Grays Harbor Gulls FC had a tough task opening the season against the defending Western Washington Premier League champions, Snohomish County Steelheads. The Gulls were only able to dress 15 players due to injuries and despite the 4-1 score line, the out-manned Gulls were not as outmatched as the score would suggest.
The majority of the first half saw even possession and few chances on either goal. The Gulls came close to scoring first through Juanito Lopez, but his shot would be pushed wide for a corner.
The Steelheads broke through first in the 25th minute. A Snohomish attacker was brought down in the penalty area by Gulls defender Christian Sanchez and the subsequent penalty was slotted home by the Steelheads Rio Alcorta.
Snohomish would double the lead in the 35th minute with a team goal down the right wing, before a cross found Parker Van Driel behind the Gulls back line for a simple finish.
Gulls goalkeeper Alexis Garcia made several saves in the match that allowed the Gulls to stay close. However, Grays Harbor wasn’t able to break through the Snohomish defense until the 65th minute, already trailing 3-0. “ It was a hard fought game. We can learn a lot from this game that will help us improve and keep pace with the top teams in the league" said Garcia.
Build up in midfield by Lopez, Jay Hardy, and Alex Barene created space for Aaron Arias to find a cross to the back post for Irvin Vicente who finished in traffic for the first Gulls goal of the season.
Snohomish added a goal on a short corner kick with 5 minutes to play.
Head coach Drew Grannemann believed there were many positive takeaways from the match despite the score. “Possession was pretty even but a few costly mistakes tipped the scale. We did a great job building the attack and creating goal scoring opportunities. We just need to correct our mistakes and tidy up the small aspects of our game.”
Next up for Grays Harbor is an away match April 10th at Gig Harbor, before returning home on April 18th to host Federal Way.