Pumas Roll in Opener, Down Yakima 4-0
YAKIMA, Wash. – On his 24th-birthday, Matt Friesen scored two goals in the first twelve minutes of play as the Kitsap Pumas defeated the Yakima Reds 4-0 on a cold Saturday night at Marquette Stadium. It was the season opener for both teams.
Friesen’s first tally came off a pass from Robby Christner that the Yakima defense felt had gone over the right byline – then strangely gave up on the play. But the sideline referee never raised the flag, and Friesen had an easy tap-in for Pumas’ first goal of the season.
The Pumas’ second score came just three minutes later, when Friesen corralled a pass off his chest, then passed it toward Christner who then sent a rocket from outside the penalty box that caught Yakima goalkeeper Mauricio Sanchez flat footed.
Three minutes later, Cameron Hepple made a back-heel pass which found a perfectly placed streaking Stephen Phillips, who then sent in a hard cross to the box that missed one Puma player, but Friesen who was able to send in a quick poke past Sanchez.
“We were expecting to dictate the game and you hope things go that way, but you never expect to go up 3-0 that fast,” Friesen said.
The Pumas had numerous other chances from then on, as players put in cross after cross into the box, but just couldn’t connect on them.
Finallly, in the 81st-minute, defender Jason Cascio, coming hard from the back, took a pass from newly named Pumas captain Nik Besagno off a corner kick, made some quick moves inside the box and scored.
“We were lucky to get a 3-0 lead and that took a lot of pressure off us,” Cascio said. “I knew we were going to come out firing because it’s our first game, but I don’t think anyone expected 3-0 that quick.”
Head coach Pete Fewing, who earned his first regular-season win as Pumas coach, said he was happy to see his team score so early.
“They were good goals,” he said. Guys were coming into the box – so that was good to see.
“I wanted to get a fourth goal,” Fewing continued. “I didn’t want to win the first half and tie the second.”
He also said he was glad to see the team overcome the conditions.
“It was literally a hard surface to play on, it was windy and it’s not necessarily big, so I thought we did a good job of playing and defending.” he said. “It was a pretty good performance. I almost wanted to say complete, but it’s never a complete performance.”
The Pumas travel to Spokane next Saturday to take on the Spiders, then return home May 15 for its home opener against the Tacoma Tide in the Narrows Bridge Derby. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. sharp.
Tickets are available for all Pumas home matches via www.brownpapertickets.com or by calling team headquarters at 360-377-6008.