The Grays Harbor Gulls Football Club began their inaugural season with a preseason friendly loss to visiting Snohomish County FC Steelheads, 2-1, on Sunday.
For the first 35 minutes of the match, the teams had few offensive chances and multiple hard slide tackles, leading to a physical contest played mostly in the midfield. Gulls goalkeeper Alexis Garcia had two great saves to keep the Steelheads scoreless.
In the 39th minute of the match, Grays Harbor’s Juanito Lopez hit a hard, low shot from just outside the 18-yard box. The ball ricocheted off the post toward the Gulls’ Samuel Ruiz, who tucked the ball into an open net for the club’s first ever goal.
“The goal was half mine and half Juan’s. I just followed the shot and was at the right place at the right time,” Ruiz said. “It was also a proud moment to score for the team and the fans that came out to support us.”
Just two minutes later however, a Snohomish player beat a defender and crossed the ball to an attacker who hit a shot that beat Garcia to the low, near post. The match headed into the halftime break tied at one.
The second half saw a change in tactics by both teams, with Snohomish trying to pull Grays Harobr defenders out of position, and the Gulls taking to the air with balls into the box.
In the 55th minute, Snohomish took the lead on a ball played through the Gulls defense, with a Steelhead applying the finish past an on-rushing Tahj Malone in goal.
With time winding down, the Gulls pressed forward, looking for the equalizer. A Lopez header off an Alex Pugadelarosa corner kick was on target but saved by the Steelhead’s goalkeeper. Two final crosses into the box were met by Snohomish defenders, who had dropped into a defensive shell.
Gulls coach Drew Grannemann liked the work of center defender Alan Carloza, and brothers Cesar and Victor Corona. Aaron Arias also provided high-quality play from the left wing.
The Gulls are back in action at a jamboree in Bremerton on Saturday, Aug. 21 against Olympic Force, Harbor Force, Snohomish and Bellingham United. The first home league match is at 5 p.m. on May 12th versus Lacey FC.