With a win in Olympia and a Capital FC draw in Eugene on Thursday night, Ballard FC is top of the division standings once more.
After suffering their first defeat of the season last Friday, Ballard FC bounced back with a big three points. Head coach Jason Farrell was very proud of the players’ response.
Farrell said “There was nothing that we had to do to make sure they were fired up for tonight’s game.”
And it was very clear that both teams were fired up for Thursday’s match. The last meeting between these two teams was an evenly contested 1-1 draw, and Thursday’s match felt very similar.
The match started tightly with not many chances for either side in the first 15 minutes.
In the 19th minute, a long ball over the top forced Oly Town goalkeeper Sawyer Price to come out. His clearance fell to Nik Reierson, and Reierson’s shot was cleared off the line by the head of an Oly Town defender. Eventually, the ball found the hands of Sawyer Price and the chance was gone.
The remainder of the half was very even as both defenses were stout. It looked as if we’d go into the break with no score, but Alex Mejia changed that.
In the 45th minute, Mejia latched onto a rebound after a shot was deflected and hit a one-time volley into the top left corner.
Mejia’s opener is his sixth goal of the season, making him the top scorer in the USL2 Northwest Division.
Mejia’s goal meant Ballard FC went into halftime with a 1-0 advantage.
The second half was much like the first and was very even, but with both teams creating a few more opportunities.
In the 59th minute, goalkeeper Lars Helleren made his biggest save of the night with a stop from close range to keep Ballard in front.
In the 61st minute Ballard FC made a triple substitution that included Charlie Gaffney entering the match. Having just recovered from injury, Thursday night was Gaffney’s first appearance since the last match against Oly Town on June 12th.
Ballard FC’s defense held strong for the remainder of the match as Ballard FC finished the evening as 1-0 winners and at the top of the table.
Ballard FC plays again this Sunday in Salem against Capital FC in a match that will likely decide the division title. With Capital FC’s draw to Lane United, Ballard have a 2 point advantage and could win the division with 3 points on Sunday. You can watch the match live at Reuben’s Brews or stream it on Eleven Sports.
Ballard FC returns to Interbay Stadium on Friday July 15th for a friendly against Snohomish County FC, purchase your tickets today!
Photos courtesy of Marissa Lordahl