Kitsap Pumas host Portland Saturday on Pepsi Next promo night

Since the Kitsap Pumas and Portland Timbers U-23 came into the Premier Development League in 2009, both sides have developed a burgeoning rivalry over the years.

by John Becerra Jr. for the Kitsap Pumas

They have battled over spots for the U.S. Open Cup, for first place in
the Northwest Division and in the playoffs, with both sides scoring
big wins off each other.

This Saturday will be no different, as the Pumas host the Timbers U-23
Saturday at 7 p.m for first place in the Northwest Division. Tickets
are available through Brown Paper Tickets and the Pumas front office.

Greg Miley is on a scoring streak for Kitsap. (Wilson Tsoi)

The game doubles as a “Pepsi Promotional Night” sponsored by Bremerton Bottling Company. The first 1,000 fans through the gate will receive a new can of Pepsi Next, with 60 percent less sugar than other sodas.The game is being streamed live by the Kitsap Sun on its website at

Both teams are level on points with 15, though the Timbers U-23 are ahead on goal difference with a +10 differential.

The Timbers U-23 come in on a downswing, as they lost to Sounders U-23 1-0 June 2, then dropped a 2-1 match to the Washington Crossfire

The Pumas, meanwhile, have won three straight after a 4-0 loss to the Timbers U-23 in Portland May 25.

Goalkeeper/assistant coach Dustyn Brim said the team is relaxed coming
into Saturday’s match.

“We’re loose, which is good,” he said. “But we’re very competitive in
practice, which is good given the occasion. The guys are looking
forward to it.”

The team is also looking forward to playing a better game, as they
made several mistakes in the loss.

Danny Medina has been a solid addition to the 2012 Pumas. (David Falk)

“It’s the same recipe: don’t shoot yourself in the foot, limit your
mistakes and capitalize on theirs.” Brim said. “I think that’s what
they did to us and now its our turn to do it to them.”

Since the shutout in Portland, Kitsap has outscored its opposition
6-1, with two shutouts in those three games.

Forward Greg Miley and midfielder Matt Friesen have led the scoring in
those three games. Miley notched three in three games while Friesen
has scored two, including the game winner against Victoria May 27.
Both are tied for the team lead in goals with four apiece.

“Miley is playing with confidence right now,” Brim said. “He’s never
gotten that opportunity in years’ past, but he’s taken that
opportunity and he’s run with it. That’s what you want – you want
players who, when they get a sniff (of playing time), they lay claim
to it.”

Other players are making positive contributions like midfielders
Daniel Macleod and Danny Medina. Macleod assisted on a goal by forward
Ben Truax in their 3-0 win against North Sound on Sunday and nearly
scored himself. Medina has been a steady presence in the midfield as

Daniel MacLeod. (David Falk)

“Technically, Macca (Macleod) is a fantastic player, so its good to
get him on the field,” Brim said. “He’s been getting more aggressive
and we want to see that. We want to see him take people on, because he serves such a good ball into the box.”

The Timbers U-23 come in as one of the higher scoring teams in the
PDL. Brim said Portland’s balance of talent makes them a tough team to face.

“Their midfield tackles hard and they seem to control everything,” he
said. “Their big boy up front (Mark Sherrod) is very good in the air.
They’re a very complete team, so you have to limit your mistakes
against them.”

Ben Truax, getting a hugging tackle here in a recent match at North Sound, is scoring goals for the improving Pumas. (Wilson Tsoi)

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