The STATE of Soccer in WASHINGTON
There was a time when the Kitsap Pumas held their own destiny. They saw all of that slip away during a mostly-fruitless weekend against Canadian teams, and then completely when they collapsed against the Sounders U-23′s last Friday night.
Now the defending PDL National Champions are singing a new tune, and it a melody that is all about hoping Washington Crossfire can gather up the desire and effort to beat or draw the Portland Timbers U-23′s tonight in Redmond.
Before their fall from the top perch some Pumas players voiced the opinion that the new playoff structure of four teams making it in seemed unfair and unnecessary.
“It doesn’t seem right,” all-time Kitsap leading scorer Matt Friesen told the Kitsap Sun less than a week ago. “You can get fourth place and play one game, win on a penalty or something, and now you take the first-place spot for the (conference) tournament.”
Now it’s likely the Pumas are thankful for the cushion the new set-up provides. At least they know they have one more match to play for certain.
“We knew from the beginning this wasn’t going to be an (easy) year,” defender Taylor Hyde told the Kitsap Sun last week. “I think we have the best division in the PDL — by far.”
If Crossfire wins or earns a draw tonight at Redmond High School then Kitsap takes second place and with it a home playoff date this weekend against the Timbers. Further, the Pumas would get their fourth straight US Open Cup spot. A Portland win and all of that goes away. The Pumas would finish third, travel to Oregon for the weekend playoff match, and the Timbers U-23′s would get the 2013 USOC slot.
Washington Crossfire has only pride and momentum to play for. They are already locked in as the fourth place club and will face the Sounders U-23′s in a single-match playoff Saturday, July 14th, at 7:30pm at Franklin Pierce High School.
In two previous matches this year Crossfire and the Timbers have split close affairs. Washington took a 2:1 win in Redmond while last weekend Portland won 1:0 in Oregon.