What can you say about a performance that features six goals by a single player, all in the first half? Bellingham United Insider Brandon Enyeart tries to describe the impossible that became reality on Sunday June 8 at Civic Stadium as the Hammers beat the Hoppers 8-2.
by Brandon Enyeart / BUFC Insider
(This is a Bellingham United release) It all started early and by that I mean “1st minute early”. I don’t even think the clock had hit 20 seconds before Bellingham forward, Tyler Bjork had already ripped a shot at net that just missed being on target and it was only 20 seconds later when Tyler Bjork was back on the attack before he was brought down inside the penalty area by Yakima goalkeeper, Jacob Rhoads to earn himself a penalty kick. In return, Bjork converted the penalty for an early 1-0 Hammers lead.
In the 10th minute, Yakima’s league leading offense managed to tie things up with a goal from midfielder, Luis Martinez. That only seemed to light the already raging fire that was Tyler Bjork who scored once again in the 16th minute after a flurry of Hammers shots to give the Hammers the lead once again.
Five minutes later Bjork found himself with some room down the left flank and managed to get behind the Yakima defense before dribbling the ball around Jacob Rhoads to net the natural hat trick in only 21 minutes on the pitch. Seems like a pretty amazing feat right? Well just stay tuned.
Four minutes later Yakima would put themselves back in the match when Jesse Esquivel beat a sprawling Brian Swanson to bring the match to 3-2. However, Tyler Bjork was a man on a mission….a very incredible mission.
In the 26th minute, the Kurtis Pederson/Tyler Bjork connection would take some shape as Bjork received a pretty little heel flick from Pederson that he sent past Rhoads for his fourth goal of the first half. Four goals in one half….I repeat, FOUR GOALS IN ONE HALF! Stick with me; it’s not over just yet.
In the 28th minute Bjork, once again on the attack looked to have his fifth all lined up when the ball sailed just wide of the net. However, it would only take a minute for Bjork to adjust his sights once again when he netted his fifth goal of the first half to give Bellingham the 5-2 lead. Surely he couldn’t go for a double hat trick in one half right? That’s insanity!
Call him crazy, in the 34th minute, not only did Tyler Bjork net an EPLWA record-setting sixth goal (he had actually set the record back at four and then at five, so it was actually his own six-minute record that he broke), but he did it in absolutely stunning fashion with a flying side volley bicycle kick off of a perfectly placed cross from Chris Jepson. Pandemonium broke out at Civic Stadium as every fan came to their feet and asked “did I really just see that!?” It is worth noting that after the match ended, fans who had been to countless professional matches around the world agreed that the goal was one of the most amazing goals they had ever seen live.
Bellingham United FC and a stunned Yakima United FC would go into the half with the Hammers leading 6-2. The second-largest league crowd of the season, 716, were breathless.
Bjork would get one more chance on goal in the 54th minute after being fed a pass from Mo Marenah, however his day would end at six goals as Rhoads was finally able to keep one out. Moments later, Tyler Bjork was subbed out for a hero’s ovation as the crowd applauded the amazing spectacle they had just witnessed.
Tyler Bjork’s bicycle kick goal finished off an amazing first half. (David Willoughby)
With the new EPLWA goalKING leader on the bench, the match would settle down some. The two sides started to get a little chippy with each other which wasn’t a surprise considering the lopsided score. However in the midst of a blizzard of yellow cards, Bellingham’s Daniel Anderson did manage to get on the score sheet as well for Bellingham with a goal assisted by Carlos Badillo to give the Hammers a 7-2 lead.
In the 86th minute, more sloppy play from the Hoppers resulted in a penalty kick being awarded to Bellingham midfielder Ryo Matsubara, who would end up converting it to give Bellingham an 8-2 lead that would end up becoming an 8-2 win. Wow.
Head Coach, Lance Calloway had this to say about the match:
“Well what can I say about today other than ‘WOW!’ Tyler Bjork had a match that I don’t think I have ever witnessed at a level beyond recreational kids soccer. The goals that he scored came from hard work, persistence and being very opportunistic and patient. However the most amazing goal I have ever seen was him hitting a bicycle (kick) from 10 yards out as he adjusted a nearly 30 yard ball that was driven right to left across the pitch by Chris Jepson. Tyler adjusting as it was in flight and getting up on a bicycle kick and hitting it low and hard past the keeper….simply the most amazing goal I have ever seen.
Besides the Tyler Show, there was a lot of good play from our midfield getting penetrating balls played in behind the Yakima defense. I thought today both Joel Grossman and Kurtis Pederson did an exceptional job creating problems for the back line of Yakima with the balls they played to our forwards.
Yakima has some very dangerous attacking players and we had a problem with corralling them in the beginning of the match. I felt our entire back line stepped up as the match progressed and did a really good job considering Yakima is very capable of producing a lot of goals. To improve as a squad we need to be a little sharper and need to be quicker defensively in putting pressure on teams in our middle and defensive third especially with teams like Yakima and what we will see from Spokane next Saturday.”
As for the very lucky fans at today’s match, Coach Calloway had this to say:
“It was great to be back home playing in front of the Hammer fans! I know our boys were very happy to be back home, because we have the best fans in the EPLWA and it was a great turnout today. Fans today got a real treat getting to watch the six goals scored by Tyler (Bjork) in a high-level match.
Looking forward to next week, I know Spokane Shadow is going to bring a great squad into Bellingham and they are really strong on the road…”
It goes without saying that Tyler Bjork was your Hammer Man of the Match in a game where he broke several different records including his own over again. If you were at today’s match, it is safe to say that you will never forget it as long as you live. Simply a magical Sunday afternoon.
With the win Bellingham goes back to the top of the EPLWA with a 5-3-1 record. However their closest opponent – South Sound FC – does have three games in hand against the Hammers. Yakima United FC falls to 3-4-1 and remains in 5th place (at press time).
The next match for Bellingham United FC is next Sunday at 3:00pm against the Spokane Shadow. The Hammers beat Spokane in their first meeting this season 2-1 in Spokane.