Photo courtesy of Kitsap Pumas
BREMERTON, Wash. – Javier Castro’s 81st-minute equalizer led the Kitsap Pumas to a 1-1 draw against the United Soccer League’s Seattle Sounders FC 2 on Saturday in an exhibition at Gordon Field.
Russell Sterling put S2 up in the 78th minute, but Kitsap’s Castro responded three minutes later.
“It was a good learning experience for our guys and a good test with the regular season still to kick off in a couple weeks,” Pumas Head Coach Cameron MacDonald said. “It gave us a good idea of where we stand before we take on the difficult task of defending our Northwest Division title.”
Both teams started the match at flying pace, eager to impress an early season crowd of 1,365 at Gordon Field. The Pumas had the better of the chances, both through the run of play and on set pieces, as S2 started a mixture of regulars and academy players.
The final shot tally was 13-3 in the Pumas’ favor, illustrating the quality of the Kitsap attack. Nonetheless, it took until late into the match before the fans got the breakthrough they wanted.
S2 took advantage of winning the ball in their defensive half, breaking forward on the counterattack through Sterling. Sterling found himself one-on-one with Pumas goalkeeper Matt Grosey and slipped the ball inside the far post to give his team a 1-0 lead in the 78th minute.
The Pumas didn’t back down, though, as substitute forward Castro slammed a shot into the net from close range after a build-up down the right wing in the 81st minute.
The match capped off a full day of play at Gordon, as the Pumas defeated a Naval Base Kitsap team earlier before the Navy team played to a close 2-2 draw with Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
Kitsap concludes its preseason this Sunday with a final friendly against former coach Pete Fewing and Seattle University at Gordon Field. The first regular-season game takes place May 7 at Gordon Field against the Victoria Highlanders.