Pumas and Vancouver Tie
Bremerton, Wash. – The Kitsap Pumas walked off the field shaking their heads and staring at the ground. Their opponent marched away smiling, bumping fists and hugging.
The reactions were utterly opposite after the Pumas and Vancouver Whitecaps played to a 1-1 draw on a breezy Sunday afternoon at Bremerton Memorial Stadium.
“We’re not happy at all,” said Kitsap forward Eli Gordley, who scored his second goal of the season in the 43rd minute to put his team up 1-0. “We all have high expectations for ourselves and we didn’t get it done today. We should have had a win.”
Kitsap (8-1-1) entered the game in second place in the Premier Development League Northwest Division and was heavily favored over the winless Whitecaps.
But the team struggled to finish opportunities and was sluggish at times, allowing Vancouver to hang around.
The Whitecaps (0-4-3) eventually capitalized in the 58th minute, when Alex Sements beat goalkeeper Dustyn Brim from about 10 yards out.
Sements was in open space when he received the ball and slipped between two defenders, setting up an open shot.
“He came inside on his preferred right foot, 12 yards out and curled it into the back post,” Brim said.
The Pumas had numerous chances following the equalizer, but they were unable to convert.
Cameron Hepple had a near score when he lofted the ball toward the net from inside the box, getting a shot just under the crossbar, but the referee signaled a clean save for the keeper, who appeared to nearly step over the goal line.
The Pumas out-shot Vancouver 7-6, but coach Fewing felt the team was too sluggish – possibly the result of having played it’s second match in one-and-a-half days, and six matches in 16 days, including two US Open Cup matches.
“That’s on me,” he said. “When we don’t win a game like that, I think the coaches have got to take responsibility for it.”
Gordley, who has seen limited playing time this season, provided a rare bright spot for the Pumas.
His second goal of the season came less than one minute after he replaced forward Tye Perdido in 42nd minute. The second-year forward capitalized when a Vancouver defender made an errant pass inside the 18-yard box, beating the keeper to the ball.
“I was just going to rush the keeper and I was able to get to it before he did,” Gordley said. “Then I just slid it into the open net.”
The Pumas moved into second place in the Northwest Division with a crisp 2-0 win Friday at home against the Victroria Highlanders.
Memories of that effort quickly dissolved following Sunday’s tie against the Whitecaps (0-4-3), who have yet to win a match.
There were 36 fouls called, 22 going against the Pumas. And none was bigger than a highly questionable red card awarded to Nik Besagno in the 88th minute for making a hard tackle in the center of the field.
“For us it’s like a loss, especially at home,” Fewing said. “We can’t make excuses.”
The Pumas visit the Highlanders of Victoria Saturday, July 3 before returning home to face the Yakima Reds at 7:30 p.m. July 10.
Tickets remain available and can be purchased at www.brownpapertickets.com or by calling club headquarters, (360) 308-9161