LACEY, WA—(submission to goalWA.net) September 12th marked the beginning of the league season with all points now counting toward playoff positioning. The Thunderbirds were able to come away with a convincing 7-0 victory against the Clippers of South Puget Sound at the Regional Athletic Complex (RAC). Spreading the goals around like Drew Brees does with his receiving core, Highline registered seven different goal scorers on the day. The T-Bird defense and goalkeeper Grayson Raffensperger were able to secure their third shutout of the year, having only allowed two goals in four games.
The early part of the game was relatively open with both teams having chances to break the deadlock. However, fans would have to wait until the 30th minute to see the first goal of the match and what a goal it would turn out to be. Sophomore Alvaro Osornio, making his first appearance for the Thunderbirds this season, stood over a slightly off center free kick 25 yards away from the Clipper goal. Osornio stepped up and fired an absolute rapier into the upper left corner of the goal that left Puget Sound goalkeeper Brice Civiletti helpless to save. It was a spectacular strike and gave Highline the 1-0 advantage.
With every passing minute after the goal the Thunderbirds continued to grow in dominance and look dangerous at every opportunity. Freshman Adama Kante should great skill to beat his defender in the penalty area before being maliciously chopped down and the ref pointed to the spot. Christian Soto-‐Gonzalez stepped forward to take the resulting penalty and made no mistake burying he chance to give Highline a 2-0 advantage in the 43rd minute. Right before halftime Sophomore Jacob Jones would make a beautiful slaloming run down the left flank, beating four defenders, before cooling sliding the ball into the far corner with a vey Henry-‐esque finish to give the T Birds a 3-0 lead going into halftime.
The second half began in much the same way as the first ended, with Sophomore Tyler John scoring off a Thunderbird corner in the 49th minute. Kante would then go on to finish off some beautiful interchange play by tucking in a very neat finish past the onrushing Civiletti in the 57th minute, making it 5-0 to the ‘Birds. Freshman Jaddir Gonzalez-‐Medina then jinxed his way around on the top of the Clipper box, faking left and cutting back to his right foot and unleashed a venomous curling effort that careened into the far post side netting to give Highline the 6-‐0 lead. Freshman Tino Lopez-‐Slish would cap off the scoring in the 84th minute, latching on to a beautiful through ball by Hossein Ellahi, before sliding it past the keeper to make it 7-0.
The Highline defense stood firm throughout the match, limiting Clipper chances, especially as the match progressed. Grayson was sharp in the match when he needed to be and finished the match with a couple of saves. It must be said that when the T Bird stifle opponents in the manner they have the past couple matches, they will be very difficult to beat.
Highline will have a quick turnaround as they look forward to a rivalry match with Bellevue on Wednesday September 16th. The match will take place on Starfire field #1 at 3 pm.