The STATE of Soccer in WASHINGTON
Bellingham United has a chance to win the Pacific Coast Soccer League title on the weekend of July 28 and 29 as they battle with the other top teams in the Challenge Cup playoffs.
Every year the Pacific Coast Soccer League (PCSL) has a tournament known as the Challenge Cup to determine the league champion in a knockout playoff system among the top 4 teams in the standing from the regular season.
Based on their third place finish in the standings, Bellingham United will face off in what has quickly become a fierce rivalry with Poco City FC.
In the first match between these two teams in Coquitlam, Poco City FC beat the Hammers 4:0 in a hailstorm of red cards when the match got carried away. The rematch played in Bellingham in June saw a different result as BUFC scored a last minute goal to send Poco City off 2:1 losers.
goalWA.net asked Hammers head coach Lance Calloway to preview the Hammers’ weekend “Challenge.” See our Q & A below.
GW: Describe the club’s play last weekend in the Kennedy Cup and what you can use / build on going forward. Are the losses a momentum killer, or new motivation?
Lance Calloway: Last week’s Kennedy Cup was great to get in a couple added matches for our guys. Prior to the Cup we had decided that we would put forth our regular squad against IPS/Marathon Taverna from Portland and to then play reserves regardless of the outcome in order to give our regulars a bit of rest before heading into the Challenge Cup. The match against IPS was great as they are a great side with a couple of very crafty and fast strikers up top which caused us some problems. Bottom line this was a match where a good team capitalized on mistakes made by the opponent and that is what IPS did. We came out flat in the first half as we were too casual with the ball and made a mistake in the back with our communication and IPS took advantage and scored from it. The second half was a completely different matter as we really came out and pressed them and we had several great chances but were either hitting the post or their keeper made a couple excellent saves. We were pressing late in the match and looking to push another player forward when we made another mistake and paid for it. Again we made a mistake in the back with a very poor clearance from our keeper that put us at a disadvantage and IPS scored from it. Credit to them, it was a great match and they were a fun squad for the guys to play.
Our match on Sunday was with our reserve players to get some of them match time and chance to play against San Carlos All Stars. The San Carlos squad came out to play and it was a very even match with a 3-2 result for San Carlos.
Will you have a full, healthy roster for the Challenge Cup? Any plans to split the starters up between the matches to keep everyone fresh?
We do have a relativley healthy roster heading up to the Challenge Cup on Saturday as we will face PoCo City FC. We did lose an outside back with Justin Diener pulling tendons in the arch of his foot. We will be missing Brendan Quilici, one of the core midfielders for our side as he is in a wedding on Saturday but when we play Sunday he will be there and we are missing Joel Grossman who had plans made several months back to be out of town. Other than that we should have a very solid squad going up. In regards to splitting the squad up between matchs, we have been playing so many double headers all season we are accustomed to managing this. We will be going with our strongest side we have available on Saturday and then we have some great players who are not necesarily starting but are quite able to do so.
What are your thoughts in preparing to face PoCo city once again?
PoCo City I feel is the most talented and dangerous of the four squads that will be in the Challenge Cup IF they have their full slate of players. They are a very talented side that play an extremely solid tactical match and move the ball extremely well to exploit one v. one situations. We have focused this week on overall team defending ensuring we have numbers behind the ball to defend as a group and then moving the numbers forward into attack. We need to remain compact as they have the ability, if we lose our discipline, of spreading opponents out and then using their talent on the ball to take advantage and create dangerous chances.
Describe the club’s travel plans. When will you arrive, and will it be as a team, or are players going up separately, etc.?
With a 2pm match time we are going to be driving up together as a squad as we typically do for our away matches as it is only a little over 1hr and 15 minutes away so we will drive up and back for each match.
I think, as well as several of our players, I stated above the most dangerous squad up there is PoCo City if they have their full compliment of players. They have some past pro players on their side so they have a lot of players with solid experience along with enough youth to really pressure the opponents. I do feel if we are disciplined and work for one another we can match up quite well and come out with a win and then play for the Championship. I like the fact that in order to win the Cup we have to play the best right off the bat.
The 2012 Challenge Cup tournament for all divisions will be hosted by Chilliwack FC the weekend of July 28 – 29 at Townsend Park and Exhibition Field in Chilliwack, British Columbia.
Admission is free. Awards will be presented at the end of each final.
|Saturday July 28th|
|GAME #||TOWNSEND A|
|1||12:00PM||Men’s Reserve/U-21 Division||Kamloops Heat||vs||Chilliwack FC|
|2||2:00PM||Men’s Premier Division||Vancouver Thunderbirds||vs||Coquitlam Metro-Ford SC|
|3||4:00PM||Women’s Premier Division||Fraser Valley Action||vs||Kamloops Heat *|
|GAME #||TOWNSEND B|
|4||12:00PM||Men’s Reserve/U-21 Division||Victoria United||vs||3West Vancouver FC|
|5||2:00PM||Men’s Premier Division||PoCo City FC||vs||Bellingham United|
|6||4:00PM||Women’s Premier Division||Vancouver Whitecaps FC||vs||Coquitlam Metro-Ford SC|
|GAME #||TOWNSEND C|
|7||12:00PM||Women’s Reserve/U-21 Division||West Vancouver FC||vs||Kelowna United|
|8||2:00PM||Women’s Reserve/U-21 Division||Mid Isle Highlanders FC||vs||Penticton Pinnacles|
|Sunday July 29th|
|GAME # EXHIBITION FIELD|
|9||10:00AM||Men’s U21 Final||Game 1 Winner||vs||Game 4 Winner|
|10||12:00PM||Women’s U21 Final||Game 7 Winner||vs||Game 8 Winner|
|11||2:00PM||Men’s Premier Final||Game 2 Winner||vs||Game 5 Winner|
|12||4:00PM||Women’s Premier Final||Game 3 Winner||vs||Game 6 Winner|
* Vancouver Thunderbirds women finished third in the Women’s Premier Division standings but are unable to field a competitive squad due to multiple injuries. Third and fourth place spots in the Challenge Cup will be filled by Coquitlam Metro-Ford SC and Kamloops Heat respectively.
2012 – ??? 2011 – Okanagan Challenge 2010 – Vancouver Thunderbirds 2009 – Okanagan Challenge 2008 – Victoria United 2007 – Victoria United 2006 – Victoria United 2005 – New Westminster Khlasa Sporting 2004 – Victoria United 2003 – New Westminster Sporting Khalsa 2002 – New Westminster Sporting Khalsa 2001 – Surrey United 2000 – New Westminster Sporting Khalsa 1999 – Seattle Hibernian and Caledonian 1998 – Victoria United 1997 – Okanagan Challenge 1996 – Victoria United 1995 – Victoria United