Sounders U23 team hands United a loss


BELLINGHAM - You never know who's going to score for the Bellingham United Hammers.

Tommy Deitrich wasn't on the roster given to the fans, but the quick reserve made quite an impression nonetheless in the Hammers' 3-2 loss to the Sounders U23 squad in a friendly before a large, loud crowd Friday, May 9, at Civic Stadium.

Dietrich, who wore No. 5 instead of another player listed on the roster, curled home a short, left-footed shot from the right side in the 74th minute to tie the match 2-2, becoming the ninth different player to score among the Hammers' 11 goals in their first four matches.

Unfortunately for the Hammers, however, the Sounders also came through with unexpected offensive heroics.

Only seconds after checking into the game for the first time, Sounders reserve Derek Johnson scored on a power shot in the 72nd minute, then scored the game-winner 14 minutes later on another solid shot, a few minutes after 10 p.m. in the late game.

The friendly loss, however, took nothing away from the Hammers, who are off to a 3-0 start in the new Evergreen Premier League and will face West Sound on Sunday, May 11, with mothers admitted free to Civic Stadium for Mother's Day.

"It's been a pleasant surprise," Hammers head coach Lance Calloway said before the game, talking about his team's production and work rate.

"That win we had last weekend over the Spokane Shadow (2-1) was impressive, since Spokane has numerous Division I college players," said Calloway.

The Hammers did pay a significant price for their friendly competition with the Sounders U23 -- stellar defender Kenny Parker was helped off with a leg injury in the 61st minute.

"Kenny has been a very pleasant surprise," said Calloway, whose back line featuring Parker, Keith Ferris, Uche Ugwoaba an Kurtis Pederson held the Sounders to only three shots in the first half.

Hammers starting goalkeeper Leo Cohen was called on to make only one save in the first half. Brian Swanson took over in the second half and made a couple of fine saves until falling victim to Johnson's pair of goals.

The Sounders took a 1-0 lead in the 37th minute on a 10-yard hustle goal by Jamael Cox off a turnover, but the Hammers equalized as Tyler Bjork scored on a thrilling header off a corner kick by Sean Connor in the 57th minute.

The crowd erupted with deafening cheers for the dynamic play.

It was the third goal of the season for Bjork, whose is the only Hammer man with multiple goals.

"We have a good number of players capable of scoring," said Calloway, who said he is thrilled that his deep roster - he has complete first and second teams - means that everyone has to keep his work rate up in order to stay in the lineup.

The announced crowd count of 1,209 was given as a total for both games. In the preceding contest, the Western Washington University women claimed a 1-0 exhibition victory over the Sounders women. Catherine Miles scored in the 10 th minute and goalkeeper Ashley Haden preserved the win with 13 saves, including one in the final minute.

The Sounders had a couple of other surprises for the Hammers. Kellan Brown, last year's league scoring champ for the Hammers, entered for the Sounders in the second half. Oscar Jimenez, who scored one of the Sounders' goals in a 2-0 win over the Vancouver Victory on April 27, played the first half for the Sounders.

The Hammers also displayed a potent offense with a 5-2 win over Wenatchee United on May 4.

The Hammers showed defensive potential by holding the Sounders without a legitimate shot attempt until Cox's goal in the 37th minute. Likewise, Sounders goalkeeper Jordan Jennings was called on to make only two saves in the first half.

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