BREMERTON, Wash. — The Kitsap Pumas have every reason to feel good about themselves heading into Friday’s game at Lane United (7 p.m., Willamalane Center). The attack scored three goals in their first outing of the season against the Victoria Highlanders, while the defense managed to keep a clean sheet despite the absence of key players Cory Keitz (ineligible) and Matt Eronemo (injury).
The Pumas are determined to defend their Northwest Division crown, and the players’ confidence is high entering the clash in Springfield, Oregon.
“We’re feeling pretty good right now,” midfielder Ibrahim Diaby said after last weekend’s 3-0 victory over league returners the Victoria Highlanders. “Obviously, the scoreline speaks for itself.”
The Pumas are set to welcome back club captain Keitz, who missed the first game of the regular season while waiting on international clearance. Keitz was named to the PDL All-Western Conference team in consecutive years (2014 and 2015) and will give head coach Cameron MacDonald another defensive option to call on.
“I think everyone is sort of getting the feel for each other’s strengths,” goalkeeper Matt Grosey said. “I think we’re really starting to jell right now. We’re moving the ball well, we’re breaking teams down, we’re showing a good dynamic at forward as well.”
Defender Buba Jammeh, however, took a more cautious approach to the early season surge.
“We put in a good performance, but we can’t get carried away with ourselves,” he said. “There’s always work to be done.”
That work will continue in Springfield, where the Pumas (1-0-0, first in the Northwest Division) won by a 2-0 scoreline in 2015 but face a much changed Lane United side (1-0-0, second in the Northwest) that has added strong players from Oregon State University, Creighton University and University of Portland. Lane is playing its first home game of the season.
MacDonald, however, isn’t fooled by his opponent’s lack of a preseason.
“They’re a very good team—a team that I think can contend for the division this year,” he said. “(Dirk) van der Velde certainly is a very good midfielder, (Matthias) Binder and (Amer) Sasivarevic in the wide areas are very good, (Matthew) Coffey and (Stefan) Tomasevic are dangerous.
“They have a good team.”
Mike Ramos, who leads the Pumas with two goals after the first match, has been impressed with how his team has adapted for 2016 and believes the best is yet to come.
“If all of our players are healthy, we’ll have an amazing team that could go very far,” he said. “The depth in this roster is crazy. We have players that can definitely start that can’t get in the 18.
WILLAMALANE CENTER, Springfield, Oregon
MAY 13, 2016 (WEEK 2, PDL GAME #208)
7 p.m. PT
- Lane won a season opener in 2014 versus Sounders U23 and in 2016, defeating Portland Timbers U23 1-0.
- Mike Ramos has scored a goal in the last two meetings between the sides and exploded onto the scene again this year with a brace in the Pumas’ home opener.
- Lane began play in the Northwest Division of the PDL in 2014. Home games are played at the Willamalane Center in Springfield, Oregon.
REFEREE: Andrew Marihart. AR1 (bench): Bennet Savage. AR2 (opposite): Andres Salcedo. 4th: Ben Goodman.
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: none
DISABLED LIST: Dominic McGiveron (Kitsap), Nick Hamer (Kitsap)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
ALL-TIME (4 meetings): Lane 0 wins, 1 goal … Pumas 4 wins, 10 goals … Ties 0
AT LANE (2 meetings): Lane 0 wins, 1 goal … Pumas 2 wins, 4 goals … Ties 0
FUTURE MATCHES: July 9: Kitsap Pumas vs. Lane United, 7 p.m. PT
5/16: LU 0, KP 2 (Ortinau 45; Ramos 64)
6/27: KP 4, LU 0 (Keitz 1; Miller 18, 48; Ramos 38)
- The teams met twice a year ago, Kitsap winning by a 4-0 scoreline on their home ground and 2-0 at the Willamalane Center.
- Lane United has not won against Kitsap since joining the PDL in 2014; Kitsap has won each of the four meetings between the clubs.