Stars fall to first-place Hammers at Starfire

Bellingham United FC headed out to the Emerald City Sunday afternoon for a date with the Seattle Stars. Even though the Stars had been struggling to get their season going, the very recent wounds inflicted by West Sound FC would be a constant reminder to the Hammers not to underestimate any club regardless of their record.

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by Brandon Enyeart, BUFC Team Insider

Throughout the first half, Bellingham controlled most of the tempo against the Stars and were able to nab a goal quickly in the 7th minute after a Dan Anderson cross found Sean Connor’s head, Connor’s header hit the crossbar, but the rebound was collected by Andrew Weishaar and put away for the first goal of the match.

Although the Hammers had the lead, the Stars did find some success winning balls in the air. This would lead to some halftime adjustments from the coaching staff, but not before Kurtis Pederson would knock in the second goal of the game off of a pass from Rene Caro in the 41st minute. Bellingham would go into the half up 2-0.

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The halftime adjustments seemed to pay off as the Hammers kept the ball out of the air and maintained more possession. The score would remain 2-0 though up until the 79th minute when a buildup from Tyler Bjork gave Muhammed “Mo” Mareneh the opportunity to stretch the Hammers’ lead to three. Never in doubt, Mo found the back of the net to give Bellingham a 3-0 lead on the road.

In the 90th minute Kurtis Pederson would get a brace after knocking in a cross from Conlon Kiffney. The Hammers managed to keep the Stars from scoring through stoppage time to earn Leo Cohen his second clean sheet of the season and Bellingham’s fourth EPLWA win before 183 fans.

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Head Coach Lance Calloway had this to say on Bellingham’s performance:

“Today’s match was good and got the boys back on track. The first half we controlled most of the tempo and created most of the opportunities. We had a problem because we were trying to battle in the air with Seattle and they were far better than us at winning balls out of the air, but in the second half our team played the ball on the deck and we played far better…”

He then went on to say…

“…this win really does a lot for these guys after the disappointing performance we had last Sunday. To come up with pretty much a commanding victory shows the guys they can do it if they focus.”

This win brings Bellingham United FC (4-1-0) to a tie with Vancouver Victory FC whose record is also at 4-1-0, but Bellingham keeps the top spot in the EPLWA on goal differential. The Seattle Stars remain in last place with an 0-3-0 record.

Bellingham’s next match is once again on the road when the Hammers will look for some revenge against West Sound FC (1-3-0) in Silverdale on Sunday the 25th. Kickoff is at 4pm.

The Stars will continue to search for their first win when they host Yakima United FC on Saturday May 24 at Starfire.

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