PORT ANGELES — Don’t tell these kids it was just a “friendly.”
Port Angeles and Sequim, two of the better teams in the Olympic League 2A Division, played a spirited nonleague friendly in the pouring rain at Peninsula College’s Sigmar Field on Saturday, not wanting to show each other too many of their strategic secrets, but going all out to try and win nonetheless.
The game ended up 4-4. Because it was officially a nonleague game, there was no shootout.
Both teams overcame two-goal deficits. It was a wide-open offensive first half with Port Angeles taking a 4-3 lead into the break. The game settled down into a defensive second-half with Sequim scoring the equalizer with less than 10 minutes left in the match.
Sequim’s Liam Harris and Port Angeles’ Ben Schneider, two of the top players in the Olympic League 2A Division, each had a pair of goals.
Sequim coach Dave Brasher said it was a good effort by the Wolves, especially considering the Roughriders beat Sequim 4-0 earlier this season in a league match.
“It was fun. We played better than the first game [a 4-0 loss] against them,” Brasher said.
Brasher thought the Wolves came out strong, but that their defense collapsed during the latter part of the first half. He was pleased with how the team fought back to force the draw.
“They never gave up,” he said.
Port Angeles coach Chris Saari was also pleased with how the Riders fought back from an early 2-0 deficit.
“We wanted to give some other players a chance [early],” he said, “[Sequim] capitalized on a couple of mistakes.
We did well to fight back.
“We tried a couple different formations and putting people in different places.
“It was a nice friendly. I’m more concerned with the injuries that are starting to pile up,” Saari said.
In particular, Schneider had to come out of the game after pulling up hurt limping off.
It’s a hip injury that’s been lingering, but Schneider said he will be back.
Saari gave his defensive game balls to Gabe Long and Andrew Borde while Schneider was his offensive player of the game with his two goals.
Sequim dominated early, putting the Riders completely back on their heels for the opening 20 minutes. The Wolves got up 2-0, with Harris scoring both goals on assists from Mike McAleer and Evan James. Harris’ second goal came on a long pass from the backfield by James. He split a pair of Rider defenders then beat DeLaTorre to give the Wolves their second goal.
Harris nearly had a couple of other goals early on a point-blank free kick and another point-blank shot that Roughriders’ keeper Lorenzo DeLaTorre was able to stop. DeLaTorre made another nice diving save on a close shot by McAleer as the Riders weathered the early storm to keep the match close.
After all that opening pressure by Sequim, the Riders finally started forcing the issue. Sequim had some bad breaks with a couple of seeing-eye rebounds and an own goal that helped the Riders build up a 4-2 lead.
The Riders’ first goal came on an own goal by Sequim. Then Ben Schneider drew a penalty in the penalty area. His initial penalty kick was blocked by Sequim goalkeeper Liam Stevenson on a great play by Stevenson, but he wasn’t able to control the rebound. Schneider got the rebound and booted it in to tie the game 2-2.
Scheidner scored his second goal of the match minutes later, knocking in a score on a free kick from Long.
Another bad bounce came back to haunt Sequim. Andrew Methner drilled a nice header on a Schneider corner kick that was blocked by Stevenson, but then Methner got the rebound and booted it in to make it 4-2.
“[Stevenson] played well, he was just a little unlucky with the rebounds,” Brasher said.
Right before the break, Mathew Craig kicked in a goal for Sequim to end the scoring in the wild first half.
The game settled down in the second half. Harris narrowly missed out on a hat trick when a high shot nearly beat DeLaTorre, but the Riders’ keeper was able to barely get a finger on the ball to knock it just wide of the left post. Harris had another golden chance when his header went just over the crossbar.
The Wolves’ Ryan Tolberd, who made dangerous runs all match, scored the equalizer with an assist from Harris in the 70th minute to end the scoring.
Sequim’s Nick Janikic played the second half in goal for the Wolves while Port Angeles gave Michael Scott a shot at goalkeeper at the end of the game.
Port Angeles (4-2, 6-2-1, 13 points in league) next plays back at their normal home, Civic Field, at 5 p.m. Tuesday against Coupeville. Sequim (4-2, 5-2-2, 12 points in league) next plays at home at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday against Olympic.