By Rob Shore
With his Kitsap SSC squad coming off a last-minute draw against last-place Pierce County FC at home, coach Roy Lassiter chose to look at the bright side.
With his team two points off of the top of the NPSL Northwest Division, this just gives his squad room to keep going forward.
“It gives us room to keep shooting forward,” Lassiter said. “If we were in first place or we hadn’t got a loss, we might think we’re already there. But this is still more wakeup calls for us and we’re still working the kinks out, so we’ll just keep on pushing it.”
With Kitsap starting one of its toughest stretches of the schedule tonight in Spokane against Spokane SC Shadow, these is no time for complacency.
After tonight’s long road trip, Kitsap doesn’t have much time to rest, coming back Wednesday against OSA FC at Starfire Sports in Tukwila. Both games will start at 7 p.m.
It gets much of the team’s away schedule out of the way — but then, Kitsap has done its best work on the road, earning maximum points away from Bremerton’s Gordon Field, scoring comeback victories at FCM Portland and PDX FC, the top two teams in the division.
And these games will be no less important.
“It’s such a short season, almost every game is important,” midfielder Chuy Sanchez said “We’re halfway through, so it’s important we play well, but we need to pick up points along the way, preferably three points because (Spokane and OSA) are going to be two teams that are going to up toward the top half (of the division). so those are going to be two teams we want to get points from, but also take some away from.”
“We’ve seen these teams before,” left back Mike Scharf said. “We know what to expect now.”
If Kitsap can earn three points Saturday night against Spokane, it will take over the Northwest Division points lead. PDX FC currently leads the division with 10 points, followed by FCM Portland (nine) and Kitsap SC and OSA FC (eight). Spokane has six points.
Just as important, these two matches will set the tone of Kitsap’s drive toward the postseason. Earlier this season, Spokane drew with Kitsap 1-1 at Gordon Field on May 20 in the season opener, and OSA FC defeated Kitsap 2-1 on June 3, Kitsap’s only loss this season.
“I think we’re well prepared for these weeks,” Scharf said. “They’ll really bring us the points we need to push us into these playoff spots.”