Wenatchee Fire Escapes from Bellingham with Close Win
The Wenatchee Fire took to the Bellingham Sportsplex Saturday night, searching for their first winning streak of the season against the WSA Rapids, a side they had beaten 7-4 earlier in the season. They earned it with a hard-fought 6-5 victory, characterized by roughness and the 11 cards issued throughout the match.
Wenatchee struck first less than 2 minutes into the 1st quarter, when Victor Navarro put his 7th of the season past Rapids 'keeper Christian Warman, but the Fire took time to get their legs under them, looking scattered and confused on the defensive side. This led to 2 goals in return fire from the Rapids before Garret Brown evened the score with less than 4 minutes to go in the opening frame to turn the momentum to the Fire.
Garret Brown again lit up the score light at the beginning of the 2nd quarter to return the Fire to their initial 1 goal lead. This would be put into jeopardy at the 10:56 mark when Brendan Quilici was awarded a shootout chance after Johnny Rodriguez handled the ball in the box. 'Keeper Matt Stalnik was equal to the task for the Fire and made his 3rd shootout stop of the season out of three chances.
Wenatchee turned Stalnik's stop into a successful penalty kill and a solid 2nd period in which they blanked the Rapids and stretched their lead to 2 on the strength of a Edgar Leon goal with under 1 minute remaining.
The 3rd period saw offsetting goals by Scott Swanson of the Rapids early, matched by Mauricio Lopez of the Fire late in the penultimate frame.
In the 4th quarter, aggressiveness became the norm. 8 of the 11 penalties dealt by the match officials would come during the last 15 minutes of the match, including a scuffle that resulted in cleared benches and a red card ejection to Edgar Leon, who will have to serve an automatic one-game suspension at the next match. Leon was tangled up with a Rapids defender and either stepped on or had his leg grabbed by the downed player. His argument was a lost cause, but the Fire stood true during the resulting penalty kill. They would go on to kill 3 out of the 4 man down situations.
Down 6-4 in the dying stages of the match, further controversy ensued. By all accounts, the Fire had committed 2 fouls since their previous 6-foul blue card penalty, yet the local officials, with 1:56 remaining in the match, whistled another 6 foul blue card penalty against the Fire whereupon the Rapids scored their first and only power play goal of the match, cutting Wenatchee's lead in half.
A penalty issued to the Rapids at the :28 mark sealed the match's fate, as the Fire went on to win consecutive matches for the first time this season with a 6-5 victory. Garret Brown, with 2 goals, 1 assist, and a glorious black eye was named man of the match for his efforts. Wenatchee Fire FC was outshot 26-18, with 'keeper Matt Stalnik earning his second win of the season behind a stellar 21 save night.
The Wenatchee Fire improved to 3-1 against Premier teams and to 3-4 overall. They return home to the Wenatchee Valley Sportsplex, Sunday, January 22, at 3:05 to take on Revolución Tijuana of Mexico.
Fire 6, Rapids 5
Wenatchee ............................ 2 2 1 1 -- 6
Whatcom Soccer Academy . 2 0 1 2 -- 5
1, We, Victor Navarro 13:04; 2, Wh, Joel Grossman (Brendan Quilici) 9:46; 3, Wh, Matt Fishbaugher (Quilici); 4, We, Garret Brown (Elias Lopez).
5, We, Brown (Mauricio Lopez) 13:42; 6, We, Edgar Leon (Brown) :59.
7, Wh, Scot Swanson (Quilici) 10:58; 8, We, M. Lopez 3:02.
9, We, Andy Garcia 7:23; 10, Wh, Rob Curry (Oscar Jimenez) 7:20; 11, Wh, Dave Hileman (Jimenez) PP 1:46.
Saves-Wenatchee, Matt Stalnik, 21; Whatcom, Christian Warman, 16, Nick Saletto, 2. Special teams--Wenatchee, Power play 0/3; Whatcom, Power play 1/4, Shootout 0/1.
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Professional Arena Soccer League Stories from January 23, 2011
- Vortex Drop Another Wild One, 11-10 - Ohio Vortex
- Wenatchee Fire Escapes from Bellingham with Close Win - Wenatchee Fire
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