The Tacoma Tide season ended with undoubted frustration Friday night in Fresno, California. The players each played their hearts out and in the end things were taken a little bit out of their hands. The final score was 4 to 1 in favor of the host team, the Fresno Fuego. The Fuego played an excellent game. A combination of skill, speed, and organization, the Fuego proved to be a team to reckon with through out these PDL playoffs. In the 23rd minute, the fast paced open to the match yielded a goal for Amaury Nunes. Tide chances were few in the first half. They had a few good opportunities on free kicks and long shots alike. Ciaran O’Brien picked up a questionable yellow card, and the game began to fade out of the hands of the match referee.
During the half time interval, head coach, Fran O’Brien, reminded the team of their come back in Oregon a few weeks prior. With confidence in mind the Tide began to create chances. Twelve minutes into the second half Chase Tangney was fouled outside the box. Ciaran O’Brien’s 27 yard free kick whistled just over the post. Three minutes later, Tangney was fouled again. This time he was pulled down inside the box. Machael David added a goal from the PK spot to his excellent performance on the night. In the 60th minute, the score was tied 1-1. The 5 minutes following the goal, Jordan Jennings, the Tide’s Man of Match, made key sprawling out saves. Jennings’ save tally for the night exceeded 10, some of which were at full stretch on 1 v 1’s.
In the 74th minute, the entire playoff run of the Tacoma Tide changed dramatically. Ciaran O’Brien slid in for a tackle on a Fuego player running through the middle. O’Brien went down to block the pass and got a partial deflection. With the ball bouncing 20 yards away from the two players, the Fuego player, also on the ground, pulled at O’Brien’s head. In effect, O’Brien was tackled like a rugby player, face first to the pitch. The tangle was in need of enforcement and the referee who had handed O’Brien a yellow card in the first half; decided the two players were equally at fault for the scuffle. Without consulting his fellow officials, the ref gave a second yellow card to Ciaran and thus a red card. This was frustrating to the Tide faithful, however, understandable. The Fuego player, Milton Blanco, who seemed to have committed a red card offense, was given just a yellow card. The Tide were down to 10 men, and the Fuego got off nearly scott-free. At the time, the Tacoma Tide were in control of the match. This control; erased. “We were in control of the game, and the red card destroyed the game,” explained Machael David following the game.
Down a man, the Tide fought on. Jordan Jennings was put into a “mano y mano” showdown with the PDL leading goal scorer, Pablo Campos. Campos scored 18 goals on the season, but after some shifty fakes, Jordan Jennings pulled out a fantastic save. Jennings stretched out and took the ball right off the Fuego star. The last 10 minutes of regular time were frantic. The Tide held on.
The PDL rules say that in playoff overtime there are two, fifteen minute, halves. There is no “golden goal’ meaning all 30 minutes will be played. Down a man, and with legs pushed to the limit, the Tide’s work was cut out for them. Three minutes into the overtime, Campos found free space on a through ball and quickly poked a shot past Jennings. The Fuego celebrated with masks and fans after the goal. The goal was monumental, so when the official gave no cards for excessive celebration it was understandable. The Tide pushed more players forward to get back the goal. This left gaps in the defense and two more goals were put in by the Fuego. These goals were celebrated even more loudly with dancing, masks, and more. Frustrated with still no discipline coming from the officiating team, Spencer Schomaker received a straight red card demanding such.
In the end, the night was a tough one to swallow. Credit must be given to each player sporting a yellow jersey as they all put forth everything they had. The players played with their hearts on the Tacoma FC shield stitched to their jersey. The season ends with the Tacoma Tide setting records in nearly every category. Most importantly, qualifying for the PDL playoffs for the first time in the club’s short history. The Tide would like to thank their fans for the support throughout this giant step that was PDL Season 2007.