Pumas open PDL campaign with big win over Highlanders

Kitsap_Pumas_logo.svgBREMERTON, WA — (club release) The Kitsap Pumas started the 2016 PDL season on the right foot, with a 3-0 win over the Victoria Highlanders on Saturday at Gordon Field.

(Cover photo: Mike Ramos, Kitsap Pumas)

“We’re obviously delighted to get the three points as well as a clean sheet,” Pumas head coach Cameron MacDonald said. “It’s important to win your home games in this division.”

The Highlanders held strong defensively for the first half-hour, limiting Kitsap to long-range shots that were off target or comfortably handled by goalkeeper Brandon Watson. Mike Ramos provided the best early test, hitting a long effort that only found Watson’s hands.

After a settling period, though, the Pumas began to make forays into the attack to break down Victoria’s low defensive block. In the 33rd minute, forward Hamza Haddadi laid off a long pass in the penalty area for Jesús Sánchez, who aimed a shot toward goal.

Ibrahim Diaby got the final touch as Victoria defenders converged on the ball, taking into the back of the net for Kitsap’s first goal of the season. Ten minutes later, Diaby became the provider, finding Ramos on the right wing in the attacking third.

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Hamza Haddadi. (Kitsap Pumas photo)

However, it was Ramos’ execution on the effort that provided the highlight of the night. After going by a defender with a quick change of pace, he swung a dagger of a shot inside the far post from the right-hand corner of the penalty area.

Kitsap would not be content with the first-half double, scoring again in the 51st minute. Again it was Ramos, this time picking off a pass in the middle of the park and slaloming through defenders before coolly slotting a shot past Watson.

PDL Primary ShieldThe Highlanders pressed with more intensity as the clock wound down, trying to get back into the game. That left them susceptible to the counterattack, and Haddadi smacked a shot off the right post after Nick Hamer played a pinpoint ball over the top in one such situation in the 65th minute.

Victoria controlled much of the final 20 minutes. Chris Rushworth nearly dipped a 30-yard shot over Pumas goalkeeper Matt Grosey in the 71st, but he just couldn’t squeeze it under the crossbar.

Grosey made a spectacular save on a point-blank header from a Highlanders corner kick in the 88th minute to preserve the shutout. He reacted quickly and stuck an arm above his head to take the sting out of the effort before quickly gathering the rebound.

Victoria (0-1, 0 points) returns home to face Calgary Foothills FC on Sunday, May 15, while Kitsap (1-0, 3 points) travels to Lane United on Friday, May 13. The match in Oregon marks the start of a busy stretch for the Pumas, who will play four games in eight days between the league and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

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Jesus Sanchez. (Kitsap Pumas photo.)

— Match Report —
Match: Kitsap Pumas vs. Victoria Highlanders
Date: May 7, 2016
Competition: Premier Development League
Venue: Gordon Field — Bremerton, Wash.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. PT
Attendance: 723
Weather: 80 degrees, sunny

Scoring Summary:

KIT – Ibrahim Diaby (Jesús Sánchez), 33’
KIT — Mike Ramos (Ibrahim Diaby), 43’
KIT — Mike Ramos, 51’

Lineups:
Kitsap: 18.Matt Grosey — 2.Buba Findi, 23.Ian Lange, 4.Rene DeZorzi, 13.Kalem Scott — 5.Trevor Jensen, 10.Jesús Sánchez (14.Connor MacMillan, 89), 8.Ibrahim Diaby (15.Darius Madison, 79) — 6.Nick Hamer, 9.Hamza Haddadi (17.Alcides Thomas, 71), 25.Mike Ramos (11.Marcus Lees, 68)
Subs Not Used: 1.Arturo Oberto, 7.Mikhail Doholis, 24.Edgar Duran
Head coach: Cameron MacDonald

Victoria: 1.Brandon Watson — 14.Parm Johal, 6.Alex Redpath, 5.Dylan Kirk (3.Austin Schneibli, 78), 8.Adam Ravenhill (13.Hamish Walde, 82) — 12.Ryan Dhillon (4.Cam Stokes, 46), 20.Tarnvir Bhandal (24.Keevan Webb, 63), 11.Mitch Popadynetz (9.Chris Rushworth, 46), 2.Michael North — 23.Cam Hundal, 21.Blair Sturrock
Subs Not Used: 7.Sean Prizeman, 22.Simon Norgrove
Head coach: David Dew

Stats Summary: KIT / VIC
Shots: 8 / 7
Saves: 6 / 4
Corner Kicks: 4 / 1
Fouls: 14 / 12
Offside: 2 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
VIC — Cam Hundal (caution), 45’
VIC – Dylan Kirk (caution), 59’
VIC — Chris Rushworth (caution), 67’
KIT — Rene DeZorzi (caution), 90’

Officials:
Referee: Benjamin Moore
Assistant Referee 1: Rachel Cabacungan
Assistant Referee 2: Sean O’Neil
4th Official: Raul Sheran

The Kitsap Pumas enter their eighth season in the Premier Development League in 2016 after winning the Northwest Division for the fourth time in 2015. The Pumas won the PDL national championship in 2011 and advanced to the national final again in 2014, establishing themselves as a reputable professional club with a proven record of moving players onto the next level in the process. Kitsap plays its home matches at Gordon Field, an intimate 1,500-capacity stadium on the Kitsap County Fairgrounds in Bremerton, Wash.

— #AllezPumas —

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