Pumas Roll Past Spokane, Remain Unbeaten and Untied
SPOKANE — There was no question the Kitsap Pumas were vastly superior to the Spokane Spiders, but there was a big question on whether that superiority would reflect itself on the scoreboard.
Alas, the Pumas took care of the latter question by breaking up a scoreless tie with three goals in the final 22 minutes of a 3-0 victory Saturday night at Albi Stadium.
“I don’t like that; I want to see it happen quicker,” Kitsap coach Peter Fewing said.
Better late than never, Coach. The Pumas dominated play throughout and outshot Spokane 12-1, but some missed opportunties around the net and a handful of fine saves by local high school goalkeeper Garrett Brickey kept things close.
“We expect it (close games),” Hepple said. “Teams are always out looking to get us, looking to ‘one-up’ us. It’s like a World Cup final kind of thing.”
Hepple was referring to the fact that the Pumas are minor league pros, and league rivals are amateurs — mostly college players. Hepple certainly wasn’t referring to the talent of the Spiders or the atmosphere at Albi, where perhaps 200 spectators occupied the 25,000 seats on a cool, windy evening that briefly included rain in the second half.
“It’s just one of those games where we just have to keep working,” Fewing said. “And give the Spiders credit for making it hard.”
The Pumas (2-0) got on the board in the 68th minute when reserve forward Tye Perdido — the leading scorer at nearby Gonzaga University last fall — pounded home a goal from close range. The play started off a corner kick by speedy little Hepple, who added the game’s other two goals in the final five minutes.
“We just have to keep our confidence,” Hepple said. “Not get antsy or impatient, just play our game.”
Hepple described Perdido’s goal as “definitely clutch.” Dan Scott headed the ball down to the right side of the goal on Hepple’s corner kick, and Perdido rammed the ball home.
Hepple hauled in a long pass from Todd Wellenius to score from the right side with five minutes to go.
Less than a minute remained in the game when Hepple struck from the left side on a feed by David Gray, the Scottish import who arrived last week. Gray had not been expected to play, but he made the trip in place of high-scoring forward Robbie Christner. Fewing said Christner may require surgery for a sports hernia and will be evaluated again tomorrow.
The Pumas make their home debut at 7:30 p.m. next Saturday versus the Tacoma Tide at Bremerton Memorial Stadium. Tickets still remain online, at club headquarters or by calling 360-377-6008.