The Grays Harbor Gulls rallied with two goals late in the game to beat Steele United 4-3 on Sunday in Tacoma.
The Gulls (2-0 overall) took the early lead when Jonathan Molina flicked a header to Irvin Vicente, who sent a well-placed shot to the far post for the game’s first goal in the sixth minute.
Steele United (0-2) responded with a breakaway goal in the 25th minute to tie the game.
In the second half, Molina was taken down inside the penalty box with Aaron Arias blistering the back of the net on the subsequent penalty shot in the 50th minute.
Steele United was awarded and converted two penalty kicks in the 53rd and 65th minutes to take a 3-2 lead.
But the Gulls responded over the final 20 minutes of the match, tying the game when a free kick just outside the 18-yard box was deflected off the Steele United wall and landed near Grays Harbor’s Connor Darras, who slotted a shot into the net to make it a 3-3 match.
Grays Harbor’s pressure created confusion in the Steele United defense, allowing Arias to penetrate the back line before sending a cutback pass to Luis Soto, who ripped a shot into the net for a 4-3 lead in the 86th minute.
Gulls goal keeper Alexis Garcia was named Man of the Match after making several clutch saves over the final 20 minutes of play, including stopping two 1-on-1 Steele United chances.
“A roller coaster of emotions during this match. We are still early in the season and figuring out some kinks,” Gulls head coach Drew Grannemann said. “The biggest takeaway from this match was our ability to keep a short memory, being on the road and giving up two penalties can wreak havoc and a player’s mental state, but we were able to keep our attention focused on playing our style of soccer and came away with three points on the road.”
With the win, the Gulls are tied with Port Orchard FC atop the Cascadia Premiere 2 League’s Pacific Division.
Grays Harbor hosts Port Orchard FC in the Gulls’ home opener at 2 p.m. on June 4 at Stewart Field in Aberdeen.
Grays Harbor 1 3 – 4
Steele United 1 2 – 3
First half – 1, Grays Harbor, Vicente (Molina), 6th minute. 2, Steele United, 25th minute.
Second half – 3, Grays Harbor, Arias, 50th minute. 4, Steele United, 53rd minute. 5, Steele United, 65th minute. 6, Grays Harbor, Darras, 70th minute. 7, Grays Harbor, Soto (Arias), 86th minute.