Photo taken by Braulio Herrera, used with permission of Braulio’s Photography
Yakima, WA – For the second time this season, Yakima United FC defeated Bellingham with a score line of 4-0. This time the Hoppers scored the victory at home on a sun drenched Sunday afternoon at Marquette Stadium thanks to a Hector Valdovinos winner and a Jesse Esquivel hat trick.
After three days of storms and an incredible amount of rain, the pitch at Marquette Stadium, which has been going through a state of recuperation, was extra-long. While the slow playing surface stifled both teams, it specifically hampered The Hoppers quick pass and move playing style. Even then, Yakima looked to be in control of the game creating several near chances in the opening stages. Their efforts paid off when Jesse Esquivel found Hector Valdovinos on a ball played in behind the Hammer defense. Valdovinos rounded Bellingham goalie Riley Liddle and slotted home in the 33rd minute to put his team up 1-0 before the break with what would end up being the decisive goal.
The second half saw a few chances at both ends with Bellingham fighting to regain a spot in the contest. Yakima continued to attack and Esquivel would score the first of his trio of goals in the 68th minute. Half-time substitute, Rafael Valle, put Esquivel in with a lofted through pass. Like Valdovinos, Esquivel went around Liddell and finished into an empty net. The Hoppers number 19 would get his second ten minutes later as he converted a spot kick after the referee judged a Bellingham defender for handling the ball inside the penalty area.
Yakima United’s lethal strike force connected again in the dying stages of the game when Valdovinos ran past several Bellingham defenders and set up an unmarked Esquivel who calmly passed the ball into the net and completed the hat-trick in the 86th minute.
Yakima’s youngest player ,William Pineda, was voted by fans as the man of the match for his sublime work rate, and celebrated his 20th birthday in style receiving the award.
The Hoppers jumped into third place and recorded their first home win of the season while United goalie, Jacob Rhoads, recorded the club’s league leading second clean sheet.
Yakima United now face a tough double header in the coming weekend as they continue their home stand to Bremerton’s visiting Olympic Force Friday night at 7pm at Marquette Stadium, before a trip to Eastern Washington rivals, Spokane Shadow , Saturday evening.