EVERETT, WA—The Olympic Force score 3 unanswered goals in the fourth period to beat Sporting 8-7 in Everett. In a rematch of last year’s Premier Arena Soccer League’s (PASL) Championship Game, Sporting Everett and the Olympic Force met once again, this time at Everett Soccer Arena. It was a match that was highly anticipated, and it did not disappoint. From the very first whistle the match lived up to expectations with both teams engaging their high powered offenses.
Olympic scored the contest’s first goal, just 30 seconds into the game, on a shot from Matt Olson. However, Sporting’s James Postma answered with a goal of his own, assisted by Corey Hendrickson. Sporting scored two more goals in the first period from: Hendrickson, and Jordan Correa, while Olympic netted one more score in the frame from, Gus Bernundez but trailed 3-2.
The second period saw two goals apiece from both squads, as Danny Graham scored on a Matt Martens assist and Jordan Correa added another from a pass from Hendrickson. Olympic would add two of their own but Sporting led 5-4 going into halftime.
As the game resumed in the second half, so did the action and the physicality. Both teams fought hard at both ends of the pitch, eager to establish position. At just under the 11 minute mark, Sporting’s Correa would score his second goal of the night to help Everett jump to a 6-4 lead. Kyle Johnson scored an Olympic goal to answer and brought the game with in one goal. However, Hendrickson tallied his second score of the night with a crisp goal at the four minute mark, to put Sporting up 7-5. Sporting would hold on and take their lead to the end of the third period.
The final frame proved to be the most action packed of the match, as Sporting stepped up their intensity and drove the ball down field in swift counter attacks. Sporting’s penalty kill would again prove to be a highlight as they killed 4 out of 4 penalties.
“It’s huge when we don’t give up goals when the other team is on the power play,” said Andrew Escalante, who has been a key on the Sporting penalty kill unit since coming over to the side after playing for the Arlington Aviators. “We have had 13 penalty kill opportunities this year, and have killed all but two of them this season. Each kill builds our confidence as a team.”
Olympic did score early in the 4th to bring the game with in one goal, but they were largely shutout until they scored again in the 4th minute to tie. In a sequence of frantic possessions and transitions, the ball changed hands frequently. Sporting Keeper, Jeff Renslo made several huge saves, one being on a breakaway. Sporting would mount several promising chances on the Olympic net, each of them barely missing. “We were taking our opportunities well for most of the game, but they just wouldn’t come up for us in the end,” said Correa. “We were unlucky not to close out the game.” With 29 seconds left, Olympic took advantage of a turnover at mid field and capitalized with a go ahead goal to give them an 8-7 lead, which would be good enough for the win.
The puts Sporitng in second place with a 2-1 win/loss record, behind the Olympic Force. Next week, Sporting will take on the 1-1 Bellingham United Club in Everett. Bellingham is coming off a 7-5 loss to the Tacoma Stars.