TUKWILA, WA – One week after taking home the championship trophy in Hermiston, Tri-Cities Alliance FC made the journey out to Tukwila to compete in the Copa Washington tournament, sponsored by Starfire Sports. This time around, TCAFC tasted defeat for the first time – and it game in the championship game.
Arriving in Tukwila on Friday evening with spirits high, TCAFC kicked off against a tough local team, the Toreros. Miguel “Speedy” Acevedo opened the scoring in the 11th minute, giving TCAFC a 1-0 lead. However, Toreros answered right back, equalizing in the 12th minute. The teams headed into halftime tied 1-1. The second half started off with incredible energy from both teams. Several scoring chances from both sides were saved or just missed the net. Eventually, TCAFC’s Ezequiel “Zeke” Angeles drew a foul in the penalty area and the team’s General Manager and player, Ramiro De La Mora slotted home the penalty kick. TCAFC held on for the 2-1 win.
After a restful night, TCAFC got back to work on Saturday with a double header. First up was Harbor SC, a renowned club based in Gig Harbor. The two teams battled hard and the first half ended with a score of 0-0. Though both teams had chances, neither could capitalize. However, shortly after halftime, Ramiro De La Mora proved his veteran savvy by slotting home his second penalty kick of the tournament for a 1-0 TCAFC lead. An unfazed Harbor FC equalized with their own penalty kick less than 5 minutes later. In the 58th minute and tied at 1-1, TCAFC’s most dangerous striker – Miguel “Speedy” Acevedo – breaks free and slots home to give TCAFC the 2-1 win.
Kicking off the second game of the double header, TCAFC jumped out to an early lead. Luis Solano scored with a header from a Jose Zavala corner kick in the 17th minute. TCAFC went into half-time with a 1-0 lead. Shortly after halftime, Mexico FC managed to equalize with a quick counter-attack, slotting home a 2-on-1 run to tie the match up at 1-1. However, as TCAFC has shown in the past, their swagger is never dampened. In the 55th minute, Jose Zavala sets up Mike Chavez for the one-timer past the Mexico FC keeper. Zavala records his second assist of the match and TCAFC takes home the 2-1 victory to set up their spot in the championship match on Sunday.
It wasn’t all work and no fun for TCAFC, however. The team’s keeper, Israel Garcia, celebrated his birthday on Saturday. The players and coaches celebrated Garcia’s birthday and their 3 wins with a team dinner at a local hibachi restaurant.
The championship game kicked off at 1pm on Sunday against Seattle Umoja FC. It was obvious from the opening kickoff that Umoja FC was the fastest team TCAFC had ever faced and they exploited that speed early. An early defensive error by TCAFC resulted in an own goal and 0-1 deficit – the first time TCAFC had trailed in match since May 20th at Bellingham. In the 39th minute, TCAFC had a chance to equalize with a penalty kick, but the shot sailed high and wide. Capitalizing on that mistake, Seattle Umoja FC scored in the 44th minute. TCAFC went into halftime down 0-2. Despite the hole TCAFC had dug for themselves, the team came out with a renewed energy in the second half. Ramiro De La Mora cut the deficit to 1-2 with a beautiful long ball goal in the 73rd minute. TCAFC continued to fight and controlled the rest of the game – but they couldn’t quite break through the Umoja FC defense and equalize. TCAFC lost in the championship 1-2, finishing runner-up to a fast and talented Seattle Umoja FC team.
TCAFC’s General manager – and leading goal scorer for the tournament – reflected on the teams performance in the Copa Washington.
“We played well up until the final match,” he said. “We had a couple mental mistakes – a missed PK and an own goal – that cost us that match. But the team never quit. The fought until the end and that’s what we have to do as a team.”
“There are ups and downs on every adventure,” Zachary Sansom, team Operations Manager explained. “We have the talent to win every match, but that’s just not the reality of soccer. We have a tournament in Yakima in August and we’ll see how this team bounces back. Adversity builds character. You can tell they hated to lose that trophy. Let’s see how they grow from that.”