The Spokane Shadow and the Cascade Surge played 105 minutes and decided nothing.
And that’s just how Shadow goalkeeper John Nagel likes it.
Nagel stopped four straight Cascade shots in a shootout to spark Spokane to a 2-1 United Systems of Independent Soccer League nonconference victory at Spokane Falls Community College on Saturday night before approximately 1,000 spectators.
“I love it when the match is all on me,” Nagel said. “Shootouts are fun. My teammates have a lot of confidence in me. They know they only need to make a few shots for us to have a chance to win.”
The victory improved the Shadow, who lead their Premier League Western Conference, to 6-1, 10-2 overall.
They also improved to 3-1 against teams from the higher-caliber Pro Division Western Conference.
Cascade, defending Western Conference champs, dropped to 2-8.
On Saturday, Spokane almost didn’t make it to a shootout.
Cascade’s Sterling Wismer scored a goal on a header off a Luis Yanez free kick just 4:35 into the match and nearly made it stand up.
A key substitution late in the second half turned the match the Shadow’s way.
Coach Einar Thorarinsson sent in 6-foot-2 Jeff Rose, a Central Valley graduate, late in the second half.
“We needed some fresh legs out there,” Thorarinsson said. “Jeff gives us a big target to aim for in the middle and he’s strong enough to hold off the defenders.
“Our strategy changes when he comes into the game. Instead of aiming for a space we aim for him.”
The Shadow found Rose open in the middle and he connected with a slicing Zane Higgins who booted the ball into the right corner of the net to knot the score at 1-1 with just 8 minutes left to play.
Nagel worked his magic in the overtime period. He snared a Byron Alvarez breakaway attempt with 3 minutes remaining and 2 minutes later he leaped to snag an Ean Lensch shot on goal.
The Shadow nearly pulled it out in overtime, but a Ryan Edwards kick caromed off the crossbar with 20 seconds remaining. Edwards from the University of Washington, was playing in his first game for the Shadow after joining the team two days ago.
Thorarinsson figured things were going the Shadow’s way when it came time for the shootout.
“John is very confident in shootouts,” he said. “This is our third come-from-behind win this season, although we’ve never had to come back that late in the match.”
Ferris grad Dave Berto gave the Shadow a 1-0 lead in the shootout with a soft shot after Surge goalie Stuart Dobson went for his fake.
Kieran Barton drilled a goal right down the middle to put Spokane up 2-0 after three kicks.
Nagel turned back the first three Surge shots and then forced Lensch to take too much time to get off his shot to wrap up the win.
“I’m not the tallest goalie,” Nagel said. “So I like to come out quick to cut down the angle. I try to get to them right when they make their second touch (on the ball) and force them to make a mistake.
“It was nice to get some action late in the game. My teammates carried me for most of the night. I got to do a lot of standing around.”
Spokane travels to Salem, Ore., to take on Cascade next Saturday.
Spokane 2, Cascade 1
First half - 1, Cascade, Wismer (Yanez), 4:35. Second half - 2, Spokane, Higgins (J.Rose), 82:00. Overtime - None. Shootout - Spokane 2, Cascade 0.
Shots on goal - Cascade 15, Spokane 11. Saves - Cascade, Dobson 5. Spokane, Nagel 6.
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