The Force Men opened their 2019 season on the wrong end of a 9 goal match against league newcomers PAC NW on Saturday.
Coach Brandon Henry named a roster featuring 7 players in their teens with an average roster age of just barely 20 years of age. Meanwhile, PAC displayed a talented and experienced roster of players with an average age of over 25 years old and including current and former professional players as well as some USL National Title finalists. It was going to be an uphill battle for the Force with the difference in experience.
In the first half the Force missed out on a couple of real solid chances after PAC had taken a 1-0 lead. Zurfluh with a chance from the top of the box that he wished he had back as it sailed high over the bar. PAC extended their lead to 3-0 in added time with 2 goals just before the break. The first of which seemed to be offside to everyone on both teams but the flag stayed down. One more after the Force raced forward on the restart to get a good opportunity before the half that left them exposed to a quick counter and the score was 3-0 at the break.
The boys in blue had a couple of opportunities right at the start of the second half but were once again caught on the counter with the EPLWA's all time leading goal scorer Tyler Bjork finishing for PAC. (Previously with Seattle Stars) Sixteen year old Brandt Kelly almost had goal of the match when after lacing a shot that was incredibly saved by the PAC keeper, the ball rebounded back out to him which he spun and hit a bicycle kick that just crept past the right post.
In the 70th minute with the Force pushing hard, the ball was splayed to the right where Gil de la Luz pounced and put the Force on the board with his first career goal. Bjork with a strike again for PAC before a sizzling cross by Zach Manao was directed into the PAC goal by for Kitsap Puma Corey Keitz for the Force's second goal. Likely wouldn't have mattered as there were 3 Force attackers there for the touch in any case. PAC would add one more goal before the end for a 7-2 final score.
The Force will regroup before moving on to game two of the season next weekend away at the Seattle Stars. Coach Henry is confident that his squad can put this match behind them and focus on the rest of the season after such a promising preseason campaign.
The next home game for the Force Men will be on May 18th, at Gordon Field against last year's League Champions, Washington Premier FC. Kickoff is scheduled for 6pm immediately following the Women's match at 4pm. Click here for tickets to join us!!