BREMERTON, Wash. — Kitsap Pumas picked up a 5-1 win over the Evergreen Premier League’s Seattle Stars FC in their first match of the preseason in front of 240 fans at Gordon Field on Friday.
All five Kitsap goals came via trialists, with two in the first half and three in the second. Seattle did add a late consolation through former Pumas player Ashkanov Apollon.
The first half saw head coach Cameron MacDonald go with a younger lineup that included the likes of Jonathan Caparelli, Edgar Duran, Kalem Scott and Mikhail Doholis.
Trialists Alcides Thomas and Conner Bevans—fresh from a preseason training stint with an MLS club—were also named to the starting XI. Both players are vying for a Kitsap Pumas pro contract and did their chances no harm by each notching a double.
Goalkeeper Matt Grosey and defender Matt Eronemo were the only starters from the 2015 Kitsap squad. Grosey made a significant impact, commanding a young team from his penalty area.
The young Pumas were the more dominant team in the first half, creating more scoring opportunities and maintaining the majority of position while giving little space for the Stars to create anything offensively.
“We set out clear standards to the players before the game, and to their credit, I thought the majority were able to match if not exceed them,” assistant coach Shaun Scobie said following the match.
The second half saw Kitsap field a lineup that consisted of more experienced and familiar faces, with Rene DeZorzi, Buba Findi and Kyle Johnson anchoring the backline.
Preseason is a perfect time for the team to evaluate some of the younger players coming up the ranks and give hungry players opportunities. That’s been the consistent message from MacDonald and Kitsap since the inception of the club. He reiterated that message in his post-match interview.
“We will always promote players and give them a chance if they show us they want to work hard and continue developing,” he said. “Ultimately, we are trying to develop top professionals.”
The team’s next preseason match is against South Sound FC on Wednesday, April 6 at Gordon Field. The game kicks off at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public.