SPOKANE, WA— (Shadow release) Despite an early goal, the Shadow Women’s First Team saw visiting Washington Timbers reply to even things up at halftime and go on to score three more in the second half to eliminate the defending Northwest Premier League champions out of the playoffs in the semifinals with a 4-1 victory.
On a blustery, hot contest this evening at the Polo Grounds, the Shadow opened the scoring 14 minutes into the contest when left back Meaghan Bare worked her way up the left side and fired in from about 22 yards out.
The Shadow had several opportunities over the next 10 minutes to add to the lead, but would rue their close calls.
A few minutes after the first water break the Timbers evened matters at one each when a defensive error allowed Ellie Boon to gain possession in the left side with Ashlyn Juul out of goal. The striker took advantage of the opportunity to tally in the 29th.
Fourteen minutes into the second half a foul by Tiara Pajimola just outside the left side of the box allowed Maddison Maffeo to put the visitors in front on a 25 yard free kick that Juul got her hands on, but was unable to stop.
The Timbers grabbed control of the match on a nice goal in the 71st that was created by a run from Jesse Ray, who won a pair of tackles while driving forward up the middle of the pitch, angling out toward the right corner as she progressed. Once inside the final 15 she whipped a cross into the box that Rylee MacDonald ran onto and volleyed first-time out of the air around the penalty spot for the 3-1 lead.
With 10 minutes remaining Boon locked up the game with her second tally, again on a defensive mistake as she intercepted a goal kick and drove to goal under some defensive pressure. Her first attempt was denied by Juul, but she was able to get her foot to it again and nudge it with enough pace to put it over the line.
Spokane had several other chances in the first half, but again missed the mark, including one in stoppage time from Bare that was a low, swerving shot from about 25 yards on the left side that looked bound for the lower left corner only to swing wide at the last moment.
The third-seeded Washington Timbers advance to the NWPL Championship Game next week and will travel to play the regular season champion Seattle Stars, who were 3-0 winners Saturday night in Kent against fourth-seeded Fuerza FC.
Washington Timbers 4-1 Spokane Shadow WFT
SPO: Meaghan Bare 14
WAT: Ellie Boon 29
WAT: Maddison Maffeo 59
WAT: Rylee MacDonald (Jesse Ray) 71
WAT: Ellie Boon 80
(Spokane Shadow photos)