04/28/2014 9:15 AM
Bellingham United FC Defeats Vancouver Victory FC 2-0 in Season Opener
For the first time ever, Bellingham United FC had the chance to open up their regular season at home. This season happens to be a special one due to it being the inaugural season for the brand new Evergreen Premier League.
The Hammers took to the pitch sporting their – in the words of JayZ – “All Black Everything” kits, as they took on Vancouver Victory FC who were dressed in pale blue jerseys and white trunks.
Throughout the first 25 minutes, it was mainly a battle at midfield for possession as neither team posed any real threat to their opponent’s respective goalkeepers. Bellingham had the better buildups, but couldn’t find the finishing touch early on, while Vancouver managed to mount several counter attacks that all fell short in the final third as well.
In the 37th minute things started to get a little interesting when an alleged push inside of Bellingham’s penalty area resulted in a PK for “The Victory”. The crowd held their breath as they prepared for the worst, but were all brought to their feet as their beloved Leo Cohen made the save to keep the match 0-0.
Sean Connor would find himself at the corner flag in the 42nd minute with hopes of putting BUFC up 1-0 before halftime and after finding Oscar Jimenez for a brilliant header, he did just that. The Copper Hog Beer Garden erupted as the Hammers scored their first goal of the 2014 EPLWA season right in front of them.
Throughout the early stages of the second half, the Hammers seemed to find a rhythm that would for the most part keep Vancouver Victory at bay. In the 59th minute Bellingham would be given a free kick in a somewhat dangerous area and three year veteran midfielder, Brendan “Quil” Quilici would be the man called upon to take it as Western Washington University superstar, Andrew Weishaar waited near the goal for the delivery. It was a nearly perfect one as Weishaar had no trouble finding the back of the net to give the Hammers a 2-0 lead.
The Victory mounted a couple attacks just before the 80th minute mark including a long distance attempt from Mirza Ramic that barely sailed over the net, but solid defending from Joel Grossman and Chris “Mayor” Jepson would keep Vancouver from being any real threat.
As the clock drew closer to full time, fatigue started to set in for the visitors and things became a little sloppier which led to several fouls, including a yellow card to Bellingham United FC midfielder, Sean Connor. That wouldn’t change the fact that this season opener belonged to the Hammers, as they held on for the 2-0 win.
Head Coach, Lance Calloway had this to say about the match:
“Today's match was a good to start of the season. I was pleased how we linked passes throughout the match and maintained a large percentage of possession today. Today's Hammer of the match, keeper Leo Cohen was huge for the squad in stopping a weak PK called on us late in the first. That gave us the boost to push us to be better. Andrew Weishaar was dangerous throughout the entire time he was on the pitch. Defensively Joel Grossman was stellar as he cleaned up anything played behind our back line.
Going forward we need to improve on finishing the opportunities we create as we need to put teams away, especially in matches like today when we created many as we did today. Unfortunately while Vancouver created only a few chances we needed to decisively put the game out of reach by finishing a couple of the numerous chances we had. Again a good start but we need to get better.”
As stated in Coach Calloway’s comments, your Hammer Man of the Match was goalkeeper, Leo Cohen. The Hammers will head out on the road next weekend to face the Spokane Shadow on May 3rd and will then stop by Wenatchee United’s stomping grounds on their way back through the next day on May 4th. The next home game for Bellingham will be May 9th as they take on the Seattle Sounders U-23’s in a friendly match.
-Brandon Enyeart, Team Insider