By Rob Shore
BREMERTON, Wash. — As good as that comeback win in Portland felt, this was the opposite. The faces in the Kitsap SC locker room showed it.
It was the feeling of team that hadn’t lost before, and doing so at home made it all the worse.
Former Kitsap Puma Eli Gordley scored twice in the second half, and OSA FC rallied to Kitsap SC, 2-1, at Gordon Field on Saturday that left the home side a little shellshocked.
Sean Bowman scored for Kitsap in the eighth minute — his team-leading second goal of the season — but the home side couldn’t hang on.
But Kitsap struggled to contain Gordley’s headers in the second half, first on a corner in the 58th minute, then with the go-ahead goal on a long cross in the 86th.
“I knew us scoring early, I knew we were going to need to get another one as well,” Kitsap head coach Roy Lassiter said. “It would have given us a little more of a cushion as we went on, but we fought there at the end to make it happen and get out of there with a point, but that was just unfortunate.”
The loss kept Kitsap at four points, a disappointment after the win at FCM Portland the week before, even more so with the knowledge that three points at home would have pushed the team to the top of the Northwest Division.
Instead, it was cross-sound rival OSC FC that took the division lead with seven points.
“There’s a lot of things that didn’t go our way, and we never forced it to go our way,” midfielder Chuy Sanchez said. “I think it was a big shock, a big wakeup call for us. As individuals and as a team, there’s still a lot to get better on, still a lot to improve on, but every single game, we have to bring it. If we don’t, we can’t compete against these top teams.”
It doesn’t get any easier for Kitsap with a road trip coming up Thursday against PDX FC, which entered the weekend on top of the division and could retake the top spot on Sunday against Spokane.
The loss spoiled the debut of Kitsap keeper Paulo Guerin, who made seven saves, but was under pressure all night. Conversely, Kitsap only managed three shots on net in the loss.
The first shot on net came when Ryan Hill’s cross in the eighth minute found Bowman, who buried it into the net and almost immediately had Gordon Field buzzing.
OSA had chances to even the score before halftime, going close on a pair of chances early on. Gordley had a clear opportunity with Guerin off his line in the 16th minute, but his shot was blocked by Joe Harris, who cleared the ball away.
Then, Mori Tsuchiya banged the ball off the crossbar from 22 meters, a shot that an airborne Guerin couldn’t reach before the woodwork turned it away.
Gordley had another opportunity, skidding a shot along the turf in the 25th minute, but Guerin ably dove to his left to keep the ball out of the net.
But after that, the Kitsap defense did a good job keeping OSA out of threatening positions.
But that would change in the second half. And that was what cast a pall over the Kitsap locker room.
“They will be unhappy because they’re winners,” Lassiter said. “But they will get themselves together, we’ll get ourselves together as a staff and we’ll work on getting a better result for the next game.”