Kitsap Pumas drop 4-1 match to Victoria Highlanders

Javier Castro scores third goal in two games despite loss

Kitsap Pumas drop 4-1 match to Victoria Highlanders

VICTORIA, B.C. — The Kitsap Pumas started off their match against the Victoria Highlanders on Sunday in a positive fashion, as forward Javier Castro scored in the sixth minute. The longer the game wore on, though, the team’s recent heavy travel and game schedule took its toll, and the Pumas lost 4-1.

In the third minute, midfielder Ibrahim Diaby streaked through on goal on a counterattack and had his shot stopped by Victoria goalkeeper Brandon Watson. Three minutes later, Matt Eronemo played a ball over the top to Castro, which resulted in the first goal of the game and his third in the last two games.

Castro scored twice in the Pumas’ 3-1 win in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in midweek, when they defeated the Sacramento Republic 3-1 on the road. Sunday’s match finished off a span of six Kitsap games in four weeks spanning Washington, Oregon, California and British Columbia.

The Highlanders responded quickly to the opener, scoring through a Chris Rushworth shot to the far post in the ninth minute. The Pumas had to make an unexpected substitution, taking captain Cory Keitz off for an injury.

In the 23rd minute, Victoria took a lead that it would not relinquish when Cam Hundal put away a team effort down the right side. At halftime, Pumas goalkeeper Matt Grosey also had to come off due to injury, leaving Kitsap down two of its most reliable players on a scorching day.

The final two goals came in the last 10 minutes, sealing the result. Substitute midfielder Ryan Dhillon scored both, in the 83rd and 84th minutes.

The Pumas missed a penalty in stoppage time to cap the match. The team hits the road again on Friday, taking on the Portland Timbers in Salem, Oregon, before facing the Seattle Sounders in the Fourth Round of the U.S. Open Cup on June 15.

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