The Northwest Premier League caps the 2019 season with a fantastic matchup between the #1 seed Seattle Stars and #2 seed Capital FC Atletica. The two teams met once in the regular season with Capital FC taking an early lead at French Field on June 22nd before Seattle scored twice in the second half to take the 2-1 win.
So how did each team get here? Let’s take a look at the two teams…
#1 Seattle Stars (8-0-0, 24 points)
The Seattle Stars and head coach Chris Wells assembled an impressive roster during the preseason and then saw 17 of those players score goals with three goalkeepers registering shutouts during the regular season.
On a roster filled with Division I talent and former professionals, it was Braeden Small, who played club soccer at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, that led the Stars with four goals. Emily Bunnell, one of those Division I talents from the University of Minnesota, and Myra Delgadillo, who signed a professional contract mid-season and left for Serbia, followed her with three goals. The Stars led the league with 29 regular season goals.
The Stars have only allowed three goals all season thanks to the play of Virginia Commonwealth defender Amber DiOrio and Washington State’s Beau Bremer. In goal, Lee Ericksen led the team with two shutouts while Valparaiso product Drew Moulton picked up one shutout in the regular season and then held the Washington Timbers scoreless in the semifinals. Scout Watson had one shutout early in the season before signing with Reign FC as a World Cup replacement player.
This is Seattle’s third straight NWPL Finals appearance. They dropped the 2017 title game 2-1 to the Washington Timbers before winning their first league championship in 2018 with a 3-1 win over the Timbers.
Seattle Stars road to the championship game:
5/11 – 3-1 win vs. Oly-Pen Force
5/18 – 3-0 win at Blackhills
6/1 – 7-0 win at Washington Timbers
6/8 – 1-0 win vs. Twin City Union
6/9 – 3-0 win at Washington Premier
6/22 – 2-1 win vs. Capital FC Atletica
6/29 – 4-0 win at NCW Alliance
6/30 – 6-1 win vs. Yakima United
7/14 – 1-0 win vs. Washington Timbers (Semifinals)
2019 goal scorers (all games): Braeden Small (4), Emily Bunnell (3), Myra Delgadillo (3), Justina MacDowell (3), Morgan Castain (2), Hannah Jenkins (2), Rita Okoro (2), Stephanie Verdoia (2), Margarida Sousa, Maddie Kemp, Mary Johnston, Kellyn Green, Mackenna Havenor, Mariah Lee, Breanna Strauss, Chloe Lamenzo, Sydney Carr
#2 Capital FC Atletica (7-1-0, 21 points)
Coming into the season, Oregon’s only Northwest Premier League team with a brand new name had some transitional questions to answer: Who would replace NWPL Golden Boot winner Laadi Issaka’s scoring? And how would the team react to new coach Paulo Reis? The team finished in third in their first season in the NWPL, so which way would they go in year two? The answer turned out to be Whitney Pitalo (amongst others), fine, and up.
Salem native, University of Southern California standout, and one of the founders of Capital FC Atletica Whitney Pitalo scored seven times in the regular season to lead them in scoring. Western Oregon’s Vicky Cruz and Namibia National Team and Corban product Annouscka Kordom each scored five times. In contrast with Seattle, just eight different Capital players scored at least one goal, a testament to a tighter Atletica roster.
Defensively, Capital gave up just four goals in the regular season, second only to the Seattle Stars, with two of those coming at the hands of the Stars. Veteran keeper Makenzie Pineda had three shutouts early but West Salem’s Abbey Knoll has been in goal for the second half and picked up the win in Capital’s 3-1 semifinal win over Yakima United.
Capital came up with a big boost for their playoff run with Laadi Issaka returning to the lineup. Will it be enough to get past the Stars in their first championship game appearance?
Capital FC Atletica’s road to the title game…
5/4 – 1-0 win vs. Yakima United
5/11 – 6-0 win vs. NCW Alliance
5/18 – 2-1 win at Washington Timbers
6/1 – 3-0 win at Twin City Union
6/8 – 3-1 win at Oly-Pen Force
6/16 – 4-0 win vs. Blackhills FC
6/22 – 2-1 loss at Seattle Stars
6/23 – 2-0 win vs. Washington Premier
7/14 – 3-1 win vs. Yakima United (Semifinals)
2019 goals scorers (all games): Whitney Pitalo (7), Vicky Cruz (6), Annouscka Kordom (5), Jade Chhokar (2), Paige Alexander (2), Julia Sattler, Nadine Correa, Erika Vargas, Choi Ron
The 2019 Northwest Premier League Championship Game kicks off on Sunday, July 21st at Kent-Meridian High School’s French Field located at 10020 SE 256th Street in Kent. First kick is set for 3:45 PM and tickets are just $7 at the door.
Follow @NorthwestPL on Twitter for in-game updates.