Pumas notch second straight win

Players for the Kitsap Pumas make defensive plays against  the Puget Sound Gunners. - Contributed Photo
Players for the Kitsap Pumas make defensive plays against the Puget Sound Gunners.
— image credit: Contributed Photo

By Julie Diefendorf

Things are starting to click for the Kitsap Pumas.

Forward Joaquin Rivas scored his team leading third goal of the season as the Kitsap Pumas shut out the Puget Sound Gunners FC 1-0 last last week at Issaquah High School in Issaquah.

It’s the club’s second straight win and second straight shutout. The three points also helps increase their lead atop the USL PDL Northwest Division to four points over the Victoria Highlanders.

“We’ve done a great job on keeping our mind on the next game,” midfielder Chuy Sanchez said. “Whether it’s the Gunners or Lane United coming up, we don’t underestimate anyone, ’cause that’s when we drop points. In this league with such a short season, you can’t allow to drop points. The Gunners aren’t an easy team and we weren’t gonna stroll about.”

Rivas scored in the 12th minute when Sanchez got a shoulder pass from midfielder Kevin Finlayson at midfield and found him with a well-placed through ball that got past several defenders.

The striker timed his run perfectly to beat defender Matt Eronemo to the ball and send a hard grounder past goalkeeper Jason Dodson that just nicked the inside of the left corner of the near post and banged in. It’s his second straight game with a goal.

Sanchez hopes its the start of a good thing between him, Rivas and Miguel Sanchez this season.

“Me, Joaquin and Miguel are starting to get a good partnership going,” he said. “I’m coming in and getting fitter from my injuries, so we’re starting to get an understanding of each other and read each other’s movements. I feel we’re going to be more dangerous the more the season goes on.”Rivas almost had a second one in the 18th minute off a cross from Miguel Gonzalez but he put it wide.

Kitsap had several chances on goal but couldn’t get that last touch on the ball to finish.

The Gunners threw more bodies forward in the second half to get some looks but couldn’t get the equalizer as goalkeeper Matt Grosey and the back line of Cody Shelton, Rene DeZorzi, Cory Keitz and Andy Devlin held firm. Grosey earned his third shutout of the season.

“Andy’s a very solid defender,” said head coach Andrew Chapman, of the Northern Ireland native, who was starting in place of Brodie Steigerwald who was suspended after being red carded against Victoria last Saturday. “We were very confident in him and we weren’t worried at all. He’s played at a good level at outside back so it’s a very natural position for him.”

Chapman said the team is close to achieving the goals they’ve set for themselves.

“We said this week is a very important week for us,” he said. “When we drew it up, we broke the season into thirds and this is the end of the first third. So when we look back at this week at the end of the season we can say this week broke us or made us.”

Kitsap plays at Gordon Field. Tickets are available at the Pumas front office. For more information call 360-377-6008.


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