Grays Harbor’s fate is now out of its hands after suffering a 4-1 loss to Snohomish on Saturday.
Needing a victory to secure a spot in the Division One of the Western Washington Premier League, the Gulls will now need to hope Federal Way loses to Nido Aguila on Saturday in order to avoid relegation.
The match looked to be a low-scoring affair as the Gulls and Snohomish stayed locked in a scoreless tie until stoppage time in the first half.
“There was nothing built by them, just long balls they would run on to. The defense did a good job keeping its shape and forcing them outside,” Grays Harbor coach Drew Grannemann said. “(Gulls keeper Alexis Garcia) made two or three big saves from crosses and forced them outside and made saves from a couple of set pieces.”
Snohomish tallied its first goal of the day after Garcia made a diving save but didn’t get enough of it to knock it away from danger, allowing Carlos Rodriguez to score on the rebound.
Snohomish, which had entered the match having only given up five goals on the season, surrendered its sixth when Connor Darras tied the game in the 63rd minute. The Gulls worked the ball up field through a combination of short passes until Jordan Hamblen played the ball square to Darras who was about 25 yards out. Darras’ long-range shot curved into the top left corner to tie the game.
On a day when the Gulls only had one sub available and were playing in warmer-than-usual conditions, Darras said the goal provided some instant energy.
“It got the team going and made everyone feel good,” he said.
The good feelings didn’t last for too long, however, as Snohomish was rewarded a penalty kick in the 77th minute.
Grannemann was frustrated to have another game decided by a penalty kick and said the play looked clean from his vantage point on the sidelines.
“From our point of view, it looked like the player was already losing his footing and going down while a defender was behind him,” he said. “He went down inside the box while our defender came to put pressure on him.”
Rio Alcorta beat Garcia on the PK to put Snohomish back in front 2-1.
In search of another game-tying-goal, Grays Harbor switched to 3-4-3 formation in an attempt to get as many players forward as possible.
Grays Harbor’s aggressive strategy in the last 15 minutes of the match backfired as Snohomish added two more goals to its lead.
If Federal Way wins on Saturday and sends the Gulls to Division Two, it is unclear what the Gulls will have to do get back into Division One.