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Kitsap Pumas continue unbeaten streak, advance to play the Seattle Sounders in the U.S. Open Cup Tuesday
The Kitsap Pumas got their wish.
For the last three seasons, the Bremerton squad wanted the chance to test their mettle by playing the Seattle Sounders at the U.S. Open Cup. On Tuesday the Pumas reached their goal, beating Real Colorado 3-1 in the second round of the five-tier tournament at Bremerton Memorial Stadium.
Seattle and Kitsap will face off at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila.
“This is big for all of us,” said Kitsap defender Taylor Hyde. “This is our chance to go out there and prove ourselves.”
Despite spotting Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid and his coaching staff in the Bremerton crowd last Tuesday, the Pumas shook off their early jitters to beat the Foxes. Kitsap improved to 9-0-1 after eliminating Real Colorado from the tournament.
“Our job doesn’t change out here,” Hyde said. “We try not to focus on other teams as much, and with a team like Seattle, we’ll obviously have our hands full.”
Pumas head coach Peter Fewing said the biggest obstacle for his team last week was ignoring that they could play a Major League Soccer team in the third round. He believes the Pumas were nervous early in the Real Colorado match because they knew the Sounders were waiting.
“We really had to stay on task and not talk about Seattle for a while there,” Fewing added. “We were a little tentative at the start against Colorado, and we need to get that sorted out quick for the next game. Now, we can talk about the Sounders.”
Fewing is also a broadcast analyst for the Sounders and said he will not attend Seattle’s practices out of respect for the Pumas. Kitsap’s coach will give color commentary at two games for the Sounders before the Pumas meet up with the Sounders next week.
Meanwhile, the Pumas plan to treat Seattle like any other opponent, even if the Sounders are the two-time defending Cup champions.
“They’re the Sounders, we’re the Pumas, and we’ve got to take it like it is,” said Pumas midfielder Cameron Hepple, who scored a goal in the 16th minute to give Kitsap a 1-0 lead against Real Colorado. “We stick to what we do best, and see what happens.”
Hyde, a three-year starter with the Pumas, said he’s looking forward to playing Seattle, but he’s trying to keep everything in perspective.
“We’re definitely the underdogs, we know that,” Hyde said. “We’re trying not to get over-confident because we haven’t done anything yet.”
Robin Waite, the team’s owner, expressed bittersweet feelings about next week’s match against Seattle. Waite believes a win against the Sounders would be momentous, but added that he’s not happy with the location of the game.
“You hate to get too optimistic, but if we can win, it would send shockwaves,” Waite added. “It’s just such a shame it’s not being played in Bremerton. This place would be sold out.”
Radio and webcast: Listen to the game live on the radio or via webcast at 7 p.m. on KMAS 1030 AM. The website is www.kmas.com.
Tickets are sold by Ticketmaster: $16 for the covered end of the stadium; $12 for uncovered. For tickets, call 1-877-MLS-GOAL. Fans may also purchase tickets at CenturyLink Field in downtown Seattle.
Teams at a glance
League: Premier Development League
Owner: Robin Waite
Best U.S. Open Cup finish: Second round – lost to the Portland Timbers U23 (2010)
League: Major League Soccer
Owner(s): Joe Roth, Adrian Hanauer, Paul Allen and Drew Carey
Best U.S. Open Cup finish: Champions (2010, 2009)
Second photo: Seattle Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid watches the Pumas-Foxes match at Bremerton Memorial Stadium. Photo by Mike Baldwin.