The Bellingham United Hammers were visibly frustrated as they exited Civic Field on Sunday, May 31, after their sixth loss of the season.
This time, it was a 3-0 defeat to the undefeated Vancouver Victory.
Bellingham failed to score a goal for their second straight game despite controlling the ball for much of the second half with several on-goal shots.
“We had a lot of opportunities,” head coach Lance Calloway said. “We’ve got to create better luck for ourselves.”
Vancouver’s scoring attack started early with an own-goal that bounced off the United keeper and another defender in the 11th minute.
With five minutes to go in the first half, Vancouver’s Alex Nimo beat several United defenders and a slide-tackle from keeper Avery Miller to tap in a goal that made the score 2-0 heading into halftime.
The second half began wi
th a much more aggressive attack from United led by Nick Cashmere with several scoring opportunities that the Hammers failed to capitalize on.
“Cashmere got a couple sniffs at goal and normally he finishes better than that,” Calloway said.
Tempers flared in the 60th minute when a tackle by United’s Robbie Tice resulted in his second yellow-card and ejection from the game that forced United to play with ten men for the remainder of the match.
After play resumed, Vancouver assistant coach Sunny Dulai walked to the Bellingham bench and said that he thought the call was incorrect.
“It was a soft send off,” Calloway said. “It wasn’t like it was a malicious foul or a hack.”
The final goal of the match came in the 80th minute when the Victory got behind the Hammer’s defense and Timur Zhividze found Bruce Atanasov for a hard shot to the back of the net.
Cashmere, who won the “Hammer of the Match” award issued to a well-performing United player after each game, said that staying focused and continuing to play is difficult while the team is not performing.
“The hardest part about losing six games in a row is coming back with tenacity,” Cashmere said. “You always get frustrated when you’re losing every game.”
Despite the early deficit and failure of United to score goals, fans remained engaged and lively.
Marc Ronney, United’s general manager, said the front office has brought in new players and has been focusing on consistency in the roster that has been difficult to find.
“We’re still missing a couple key players,” Ronney said. “Once we can get the squad together and get a little more secure in the back I think we’ll be fine.”
Next week, the Hammers take on the 3-4 Wenatchee Football Club at 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 7. Their next home game is Friday, June 12, vs. the Puget Sound Gunners.