TAMPA, Fla. - The Kitsap Pumas have advanced to the Fourth Round of the 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup after defeating a professional opponent in the tournament for the first time in club history*.
Following the team's Second Round win against Sounders FC U-23, Head Coach Cameron MacDonald led the Pumas to a 3-1 victory against the USL's Sacramento Republic FC at Bonney Field in the Third Round of the competition on Wednesday, June 1. With the result, the Pumas will play Major League Soccer's Seattle Sounders FC at Starfire Sports in Tukwila, Washington, at 7:30 p.m. PT on June 15.
"Part of the allure for guys to come and play for Kitsap is the fact that they get to showcase themselves," MacDonald said. "We're typically one of the top PDL clubs, which means we have a good number of scouts and coaches checking in on our players.
"Last night, Sacramento was a good win. We knew we would want to produce because there'd be eyes on them. They'll have even more eyes on them against the Sounders. These guys know that while they are all individually talented, in order for them to get the maximum exposure,they have to buy into the team philosophy here. ... They know that in order for them to showcase, they have to reach the later stages of competitions, like the PDL, like the Open Cup."
U.S. Open Cup History:
"We're huge underdogs, and rightly so, but we'll give ourselves the best possible chance," MacDonald said. "We'll do what we did for Sacramento. We don't have quite the resources of the Sounders or European clubs, but we'll do our best with the resources we have to mimic preparations of those clubs.
"We'll study them. Fortunately, we're close enough to them and we have a good relationship with the club to know them really well, and we'll prepare our guys for it. It'll be tough, but our guys have all played at Starfire, the majority of them have played against at least four or five of the Sounders players before, so I don't think they're going to be intimidated. They'll enjoy the occasion, and they rightly should, having earned that spot."
"There's no doubt that we have guys that can play at the USL level," MacDonald said. "They haven't made it there yet, for whatever reason, and they are using the PDL as they should, as a path."
* Note: This post has been updated since its initial release on June 2.