TRI-CITIES, WA – On a cold and rainy Sunday afternoon, Tri-Cities Alliance FC clashed with Kirkland FC in a preseason friendly at Columbia Basin College. The match served as a debut for the squad from Kirkland, who took the pitch for the first time as a team. Ultimately, it was a debut to remember as the Goats tamed the Lions, 3-1.

Tonio Gonzalez skies for a first half save during a match against Kirkland FC.

Similar to their last game, TCAFC started out fast and aggressive, but met with multiple offside calls. The rain didn’t help matters any as it slowed the ball and had players slipping and sliding all over the field.

A turnover by TCAFC in their own half led to a 1-0 lead for the visitors. John Sunday slotted home past the TCAFC keeper in the 27th minute. Ten minutes later, Sunday struck again. A beautiful strike into the top corner saw the Goats go up 2-0 with eight minutes left in the half.

Unfortunately for TCAFC, the damage wasn’t done there. Just four minutes later, Noah Prophet capitalized on another TCAFC turnover. Kirkland FC took a 3-0 lead into the halftime break.

“That was an ugly half,” Zachary Sansom, the team’s Operations Manager, commented from the sideline. “The rain is obviously a factor, but not an excuse. We had some really careless turnovers in our own half. Kirkland is too good of a squad to have those errors and they made us pay for it.”

After some halftime coaching by AB Moreno (the team’s head coach) and Kikito Moreno (the team’s assistant coach), the teams took the pitch for the second half.

Head coach AB Moreno gives instructions to Lenin Jared Guzman on the sideline.

TCAFC, as they usually do, proved to be a much stronger team in the second half. The second half of the match was controlled by TCAFC with the game play mostly taking place in the Kirkland half, keeping them on their heels.

In the 80th minute, TCAFC finally found the goal they were searching for. Zeke Angeles put one in the back of the net and the team seemed to become even more rejuvenated in the rain.

Unfortunately, despite out-shooting Kirkland FC 12-2 in the second half, there were no more goals to be had for Tri-Cities Alliance FC. The match ended with the visiting Kirkland FC taking home a 3-1 victory.

“It was awesome to be able to come out and play a friendly against Tri-Cities Alliance,” the Kirkland FC team spokesman said after the match. “We have a lot of respect for Tri-Cities and are very impressed by their organization as a whole. We wish them the best of luck this season!”

Diego Guiza set to launch the ball downfield in second half action against Kirkland FC.

The team’s Business Manager, Jared Loveless addressed the current, less-than-favorable preseason outcomes.

“It’s not about the score right now,” Jared explains. “The goal of the preseason is to put players in scenarios and see what happens. We’re running with different player mixes and alignments that we want to test out. In the preseason, it’s about seeing what you have from your players and it’s less about the score.”

Coach AB Moreno agrees. “We made a few mistakes out there but I saw a lot of positives with the team, especially in that second half. We have a lot to learn but enough to build off of.”

Tri-Cities Alliance FC will take the pitch again this Friday (April 20th) against the defending Evergreen Premier League of Washington champion, Seattle Stars FC, in opening group match for the Evergreen Cup tournament hosted at Starfire Sports. Other match-ups for the tournament include Microsoft FC and a match-up against another EPLWA team in the Oly Town Artesians FC squad on Saturday. The championship game will be played Sunday at 1pm.

All photos are courtesy of Florentino Gutierrez. Check out more amazing photos from Saturdays match by clicking here!