UNIVERSITY PLACE, WA–– The Sounders U23 scored three goals in the first and the Kitsap Pumas countered with three of their own in the second as the PDL rivals fought to a 3:3 draw on Friday night May 24 at Curtis High School. A boisterous crowd of nearly 500 chanted throughout the contest as the U23’s hosted their league home opener. (U23’s Facebook photo gallery.)
Supporters dished out digs on both sides, with U23 fans asking “what’s the score?” when it was 3:0 for the Rave side. Kitsap fans came ready with “This is Tacoma” signs, flashed when the U23 supporters sang “The Bluest Skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle.” And one more to their point, on the demise of the Tacoma Tide, who were rebranded under the Sounders umbrella: “Corporate soccer sucks.” All part of the atmosphere of this growing Ruffneck Cup rivalry.
The match was a tale of two halves, and mistakes made and opportunities taken.
In the 19th minute Aodhan Quinn struck first and put the Sounders U-23 on the board. Quinn picked up a loose ball inside the box facing the goal. He sent a curling ball toward the far post that went over Kitsap Pumas goalkeeper Dustyn Brim’s outstretched reach and into the side net for the 1-0 lead.
Quinn was at it again in the 26th minute with a nearly identical goal, only this time with a greater degree of difficulty. Again with a left foot, and at a sharper angle, Quinn sent a ball toward the back post. With swirling wind conditions, the ball sailed just over the reach of Brim and into the upper corner for a second goal.
The Sounders U-23 put a third first half goal on the board in the 42nd minute. Miles Byass was the beneficiary of a fumbled ball by Kitsap keeper Brim, and found himself all alone with the ball just in front of the net. He calmly walked the ball into the net for the 3-0 half time lead.
The Pumas came out of the locker room with a purpose and put a goal of their own on the board in the 50th minute. Pumas forward Shane Malcolm positioned himself just in front of Sounders U-23 keeper Zac Lubin with his back to the goal. Malcolm was able to beat Lubin to a ball over the top of the defense and flick it into the empty net bringing the score to 3-1.
Late in the match a desperate Kitsap Pumas side pushed men forward to try to find more goals. Then in the 86th minute their pressure was rewarded as halftime substitute Seb Jansen got in behind the Sounders defenders, who appealed for offside. Lubin tried to come out to meet him, but Jansen was able to slide his shot past the sliding keeper and into the net bringing the Pumas to within one.
The Sounders U-23 were not able to withstand the sustained attacks from the Pumas and eventually conceded a penalty kick. Shane Malcolm made a quick move just inside the far left top corner of the box. He was tripped and the ref instantly pointed to the spot as the stadium erupted in both shrieks and groans. In the 89th minute, Kitsap midfielder Niel Shaffer converted the penalty and leveled the score at 3-3, completing the Kitsap come back. The matched closed out in stoppage time with a few frantic chances for both sides, but neither team was able to claim victory.
The Pumas keep their early Ruffneck Cup lead with four standings points. The U23’s are now on the board with one.
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