By Quint Turner
The newly moved North Sound SeaWolves played their home opener against the Washington Crossfire in the second of a home and home series, dropping the match 2-1 at Edmonds Stadium. Daniel Gray and Kellen Wantulok scored for the Crossfire, while Abdulwali Aman had the lone goal for the Seawolves.
Aman got into two shouting matches with the Crossfire defense that almost led to fights, receiving two yellows for those, and was ejected in the 80th minute. There were two other yellow cards in the game, one for the Crossfire and the other for the SeaWolves, and a combined total of 27 fouls (13 for SeaWolves, 14 for Crossfire) in a chippy game.
The SeaWolves applied great early pressure. Aman had an early cross that had to be snagged out of the air by goalie Jacob Feener in the first minute. In the 7t minute, Quinton Beasley hit a corner kick that swung into the box but was knocked away by the defense.
Then the Crossfire started to push back. Brayton Knapp hit a low cross that was deflected near the top of the box by Adam Bonifacio on net that had to be saved by Claudio Lazar. In the 13th minute, Beasley was taking the ball up the side when he was slide tackled hard by Benjamin Fisk and Fisk got a yellow for the dangerous challenge. The Crossfire broke the stalemate when Gray got a cross headed down by Nathan Sackeyfio to his capable feet, and he hit a low curving shot from the top of the box past the diving Lazar to make it 1-0.
In the 23rd minute, a second yellow card was given. This time, Marshall Kosaka dangerously tackled an advancing Crossfire player. With the free kick after, the ball was crossed into the box and Lazar went up with a Crossfire player and a SeaWolf, and all of them knocked heads. Lazar stayed down after the collision for a good 10 minutes and had to be patched up by team doctors before he was allowed to stay in the game. He passed a baseline concussion test and is likely to be looked at again before the next game Sunday.
In the 13-minute stoppage time, the SeaWolves tied up the game when Aman got a through ball in the box and smashed a shot past goalkeeper Feener. He had another great chance in the stoppage time where he hit a shot from the top of the box to the top corner of the net that was deflected out by Feener. Neither team had another scoring chance in the 10 remaining minutes in the stoppage time, and the teams went into their locker rooms at halftime 1-1.
Sackeyfio started the second half with a bang. He got an early through ball from his back line and hit a shot from the top of the box that had to be stopped by Lazar. In the 54t minute, Beasley knocked in a corner kick that was headed just over the net by Benjamin Elliot on a great chance. Seven minutes later, a free kick from 28 yards out by Brady Ballew went into a crowd and Feener snatched the ball out of the air to prevent any chances.
The 70th minute had the first altercation between Aman and the defense. It started when Aman got fed up with how physical the defense was playing him and he had to be held to keep from retaliating with anything more than words. The Crossfire backed up their own words when Bonifacio headed in a corner kick sent in by Kellen Wantulok to put the Crossfire back up a goal in the 72nd minute.
Another scuffle broke out in the 80th minute when Nick James went into Kosaka with a hard slide tackle as Kosaka was trying to dribble up the side. After James was given a yellow, Aman got into more trouble with the defense as they screamed at each other again. Lazar came out from his goal box to restrain Aman, but it would not be enough to get him from being ejected. The SeaWolves were not able to generate any more scoring opportunities in the final 20 minutes (including stoppage), and lost 2-1.
The next game for the SeaWolves (1-2) is Sunday at home in Edmonds vs. the Kitsap Pumas, at 3 p.m. The Crossfire improve to 3-1-1, and their next game is Wednesday versus Portland Timbers at 7 p.m., at home.
My Edmonds News sports correspondent Quint Turner is a sophomore at Meadowdale High School.