BREMERTON, WA— And the winner tonight is…local soccer.
That’s the real take-away after a spectacle played out at Gordon Field before a packed house of nearly 1,000 on Saturday night. There was no winner on the pitch, but the 3:3 draw between the Kitsap Pumas and the Sounders U23 had pretty-much everything: goals, drama, red cards, sideline arguments, chanting fans, flags, smoke…and in the end, a trophy.
It was deja vu all over again. The same two sides drew 3:3 in Tacoma back in May.
The Kitsap Pumas were happy to take the Ruffneck Cup for a second year in a row, but they would have preferred to not give up a stoppage time goal to the Sounders that erased a 3:2 lead. Just minutes earlier in the 89th Brandon Scott had thrilled the crowd with a run and finish that gave Kitsap a late advantage.
The twists and turns before then were just as amazing to watch unfold. A 1:0 halftime Pumas lead suddenly was gone and then before the Kitsap fight-back red cards started flying.
Unofficial stats showed both clubs finish with nine men after ejections for Sounders U23′s Murphy Campbell (two yellows) in the 71st, along with Cody Shelton of Kitsap (straight red) and Aaron Kovar of the U23′s (straight red) followed in the 72nd by another straight red to Kitsap’s Neil Shaffer. The tussle in the 71st came after a hard tackle that had both sidelines up off their benches. Head referee was Andrew Evangelos.
The scoring began in the first half when Sebastiaan Jansen put the Pumas up 1:0 in the 8th minute. It was a while until the next goal, but then they wouldn’t stop coming.
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The U23′s tied the match in the 61st thanks to Max Estrada, who then doubled his pleasure with the go-ahead goal in the 67th.
The Pumas awoke from a bad second half spell to draw even in the 77th on a goal from Ben Truax. Brandon Scott’s scamper and finish in the 89th had the crowd buzzing and put Kitsap up 3:2. The stoppage-time equalizer from the U23′s came from defender Joshua Phillips.
Hanging in the balance along with the Ruffneck Cup was the playoff hopes of the U23′s, who remain alive but still need help from other teams. Also, there was talk that the highest finishing American side along with Portland would enter the US OPen Cup in 2014. That looks to have slipped away for the Pumas, who have finished their season on 16 points. The Sounders have a match to go to finish ahead of Washington Crossfire and to try to leap-frog over the Vancouver Whitecaps U23′s into third place.
The Sounders U23 match report has a nice description of how the goals were scored.
See some raw video from the match below: