GAME OF THE WEEK: GORDLEY BRACE LIFTS OSA FC TO 2-1 WIN OVER KITSAP SC
OSA FC (1-1-1) visited Kitsap Soccer Club (1-0-1) in Bremerton, WA on Saturday night in NPSL action, after a two week break following their U.S. Open Cup second round loss to Reno 1868. Goalkeeper Paul-Andre Guerin made his first start for Kitsap after arriving for summer break from his freshman season at Cal State Fullerton. Born in France, Guerin made two starts for Gazelec Ajaccio in the French Ligue 1 before attending Fullerton. Starting OSA defender Sean Russell makes a return to Kitsap, whom he played for previously. It was a hard-fought match for 90 minutes, but OSA FC earned the three points as they snatched a 2-1 win courtesy of a brace by Eli Gordley.
The opening minutes of the match were pretty even as both teams tried to get acclimated to the rhythm of the game, but Kitsap held most of the initial chances, including an early corner kick that came to nothing. The home side continued to push early, which paid off in the 8th minute when Sean Bowman notched the game’s first goal for Kitsap, thanks to an excellent ball by midfielder Ryan Hill. This was the first goal that Kitsap has scored in the first half of a match so far this season.
OSA tried to get back into it quickly, earning a corner kick just after the goal, but they were unable to do anything with the set piece. In the 16th minute, they nearly had a golden opportunity on goal when Kitsap goalkeeper Guerin came flying out of the box and misjudged his tackle, but OSA forward Eli Gordley’s shot was blocked by defender Joe Harris and eventually cleared. But his team came right back with another near-chance when Mori Tsuchiya’s long shot bounces off the crossbar; a few inches down and that would have been a brilliant goal for OSA.
Despite the early dominance by Kitsap, OSA continued to press for a goal after conceding. Forward Eli Gordley had a solid shot on goal around the 25th minute, but it was easily saved by Guerin. Fewer opportunities in the final 15 minutes of the half made both teams a bit more inclined to fouling out of frustration, and the first yellow card of the game went to Kitsap defender Joe Harris in the 36th minute after a dangerous aerial challenge.
The half closed out with a very close chance for Kitsap after some excellent work on the wing by Ryan Hill, but the eventual shot from Chuy Martinez was dragged wide of the left post. No more goals for either team in the first half, keeping it at 1-0 to the home side after the first 45.
Neither team chose to send out some substitutes for the second half, as the teams reconvened on the pitch with the sun setting over the evergreen trees that surround Gordon Field. OSA came out swinging in the first few minutes and Brandon Gonzalez nearly snatched one for his team, but his goal-bound shot was cleared off the line by Kitsap defender Jack Philp. The attacking went straight to the other end immediately afterwards, but OSA goalkeeper Josh Adachi was all over the shot.
Another goal was finally notched in the 58th minute, this time for OSA FC after forward Eli Gordley headed in Gonzalez’s corner kick to make it 1-1.
Kitsap received another yellow card, this time to forward Sean Bowman in the 64th. Minutes later, OSA forward Tsuchiya also received a yellow card for a foul on Kitsap goalkeeper Guerin. A quick succession of chances for both teams afterwards, the best of which was a header by OSA’s Gonzalez that was quickly gathered by Guerin. OSA’s Gordley looked to be through on goal in the 75th minute, but Guerin’s diving save pushed his shot wide.
Both teams made a number of substitutions in the last 15 minutes in an effort to get a go-ahed goal, with Kitsap bringing on Nico D’Amato and Javo Reyes and OSA introducing Chaz Jenkins.
The introduction paid off for OSA as they scored the go-ahead goal with less than 10 minutes left in the match. Eli Gordley latched onto a great pass to score his second of the match and put his side up 2-1. Both teams made even more substitutions after the goal as the home side tried to equalize and OSA hoping to preserve their lead. Around the 86th minute, Kitsap replaced Bowman with Nana Boakye; OSA brought on Roko Bedalov for goalscorer Eli Gordley and Jacob Bohl replaced Yonatan Tsefasilase.
Kitsap pushed and pushed in the dying minutes of the match in an effort to square up the game, but they lacked the final ball necessary to break through. Goalkeeper Guerin was even pushing way off his line in an effort to keep possession for his side as high up the pitch as possible. They even earned a corner just before the final whistle, and Guerin sprinted up the pitch to try to get a header on the set piece—which he did, but it flew wide of the OSA goal. OSA preserved their 2-1 lead to go 2-1-1 in NPSL for the season.