his first in the 20th minute as Junior Garcia tore down the left flank and delivered the ball across the face of the goal for Yakima’s diminutive number 19 to tap home. After going up a man, United pressed for a second and got their rewards in stoppage time after a Junior Garcia cross was flicked through by William Pineda when Esquivel completed the finish, scoring his third of the season, and sealing himself as Yakima’s man of the match.
As the teams came out in the second half South Sound pushed their way back into the game when Eli Peterson scored in the 67th minute. The hoppers went into their shell and looked to be playing to see the match out as South Sound pressed on, desperate for the equalizer which came with just two minutes remaining.
“I guess if you’re looking for a positive, we got a point against a team that beat us twice last season, but it’s difficult to swallow right now,” said Hoppers captain, Dennis Stevenson. He’s correct, while Yakima’s start to the season has been less than ideal, they have earned four points from three matches in which they received zero last season. And while last night’s result will sting for a few days, they’ll have the chance to continue that improvement next weekend when they travel to Wenatchee to avenge another of last season’s defeats.