By Rob Shore
It might be that the players of Kitsap SC look back at that home game against Pierce County FC as the turning point of the season.
Rather, the last minute of that game on June 11 was the turning point.
Kitsap center back Tyler LaCourse headed in an equalizer deep in injury time to salvage a 2-2 draw, earning a point at home. Frustrating as a draw at home might have been, it kept Kitsap close to the top of a jumbled NPSL Northwest Division.
But coming off a stretch with two away wins in five days to temporarily take the division lead — Kitsap is still on maximum points away from Gordon Field — the team is in a position to reclaim the top spot Saturday night at Pierce County.
Kitsap SC will meet Pierce County FC on Saturday night at Highline High School in Burien, Kitsap’s final away match of the regular season. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
A win on Saturday night would also push Kitsap back to the division points lead with two matches remaining after this week.
“I think we’re in a good spot right now,” LaCourse said. “If we just take care of business in the next couple of games, we’ll come out first in the division and I think that’s where any team would want to be.”
Forward Jorge Ruiz, who netted the match-winner in a 1-0 victory at Spokane on June 17 agreed with his teammate.
“I think we definitely put ourselves in a good spot coming into this weekend’s game,” Ruiz said. “We put a lot of sweat and grit into it, so I definitely think we put ourselves into a good position.”
One of the reasons Kitsap is in this position is its perfect away record, winning all four of its away matches this season.
“I think it says a lot about our team and our character, not being phased by being away from home or anything like that,” LaCourse said. “Any time we take a trip, we’re like, ‘We made this trip, we might as well get something out of it.’
“We always go in with a lot of fight and a lot of resilience, and we always come out with the points.”
Goalkeeper Paul-Andre Guerin has posted clean sheets in the last two victories, the first of the season for Kitsap.
Meanwhile, Pierce County has recently turned the corner, going 1-0-2 in its last three games. That’s a huge improvement for a team that opened the season with four consecutive defeats.
But Ruiz can’t help but be pleased with Kitsap’s current form.
“I think the team is finding the right way to get results,” Ruiz said. “There’s times when things might not be going our way, or it might not be so pretty, but somehow the team is still managing to work together to get the result at the end of the day.”