Christian Rotter scored just once in the regular season but turned in a career game scoring all three Bellingham United goals to knock off PacNW SC, 3-2, at Civic Stadium on Saturday evening.
Rotter opened the scoring just six minutes into the game jumping on a turnover in front of the PacNW goal and slotting it past Pac keeper Cameron Welty. For the next 20 minutes, Rotter continued to cause havoc for the PacNW defense and eventually got behind the defense again scoring his second goal to make it 2-1 Bellingham in the 25th minute.
But PacNW fought back and Tyler Bjork made it a one goal game in the 43rd minute heading in Harrison Kurtz’s corner kick. It was Bjork’s 13th goal of the 2019 and his 70th all-time EPLWA goal coming against his former team. The goal gave PacNW hope after the first 45 minutes of play down by just one goal, 2-1.
The two teams played a tight, back-and-forth second half with Bellingham keeper Hector Gutierrez making a handful of saves to keep United up 2-1 and the Hammers just missing on a couple of nice opportunities. But it was Rotter again taking advantage of a PacNW turnover and then beating Pac’s second half goalkeeper, Dante Perez, one-versus-one to score what proved to be the game winning goal in the 84th minute.
Cory Keitz scored on a penalty kick to cut the score to just one in stoppage time, but just moments later, the ref blew the final whistle and Bellingham advanced to their first EPLWA championship game with the 3-2 win.
PacNW wrapped up their first season in the EPLWA with a 7-2-1 record and a +21 goal differential thanks in part to Tyler Bjork’s Golden Boot season.
Bellingham United goals: Christian Rotter (‘6, ’25 & ’84)
PacNW SC goals: Tyler Bjork (’43), Cory Keitz (’90+ PK)
(Featured photo of Christian Rotter by Jon Bergman – Full gallery)