By Rob Shore
BREMERTON, Wash. — After the Kitsap Pumas’ 2-1 thriller over OSA FC on Saturday, Pumas head coach Liviu Bird allow his mind to drift back to last season’s visit to Starfire, a victory that propelled the team toward a second-half push that won the division title.
Could Saturday’s victory do something similar for this season’s Kitsap team?
“I had that thought in the back of my mind when i was in the locker room before the game, actually,” Bird said. “Last year, that win propelled us forward, for sure. You’d like to think that this could have a similar effect, although it does come earlier in the season. That’s what we’ll be hoping for, is we can take this and keep going forward.”
That push will continue Wednesday night as the Pumas (2-1-2, 8 points) host PDX FC, the fourth of five games in a 15-day stretch. Kickoff for the contest at Gordon Field will be at 7 p.m.
And Kitsap could use a push, with the top of the NPSL’s Northwest Conference Division tightly packed. Spokane SC Shadow (2-0-3, 9 points) and FC Mulhouse Portland (2-1-3, 9 points) are both ahead of the Pumas on points.
A victory over winless PDX FC (0-2-2, 2 points) would change the complexion of the division race somewhat. That would follow with a visit to division leader Spokane on Saturday.
The Pumas also will be looking for their first home win on Wednesday, going 0-1-2 so far at Gordon Field.
“We haven’t won at home this season,” Bird acknowledged. “We need to take care of that as well.”
PDX FC won 2-1 in its last visit to Gordon Field, the 2017 regular-season finale, a game lost on Jake Young’s late header.
But the Pumas already have a victory over PDX FC this season, a 2-0 triumph in the season opener, with goals from Jacob Arrieta and Uriel Herrera providing the difference.
Defender Matt Eronemo said the win on Saturday night over OSA could provide a boost to the club.
“It think it just keeps pushing us forward,” he said. “I think we’re a pretty good group and we’re figuring some things out and we haven’t got the results that maybe we thought we deserved.”