TUKWILA, WA—The Northwest Premier League moves forward today with its first-ever playoff Final as Seattle Stars FC host the Washington Timbers at 4:45 PM at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila. Admission is $10 at the gate (Starfire also charges a parking fee.) The NWPL will play the match in memory of Haylei Hughes, a Seattle Stars player from Las Vegas who died on Wednesday at Wallace Falls in Snohomish County.
This is the first season with a playoff structure for the NWPL. In the league’s debut season in 2016 the competition was decided by regular season record. The Spokane Shadow won the league by finishing top of the table. In the off-season the clubs voted to institute a playoff format.
Getting to the Final
Seattle Stars FC (10-1-0) and Washington Timbers (8-3-1) got the Final by virtue of solid wins in the semis. The Timbers knocked off the Spokane Shadow 4-1 in Spokane while the Stars shut out Fuerza FC 3-0 in Kent. The Stars had a bye in the first round due to finishing first in the regular season. The Timbers won a quarterfinal match 4-0 over Yakima United the week before their big win at Spokane.
The Stars and Timbers met once during the regular season. On July 8 at French Field in Kent the Stars made a 4th minute goal stand up in a 1-0 win over WTFC.
First Year Head Coaches
The Stars and Timbers are both led by head coaches who are managing their first seasons in the NWPL. Kat Tarr leads the Washington Timbers, who are in their first-ever season. Chris Wells took over the helm with Seattle Stars this year after the club finished fifth in 2016 with a 2-4-6 record.
The Seattle Stars were led in scoring in the 2017 regular season by the 5 goals of Alexis Krieger. The Timbers’ top scorer was Milla Benedetti with 7. During the regular season the Stars scored 21 goals as a team. The Timbers scored 20.
Stopping the Ball
The Stars and Timbers play excellent team defense. Seattle had 3 players named Defensive Player of the Week during the season. WTFC had 2. Both clubs used quite a few goalkeepers during the season. The Stars had four different keepers earn complete match shut outs. Seattle gave up just 7 goals in 10 regular season matches (best in the league.) The Timbers were third in that category, surrendering just 9 goals.
Stars Men to be Honored
The Seattle Stars Men of the Evergreen Premier League won their first EPLWA title last night with a 4-0 triumph over Vancouver Victory FC in Ridgefield. The Stars Men are expected to be at today’s match in support of the Seattle Women, to remember Haylei Hughes, and to receive their EPLWA trophy and medals.