SMOKEY POINT, WA—The Snohomish County FC Steelheads have climbed back into second place in the Western Washington Premier League First Division table after a hard-fought 1-0 win over Gig Harbor side Harbor Force on Sunday June 20 at Dick Cardinal Stadium.
A noisy, supportive crowd backed the Fish as they tried to solve the Harbor defense in the first half. Chances were few and the match was 0-0 at the break. There were defensive moments for both sides but the goalkeepers were not pressed into making saves.
MATCH GALLERY: See all the photos on our official Facebook page
Jacen Stein changed the direction of the match early in the second half. Andrew Escalante lofted a flick onto Stein and over two Harbor defenders in the 50th minute. Randy Galvan of the Fish was also running in tandem on the break. The ball came free to Jacen and he cleverly poked home a right-footed shot to give SnoCo FC a 1-0 lead.
It might have been 2-0 for the Fish in the 63rd minute but Blake Camilleri’s header on a nifty close-range cross from Randy Galvan was ruled offside.
Harbor pressed the play in the final 15 minutes. The Steelheads absorbed the attack but were slowly losing control of the pace and possession. The spell of Harbor play finally resulted in a penalty kick call in the 88th minute when the referee ruled a shot blasted into the box hit a Steelhead defender’s hand.
Jaisen Zurfluh (2020 PLU Grad) stepped up to the penalty spot for Harbor. Dorian Lair stood in goal for Snohomish County. The result of the play that followed would impact the match and the season for both teams. It would also send one of them to the hospital.
Jaisen shot his penalty take sharply to Dorian’s left side. Lair pounced and stopped the ball. The rebound went airborne along the goal line. Zurfluh followed his take with a rush into the goal that ended up in a collision with Lair. Both players went down and the referee stepped in as the ball failed to cross the line. Snohomish had kept their 1-0 advantage. Now the focus was on the conditions of Jaisen and Dorian.
After a few moments Jaisen was helped to the sideline and Dorian was subbed out for Luke Brezak. Luke finished the match with a few touches and the Fish held for a big 1-0 win. SnoCo FC bumped up to 17 points (5-2-1, second place) and Harbor remained at 12 (4-0-4, fourth place.)
Medics were called to the pitch and they tended to Zurfluh after the match. He was in a large amount of pain. Eventually he was taken to a local hospital to spend the night, diagnosed with a broken knee. Lair was driven home by a friend and is on concussion watch for the next few days.
Directly after the match Steelheads Head Coach Dagi Kesim left to attend his son Kaya’s high school graduation ceremony.