Pumas Top Crossfire, Remain Undefeated

Pumas Top Crossfire, Remain Undefeated

Bremerton, WA — With the Premier Developmental League’s Northwest Division title wrapped up, the Kitsap Pumas came into Sunday’s match against the Washington Crossfire with the intention of getting second- and third-string players some minutes — in addition keeping their foot on the gas and retaining their undefeated season.

The Pumas accomplished their goal as 17 players saw action in a 2-0 victory at Gordon Field.

The Pumas struck first in the 60th minute as midfielder Borce Atanasov rose up for a header on a set piece. Justin Ortinau was credited with the assist from the right corner.

Kitsap added to its lead in the 77th minute as Ramos sent in a through ball to Atanasov, who was fouled by Crossfire goalkeeper Tyler Visten in the box for a penalty kick. Puma captain Cory Keitz buried it to put Kitsap up 2-0.

Pumas coach Cameron MacDonald was pleased with the result, as the Pumas picked up three points and a clean sheet with no players injured or suspended. He did acknowledge his team squandered many opportunities.

“If we put our chances away, we could have scored eight in the last 25 minutes, and that’s not an exaggeration,” he said.

The Pumas dominated in scoring opportunities, tallying eight shots to Crossfire’s zero and 11 corners to Crossfire’s one.

In the first half, the Pumas controlled most of the scoring chances. Kitsap had three shots to Crossfire’s zero, including other squandered opportunities that did not result into shots.

“Our foot was off the gas; we were just taking it easy,” Kitsap goalkeeper Matt Grosey said.

The Pumas started the game with mostly backups in the starting 11 and struggled in the first half with sloppy play and missed chances. Many of Kitsap’s first-team players entered the game in the second half, most notably Nick Hamer, Atanasov, Keitz and Mike Ramos to improve the quality of play.

“We put some of the guys that have been producing for us and it was clear to see that the level increased,” MacDonald said.

MacDonald said he thought he struck a good balance, giving some players some key players much-needed rest while at the same time giving some backups playing time.

The Pumas cap off the regular season on Wednesday against Seattle Sounders U-23. The Ruffneck Cup — a competition between the Washington-based teams in the PDL Northwest Division — is at stake, with the Pumas needing a win or a tie versus the Sounders to add another piece of hardware.

“We want to win it,” MacDonald said. “You want to win every competition you’re in.”

With playoffs not far off on the horizon, MacDonald said the Pumas need to be careful in their last regular-season game.

“There isn’t as much in stake Wednesday, we know that,” MacDonald said. “We want to go undefeated, but we have to balance it and be smart about it and put things into perspective. … It’s not a make-or-break game for us, but we want to perform well in front of our home crowd.”