Spokane Shadow fans got their money’s worth Saturday night at Joe Albi Stadium.
Zane Higgins’ goal with 5:20 remaining in overtime gave Spokane a 2-1 victory over the Puget Sound BigFoot and assured the Shadow of homefield advantage in the USISL playoffs… at least until the National Finals in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
“We gave the fans a little extra for their money,” said Shadow coach Sean Bushey. “Higgins has really started to find his form and he’s caused the other teams a lot of grief the last four or five games.”
Higgins was certainly the man of the hour (and 40 minutes) as Spokane completed its league schedule.
He staked the Shadow to a 1-0 lead in the 23rd minute when he nailed a shot into the right corner of the net on a pass from Craig Waibel.
Spokane dominated from the start. And if it wasn’t for an own-goal off Stuart Rose’s head with 2 minutes remaining in the first half, Shadow goalkeeper Josh Fouts would have had his fourth shutout of the season.
“Those kinds of things (own-goals) happen,” said Bushey. “But we didn’t let it affect us. We kept after them the whole game.”
Higgins’ game-winner came off a fine cross-field pass from Chad Brown.
“I’m starting to feel like my old self,” Higgins said. “I was in a bit of a slump for a while, but lately my play has been more consistent.”
Spokane got off 21 shots on goal, narrowly missing the net on several occasions.
“A lot of that is due to the new players we have out there,” stated Higgins. “It takes a while to know where the other guy is going to be, but with the caliber of players we have, it won’t take us too long.”
The victory gives the Shadow a USISL-best 14-2 league record. It marks the second straight season that Spokane has accomplished the feat.
Spokane, 15-3 overall, heads to California for a pair of non-league matches.
Friday, they’ll take on the D3 Pro League San Francisco Bay Seals, followed by the Chico Rooks, also D3, on Saturday.
“At least now we can go to California and have some fun,” laughed Bushey.
Puget Sound falls to 4-9 in Northwest Division play and 10-11 overall. Four of the BigFoot’s nine losses were to Spokane.
Spokane 2, Puget Sound 1 (OT)
First half-1, Spokane, Higgins (Waibel), 22:10. 2, Puget Sound, own goal, 43:00. Second half-None. Overtime-3, Spokane, Higgins (Brown), 100:00.
Shots on goal-Puget Sound 11, Spokane 21. Saves-Puget Sound, May 7. Spokane, Fouts 3.
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