BREMERTON, WA — The Kitsap Pumas are stuck in a draw cycle and can’t play their way out of it. On Saturday night at Gordon Field the team ended in a 2:2 draw with the Portland Timbers U-23’s, the fifth straight even result for Pumas. The match was all the harder for head coach James Ritchie to swallow because Kitsap led 2:0 in the second half only to throw the lead away as the Timbers U-23’s chopped their way back.
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The string of ties has seen the Pumas unable to put a complete performance together. They either score and allow goals, or play tighter on defense but fail on offense. The five scores have been 3:3, 1:1, 0:0, 2:2 and 2:2.
Kitsap led 1:0 in the 14th minute on a beautiful team goal that ended on the head of Neil Shaffer. The play began near about 35 yards out when a nice ball was delivered to Sebastiaan Jansen. Hansen headed the ball across the goal mouth to the on-rushing Shaffer who buried it into the back of the Portland net.
The second half was marked by discontent from both benches on the calling of lead official Levi Rippy. Numerous yellow cards were dished out, and strong words were shouted from both benches. Rippy made a decision that favored the Pumas and both angered and woke up the Timbers in the 56th minute. A penalty kick was given to Kitsap and Shaffer stepped up to convert it.
The Pumas were ahead 2:0, but they fell apart after that. In the 60th minute Portland got back into it with a header from Saad Abdul-Salaam.
Just six minutes later the Kitsap defense failed to clear and Mark Sherrod made them pay. It was 2:2.
There were a few close scoring chances the rest of the way, including an offside flag that went up during a play that ended in a Kitsap goal, called back.
The Pumas were clearly dejected after the match, taking it as a loss.
Kitsap remains both winless and unbeaten at Gordon Field where they have played to three of their five draws.
The Pumas are 1-2-5 after eight matches played with only six left in the season and the playoffs looking like a longshot. Portland improves to 5-1-2 and climbs back into first place in the Northwest Division.
The clubs play each other again on Friday night June 21 in Oregon.
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