It was a battle Friday night, May 8, when Bellingham United FC hosted the Seattle Sounders U23s at Civic Field. It was a defensive match that ended in a tie as both teams only allowed one goal.
United struck first in the 4’ with a brilliant bicycle kick goal by Brendan Quilici. Quilici freed himself up in the penalty box after a well placed free kick by United and fired the ball in the goal.
“Its always good to get a goal early when you go up against a quality side like the [Sounders] U23s,” Calloway said. “We had the opportunity and for once we capitalized, something we haven’t done the first couple of games.”
Bellingham was able to get some rhythm and push the ball forward, giving United some dangerous scoring opportunities.
During the 35’ the Sounders answered, as Alex DeCarolis found Florian Valot free on the far side of the penalty box and he shot it past United’s goalie, Mark Pollack to tie the match at one. The score was knotted 1-1 as the teams cleared for halftime.
The match was highlighted by phenomenal defense from both sides and some terrific saves by all of the goalies. At the half, United subbed goalie Riley Liddle in for Pollack and the Sounders subbed in Doug Herrick for Paul Christensen.
“I was really impressed with our backline tonight, Uche Ugwoaba, Nolan Smith, Carlos Badillo, Sean Conner, and Keith Farris. They bent, but they didn’t break,” Calloway said. “Our goalkeepers also came up with a couple big saves for us.”
Early in the match, Pollack went out on a one-on-one and snatched the ball from a Sounders attacker. And with less than five minutes to play, Liddle had a stellar save combination to keep the score tied at one.
United had a couple prime opportunities to break the tie down the stretch. Sean Conner drove a free kick from about 35 yards out that almost went in top right corner of the goal, but Herrick made a fantastic diving save. And in the 86’ a shot by Nick Cashmere caromed off the crossbar. Neither team was able to notch the go ahead score as both defenses bucked down until the final whistle blew.