OLYMPIA, Wash. – Craig Johnson scored the game winning goal in the 88th minute to lead the Oly Town Artesians men to a 3-2 win over Yakima United at Black Hills High School on Saturday night. The dramatic win clinched second place in the Evergreen Premier League’s South Division for the Artesians and they will host a quarterfinal playoff game against PacNW next weekend. Max Hauser added a goal and an assist in the exciting win.
For the first time in league play this season, the Artesians opened the scoring and took a 1-0 lead when Max Hauser headed home a corner kick from Alec Zimmerman in the 13th minute. Despite Oly Town holding much of the possession in the first half, Yakima nearly equalized in the 23rd minute when Artesians goalkeeper Sawyer Price’s pass was picked off by Yakima’s Michael Raya, but Price came out to meet the challenge and got to the ball just before Raya and knocked it off of the attacker and out for a goal kick.
The Artesians built their lead to 2-0 after Max Hauser raced up the middle and found a streaking Jason Fairhurst on the right, who slotted a shot into the left corner past Hoppers goalkeeper and former Artesian Jorge Villegas in the 42nd minute, and the half came to a close with Oly on top by two goals.
But Yakima picked up the intensity in the second half and put increasing pressure on the Oly Town defense. A nasty tackle at midfield in the 53rd minute by Yakima defender Jose Marquez knocked Fairhurst out of the game, but the referee decided the challenge did not merit a second yellow for Marquez, and the Artesians looked a little shocked after the injury. Seven minutes later, Luis Valle took a long pass from Marquez and fired a shot into the right corner past Price to make it 2-1. Ten minutes after that, in the 70th minute, Price made a save a shot by Valle’s but the rebound went straight to Angel Alvarado, who poked it in and tied the scored at 2-2.
Then, in the 88th minute, Sammy Taffola found Craig Johnson (who came on for Fairhurst) near midfield, Johnson carried it up and fed the ball to Joe DiCarlo and then continued his run, getting the ball back from DiCarlo in perfect position on the left to fire a shot past a diving Villegas and give the Artesians a 3-2 lead with just minutes to play. Yakima had a couple of chances near the end including a stoppage time free kick with the goalkeeper up in the box, but the defense held firm and Oly took the dramatic 3-2 win and claimed a home game in the EPLWA playoffs.
The Artesians improved to 3-2-1 on the season with 10 points but tied with Tacoma Narrows on points in the South Division and lost the tiebreaker due to a 4-2 advantage for Narrows on head-to-head goal differential. That put Oly Town into the second seed out of the South and they will face the North’s #3 seed, PacNW and all-time EPLWA goals leader Tyler Bjork in the first round of the playoffs on either Friday or Saturday at Black Hills High School. Exact date and time is to be determined.
Yakima, meanwhile, fell to 2-3-1 and dropped to the #3 seed out of the South. They will travel to Puyallup next week to face Washington Premier.
Oly Town will be back in action on Wednesday night in the semifinals of the Washington State Super Cup. They travel to West Seattle to face Sporting International at the Southwest Athletic Complex next to Chief Sealth International High School. First kick is set for 8:15 PM.
GOALS: ’13 – Max Hauser (Alec Zimmerman) – Oly Town, ’42 – Jason Fairhurst (Hauser) – Oly Town, ’60 – Luis Valle (Jose Marquez) – Yakima, ’70 – Angel Alvarado – Yakima, ’88 – Craig Johnson (Joe DiCarlo) – Oly Town
DISCIPLINE: Jose Marquez (Yakima) – Yellow, Alejandro Guzman (Yakima) – Yellow, Juan Antonio Lopez (Yakima) – Yellow, Sammy Taffola (Oly Town) – Yellow
LINEUP: 1 – Sawyer Price (GK), 2 – Manny Nicasio, 3 – Marcos Santos (’89), 7 – Jake Zimmerman, 8 – Allen Escalante, 10 – Alec Zimmerman (’61), 11 – Trevor Thompson (’67), 14 – Jason Fairhurst (’53), 15 – Marcus Swanson, 16 – Collin LaBranche, 17 – Max Hauser
SUBS: 4 – Dakota Seddon (’89), 6 – Sammy Taffola (’61), 9 – Craig Johnson (’53), 12 – Alex Lopez, 13 – Joe DiCarlo (’67), 18 – Noah Urbina