The Kitsap Pumas led from start to finish on Friday night as they earned their first PASL-Pro victory over the Tacoma Stars 8:5 before 307 fans packed into Bremerton’s Olympic Soccer and Sports Center.
It has been said that a rivalry truly begins when both sides have inflicted damage on the other. After two straight 8:6 losses to the Stars the Pumas have clawed back.
The Pumas took the early lead on nifty goals by Matt Friesen (see video) and Kyle Johnson. Johnson’s goal was a bicycle flip shot in close quarters inside the Stars penalty box.
The match had rivalry moments, too. It was 4:1 Kitsap at halftime and fans were buzzing about how much the Stars might throw at Kitsap in an effort to create a third quarter comeback. Instead, the Stars were thrown for a loop by the officiating team, who missed a call that gave the Pumas their 6th goal.
I was sitting right in front of the play, and it was clear that the Kitsap shot did not go in, but rather edged off of the left corner and then scooted across the goal mouth where it hit the other goal edge and bounced away. I don’t think it even touched the line. The Stars agreed with my view, and Raphael Cox was given a red card and ejected right afterwards, perhaps for dissent and some activity by the Pumas bench. Tacoma head coach Greg Howes was given a yellow and then a blue card for dissent for protesting the awarding of the goal. The Stars had pulled to within 5:3 before the call.
In the final quarter Tacoma pulled their goalkeeper and Howes inserted himself into the nets as a roaming 6th attacker. The Stars used the switch to make the final score closer at 8:5.
In the end it was the Kitsap Pumas defense that won the match. The Pumas line held on several Stars powerplays and it was also a cat-like effort of pouncing on shots for Nate Salveson.
The two rivals will face off one more time on Saturday February 12th in Tacoma on Stars Fan Appreciation Night.
Tacoma Falls to 6-4 on the season while Kitsap rises to 6-2. The Stars host Revolucion Tijuana tonight at 7:30 PM at the Tacoma Soccer Center in what now becomes a must-win match for Tacoma’s playoff hopes.
Stars to Face San Diego Sockers in US Arena Open Cup Semis
The San Diego Sockers edged the Las Vegas Knights 10:9 last night to set up an exciting end to their upcoming visit to Tacoma. On February 4th and 5th the Stars will host the defending PASL-Pro champion Sockers and now the match on the 5th will double as a semifinal in the 2011 US Arena Soccer Open Cup. The winner will advance to the Final. San Diego are also the defending champions of that competition.