by David Falk
Bellingham United Football Club is undefeated on the road this season in the Pacific Coast Soccer League, 5-0-1 after six matches played. The club is far and away the top draw in the PCSL, and currently sits in first place in the standings. It’s all good, right? Well, not quite. There is this nagging 2013 trend of dropping points in what should be their “fortress,” Civic Field.
The PCSL regular season title could nearly be clinched if the Hammers had taken care of business at home. Now they are vulnerable to being caught by clubs behind them with matches in hand.
The Hammers are human at home, going 3-3-0 so far. “This is disappointing to say the least,” head coach Lance Calloway tells goalWA.net.
“It has been unfortunate that it seems we have had our worst matches of the year in front of our supporters on our home turf. Last year we were just the opposite and were very dominate at home and our crowd was our advantage, but this year I am truly at a loss as to why we haven’t played our best at home. We have made simple mistakes at home costing us matches, one that particularly comes to mind is the first home league match against Estrella de Chile and our center backs trying an offsides trap in the 88th minute and ending up costing us the match and at least getting a point.”
While the Hammers draw huge crowds by PCSL standards at home (nearing 1,000 per match) and have only 9 points to show for it, they have been great away, where they have amassed 16 points on five wins and a draw.
EARLIER FEATURE: goalWA.net visits Bellingham for 2013 home opener
“I have been a bit surprised by our road record this year,” Calloway says, “going 5-0-1 has been amazing. For us I think a big part for our road success has been our dedicated player pool. Knowing from years back, too often players have not made it a priority to travel to the away matches or don’t arrange their schedule to be available. Our players have been great to be ready to travel and when we do have a couple players who have conflicts arise we have another great option to step in and fill the role seamlessly. The same depth has helped us when we have dealt with injuries that have come along the way.”
Then there is the lack of crowds outside of Bellingham. “Fortunately for us on the road none of the teams we play up in BC have the crowd support we have,” Calloway explains, “so we are not intimidated as some squads may feel at Civic Field. Some of the squads we play away have stronger squads at times for the same reasons I mentioned so anytime you can secure points on the road in this league its always a bonus!”
BUFC can take solace in their away record, but nothing can replace rewarding your supporters at home. The Hammers have two more matches at Civic this season to leave a better impression.
“Our home form has not been great for our home fans and this is certainly not what we want to give them,” Calloway admits. “As a coach I expect us to play at a high level and secure the points and a win each time we take the pitch. I find it hard to find a “silver lining” about not being more successful at home but it makes it a little easier to swallow with our success away from home. As I have stated to a few others this season, it doesn’t matter anyway unless we take care of our business to put us into a situation to win the Challenge Cup and bring that home to Bellingham!”
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