Second half sub Nick Cashmere scored the game winning goal in the 82nd minute and added an assist on a stoppage time insurance goal to lead Bellingham United to their first Evergreen Premier League championship with a 4-2 win over PacNW on Sunday night at a packed Orca Field. Spencer Wolfe, Uriel Herrera and Rene Caro each scored for the Hammers in the win while Thomas Nguyen and Andrew Rotter got on the board for PacNW.
Bellingham United put a charge into the Orca Field crowd early when Spencer Wolfe punched a ball that bounced around the box and rebounded to him in from close range to give the Hammers a 1-0 lead in just the fifth minute of play.
Over the next 20 minutes, Bellingham had six corner kicks and a number of good opportunities to make it a two goal game, but PacNW’s Thomas Nguyen evened things up at 1-1 off of a pass from Michael Rojas in the 25th minute. But just four minutes later, Uriel Herrera put the Hammers back on top, 2-1, and the two teams took that score into the halftime break.
PacNW opened the second half on the front foot threatening to even things up multiple times. It took 24 minutes, but in the 69th, Andrew Rotter kept the ball away from a sliding goalkeeper and was able to chip it past Hector Gutierrez as he tried to recover to equalize at 2-2.
Both teams made a number of changes over the next ten minutes, including the introduction of longtime Hammer Nick Cashmere in the 79th minute. Just three minutes into his shift, Cashmere pressed PacNW goalkeeper Cam Welty and forced him into firing a pass off of Cashmere’s leg and into the back of the net from point blank to score what proved to be the game winning goal in the 82nd minute.
With PacNW pressing high and chasing the equalizer in stoppage time, Cashmere received a long pass down the right side and sprinted forward, launching a long cross into the box that found a streaking Rene Caro (an 89th minute sub) who scored the insurance goal and clinched the 4-2 Bellingham championship win.
Bellingham United, a founding EPLWA member, avenged their only loss of the season to PacNW and finished the year with eight wins in nine regular season and playoff games to capture their first league title.
PacNW’s exciting playoff run came to an end. They finished the regular season with just two wins and finished third in the North Division, but doubled that in the playoffs with wins over Oly Town and Tacoma Narrows to make the Championship game.
GOALS: 5′ – Spencer Wolfe – Bellingham, 25′ – Thomas Nguyen (Michael Rojas) – PacNW, 29′ – Uriel Herrera (Ivan Colin) – Bellingham, 69′ – Andrew Rotter (Demian Alvarez) – PacNW, 82′ – Nick Cashmere – Bellingham, 90’+ – Rene Caro (Cashmere) – Bellingham
BELLINGHAM LINEUP: 1 – Hector Gutierrez (GK), 2 – Danny Fazio, 6 – Drew Farnsworth (69′), 4 – Iakov Shmelev, 9 – Richard Henderson (’89), 11 – Ivan Colin (69′), 12 – Uriel Herrera (79′), 13 – Noah Rasmussen (85′), 18 – Cam Miller, 19 – Spencer Wolfe, 14 – Noe Betancourt Cruz,
SUBS: 3 – Nick Cashmere (79′), 5 – Connor Steward (85′), 7 – Christian Caro (69′), 10 – Rene Caro (89′), 15 – Dylan Langei, 24 – Ale Tomassi (69′)
PACNW LINEUP: 00 – Cam Welty (GK), 3 – Sean Russell (55′), 6 – Charlie Hayward, 8 – Demian Alvarez, 9 – Tyler Bjork, 10 – Sean Sent, 11 – Thomas Nguyen (60′), 13 – Andrew Rotter, 17 – Tyler Hardin (87′), 18 – Michael Rojas, 19 – Leo Burney
SUBS: 2 – Kante Hamidou (70′), 5 – Radcliffe McDougald, 7 – Carlos Moate, 12 – Marcos Figueroa (55′), 16 – Josh Chang (87′)