By Rob Shore
PORTLAND, Ore. — Jacob Arrieta scored a wonder goal 30 yards out from the right touchline and Cody Lang held a second-half barrage at bay as the Kitsap Pumas defeated PDX FC 2-0 at Hilken Community Stadium in the National Premier Soccer League opener for both sides.
Uriel Herrera added an insurance goal in the 82nd minute as the Pumas daw out the contest.
Kitsap head coach Liviu Bird was pleased with the result, but acknowledged there is much work still to do.
“There is plenty to improve on, plenty to move forward,” he said. “It’s a good base, a good first game, but obviously, it’s the first game. We can’t get caught up in the result. We have to make sure we keep pushing. We worked hard today, and the guys got the result they earned on the field. It was a good way to start.”
Midfielder Brian Charles acknowledged the contest was a big step after a 5-0 loss to the PDL’s Timbers U23s in the first-round loss in the U.S. Open Cup on Sunday.
“It’s very good,” Charles said. “It gives us a fresh start, a positive outlook after what happened last week. At the same time, there’s a lot to build off of. But the thing is, we played good enoug to create opportunities, and the ball’s going to go in the goal eventually.
“Not every game is going to be perfect, this wasn’t.”
Arrieta hit a cross in the 20th minute that sailed over the outstretched hand of PDX FC keeper Markus Dickerson into the net as Kitsap took the early advantage.
“It started off as a cross, but the keeper was off his line,” Arrieta said. “I just drove it to that back post area and it slipped up and kind of went in. So I was kind of like, all right, I’ll take it.”
That slipped immediately started playing dividends, with the Pumas starting to press up the field more.
“It just helps one team kind of get a little bit of confidence to get on the ball and then kind of drops the other team’s confidence,” Arrieta said. “When a mistake like that happens, you don’t want to see that happen. Your morale’s going to drop a little bit, so we took advantage of the morale drop and stayed on it the rest of the half and obviously to finish off the game, too.”
Lang made four saves in the second half, snuffing out a breakaway to keep PDX FC at bay as Kitsap searched for a second goal.
“He made one or two breakaway saves, one was huge,” Charles said. “One would have kept them from tying the game. The first half, he didn’t have a whole lot to do, but the second half, we was back there when we needed him.”
Arrieta said the victory was a huge statement in the team’s first contest.
“It was huge,” he said. “Coming on the road, it’s huge. Everyone wants to start out the opener with three points, so it’s something we talked about at practice. We had a shutout on the road, had a goal on the road, had three points. So it’s a good start.”