BELLINGHAM, WA— Vancouver Victory FC became the first Evergreen Premier League club to ever win its first six matches of a season as they were forced to work hard but eventually beat Bellingham United 3-0 at Civic Stadium on Sunday May 31. The match was played before a season-high crowd of 702.
Borce (“Bor-chay”) Atanasov scored his fourth goal of the year in the match. The V2FC striker says team chemistry is part of the winning formula. “We didn’t come out that strong against Bellingham, but then we stepped up our game to match their effort. Team chemistry is coming right along. We set our egos aside. We battle for the team and the badge.” His goal was the last of the match, coming in the 80th minute. It was an example of unselfish play.
“Timur (“Tee-More”) Zhividze beat a defender and made a run around 35 yards out down the right side,” says Atanasov of how his goal was set up. “He ran down the right side and played a square ball across the penalty box. I was there to tap it in on the left side. That was an example of how we are sharing with each other. Timur could have taken the shot, but he gave a chance to me.”
Zhividze didn’t score in the match, but he leads the Victory in goals with five. Meanwhile, Atanasov is just happy to be playing again. He missed a lot of last season with V2FC due to injury, and then pulled a hip flexor this season. He’s played in three matches and already has four goals.
“In this week’s game our attackers again showed their ability to create separation from defenders, willingness to be unselfish, and quality around the goal,” says head coach Aaron Lewis. “The entire group, highlighted by some solid goal keeping, allowed us to earn another shutout, which we are extremely proud of. We hope to increase our time on the ball this week, as want to relieve some pressure on our back line in Seattle, and stay in an attack mode.”
|EVERGREEN PREMIER LEAGUE||Pts||GP||W||L||T||GF||GA||GD|
|VANCOUVER VICTORY FC||18||6||6||0||0||20||5||+15|
|SOUTH SOUND FC||16||6||5||0||1||23||7||+16|
|YAKIMA UNITED FC||10||7||3||3||1||17||13||+4|
|SEATTLE STARS FC||7||6||2||3||1||10||12||-2|
|BELLINGHAM UNITED FC||0||6||0||6||0||4||24||-20|
Vancouver took the lead in the match in the 10th minute on a goal from Alex Segovia, his third of the season. It was 2-0 in the 41st when Alex Nimo scored his second of the season.
Bellingham had their moments, including a 51st minute attempt that was cleared off the line by V2FC defender James Partee.
“It feels good to be 6-0-0 especially since we have been on the road for four of those six,” says Victory owner Barrett Goddard. “Head coach Aaron Lewis has done a nice job of adjusting to the various styles of play we have already seen. A deep and talented roster and his coaching adjustments are seeing us through.”
The Victory defense earned the shut out thanks to the play by Williams and a split shift from Jordan Farr (first half) and Arne Niermann (second half.) “The coaches voted Niermann as our player of the game,” says Goddard. “He made at least three outstanding saves to keep the shut out.” One of them was a breakaway from Bellingham’s Mo Mareneh that Niermann squelched.
Coach Lewis is happy with the result. “This week was satisfying because it was a challenging trip, and we integrated several new players into our traveling team. Even with the new faces, the consistent commitment these players have shown towards building a team-centered culture has remained solid.”
Up next for Vancouver is another road match, this time in Marysville against Seattle Stars FC on Saturday June 6.