BREMERTON, Wash. – The Kitsap Pumas’ Matt Eronemo has missed the first two games of the season, and it’s been killing him. But he may get a much-needed solution for his frustration by seeing game action in Monday’s match against Washington Crossfire (7:30 p.m.) at Redmond High School.
Pumas head coach Cameron MacDonald remained noncommittal regarding the Concordia grad’s status, despite the fact the 26-year-old said he felt “ready to go” after missing more than a month because of knee surgery.
Eronemo, in fact, insisted he could have played in Friday’s 0-0 tie with Lane United.
“I’m ready, of course,” Eronemo said. “It’s been a good few weeks of training, a lot of fitness. But if you’re not playing, it’s different from match fitness. In terms of normal fitness, I’m fine and ready to go.”
Eronemo admitted he’s been frustrated at not being able to play, but he said the inactivity has gotten a little easier to handle as he grows older.
“As you get older, you get more understanding of it,” he said. “Maybe a little bit easier, but at the same time frustrating, because I like to play all the time. It can be frustrating at times, but without being mentally strong and getting back sooner than expected, that’s obviously been the case with me.
“I’ve always been like that as a player. If someone gives me a long time, I always try to cut it in half and that’s been the case. I definitely could have been involved on Friday (in Eugene). I’m obviously ready for this game. I’m back quicker than expected.”
The Pumas (0-1-1, -2 points) will take on Crossfire (1-0-0, 3 points) in the first meeting between the teams since June 2015, a 2-0 Pumas win.
A number of Pumas players don’t recall much of that game—“I don’t like to dwell on the past,” Eronemo said—but defender Cory Keitz vividly remembers that game. He marshaled the Pumas defense through that game on its march to a fourth Northwest Division title.
“Yeah, I remember that,” Keitz said with a laugh. “I actually had a bad hamstring that game. It was real test for us.
“I felt good as the game went on, and we got the win we needed, so it was a pretty good day for myself.”
Keitz, however, won’t be renewing acquaintances with Crossfire on Monday. The Pumas captain is suspended after picking up a red card in Eugene.
The four-time PDL Northwest Division champions expect nothing but a difficult test in this match, despite the fact Crossfire have failed to beat the Pumas in the last 13 games (0-1-12).
“They’re always a tough challenge,” midfielder Trevor Jensen said.
Said MacDonald, “They’ve definitely improved this year. They have quality throughout their roster, and I expect them to do well in the division this year.
“Our experience with them is they’re always hard to play against.”
Washington Crossfire vs. Kitsap Pumas
Redmond High School, Redmond, Wash.
MAY 16, 2016 (WEEK 3, PDL GAME #235)
7:30 p.m. PT (Twitter, No Stream)
The renewal of this all-Washington matchup is much anticipated when Crossfire play host to the Kitsap Pumas on Monday evening at Redmond High School. The Pumas are undefeated in their last 16 divisional matches, returning home off of a 0-0 draw at Lane United on Friday. Crossfire won their first match of the season, 1-0 over Canadian outfit Calgary Foothills. Jeff Rose netted the game-winner in the first half.
- Matt Grosey kept a fourth consecutive clean sheet and extended his shutout streak to 401 minutes against Lane.
- Crossfire had their winless streak extended to five games with a fourth draw in that time.
- The sole draw between the sides was a 1-1 scoreline at Redmond High School in May 2013.
SUSPENDED: KIT: Cory Keitz (through May 21)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: None
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: None
DISABLED LIST: None
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: None
ALL-TIME (13 meetings): Pumas 12 wins, 28 goals — Crossfire 0 wins, 9 goals — Ties 1
AT CROSSFIRE (7 meetings): Pumas 5 wins, 14 goals — Crossfire 0 wins, 5 goals — Ties 1
LAST YEAR (PDL):
6/29: CR 1, KP 4 (Miller 3, 31; Ramos 24 – Hamer 46); 7/12: KP 2 (Atanasov 60; Keitz 77), CR 0
- This is the first of two league meeting between the teams this season.
- The teams have met three times in one PDL season once before (2013: KP 2, CR 0, Draw 1)