Bremerton, Wash. – (AP) With a memorable start to their 2009 season behind them, the Kitsap Pumas made sure to get the 2010 season off to a equally memorable one.
Newcomer Robbie Christner scored two goals as the Pumas defeated the Portland Timbers 3-2 on a cold Saturday night at Bremerton Memorial Stadium. It’s the Pumas’ second ever win against the Timbers. They beat Portland 1-0 at PGE Park last September in another friendly.
Christner, a 24-year-old forward who played soccer at Oregon State University, put Kitsap up 2-1 in the 61st-minute when he found himself open with the ball from 27 yards out.
He didn’t hesitate, sending in a rocket that beat goalie Steve Cronin for the lead.
After Portland’s James Marcelin tied it up two minutes later, Christner put Kitsap up for good when he received a cross from Greg Miley who was just outside the penalty box on the right wing.
Christner immediately sent in a grounder that got past Cronin to nestle in the left corner of the goal.
“The first goal was right place, right time,” he said. “The defense was dropping back and so I was able to come forward on the ball.
“Greg put a beautiful ball in,” Christner continued. “He got his head up and found me making a run in. I did the easy part. He did all the work.”
Head coach Peter Fewing said he was not only impressed with Christner’s play on the pitch, but his attitude off it.
“He came to us well recommended,” Fewing said. “You can just tell that he’s got ability and can score in pressure situations… when we talked, I told him about our dilemma and how we had a lot of guys over the (age-limit.)
“He said ‘I’d like to try it anyway,” Fewing continued. “I liked that response.”
The Pumas responded after Ryan Pore put the Timbers up in the 40th-minute.
He connected with an unmarked header off a corner kick from Rodrigo Lopez that settled into the left of the net.
But with the crowd just getting settled in for the second half, the Pumas’ Cameron Hepple found fellow-newcomer Tye Perdido with a great cross as the two center-halves closed in on Hepple.
Perdido did the rest, pulling Cronin out of goal far enough to chip a shot over his head in the 48th minute.
“Those were three good goals, “Fewing said. “Cronin is a fantastic keeper. To score three goals on him is very impressive. All three of those goals would go in in a lot of places.”
The Pumas also got a break when Lopez was sent off in the 60th-minute after a hard tackle on Hepple. He had received a yellow card in the 58th-minute already for dissension.
The win is a big step for the second-year franchise, but Fewing said they not only need to be ready for the teams they face in the future, but they can’t rest on their laurels. The win is notable in that the Pumas play at the PDL level and the Timbers are at the USL D1 level and will be a Major League Soccer side next season.
“I’m pleased (with the win) but as I told them afterward, we take this win and we put it behind us and move on to the next thing,” he said. “Everybody we play, they’re going to say ‘If we can beat these guys, we can beat anybody.'”
The Pumas continue their pre-season schedule with a match against the Gonzaga Bulldogs at noon next Saturday at Bainbridge High School. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 4-12.
Season tickets are on sale now as well along with Flex Ticket Packages. For additional information, please contact the Pumas’ front office at 360-377-6008.