Kitsap Pumas' U.S. Open Cup run ended with a 2-1 loss to Seattle

Nik Besagno (on ground) reacts after his close miss in the Kitsap Pumas
Nik Besagno (on ground) reacts after his close miss in the Kitsap Pumas' 2-1 loss to the Seattle Sounders in a third round U.S. Open Cup match Tuesday at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila.
— image credit: John Becerra Jr./Staff Photo

TUKWILA – While many people thought the Seattle Sounders would run roughshod over the Kitsap Pumas, the USL PDL side – who calls Bremerton home and trains at Battle Point Park on Bainbridge Island – made a good showing in a hard fought 2-1 loss in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila.

Seattle, the two-time defending champions, will host the L.A. Galaxy July 12 or 13 at Starfire.

While the Sounders had some good chances early in the first half, Kitsap found some rhythm and nearly put themselves up in the 12th minute when Nik Besagno found himself in front of goal after a pass got past the Sounders back line, but his toe poke was inches wide of the right post.

Both sides settled down, but the Sounders kept pushing things forward and eventually broke through in the 39th minute when Nate Jaqua dropped a header in front of Mike Fucito just outside the penalty box.

Fucito then sent a volley to the far post where Kitsap goalkeeper Bryan Meredith could not get to it.

Bryan Burke nearly equalized just before the half but he put his shot wide of the post.

Kitsap picked up the play in the second half and had a great shot at the equalizer in the 52nd minute when Robbie Christner put a fantastic cross just inches from the back line to Mark Lee, but his shot hit the side netting.

Seattle appeared to put the game away in the 62nd minute when Fucito got a superb through ball from Mike Seamon. He then proceeded to draw out Meredith and buried the ball past a scrambling Pumas back line.

But Meredith responded by making some huge saves on point blank shots a few minutes later.

The Pumas finally got on the board in the 71st minute. Elliot Fauske corralled a loose ball off a corner kick and made a good pass to Christner, who sent in a cross to Besagno who was right in the goal box to beat Sounders goalkeeper Terry Boss.

But that was that for the Pumas. They had a great chance in the 83rd minute when Besagno fed substitute Warlen Silva for a breakway shot but it hit the side netting.

Though their cup run is ended, Executive Director Ben Pecora – a Bainbridge Island resident – said he was happy to see the club make it this far.

“(It's) another positive step for the Pumas franchise,” he said. “The guys fought their guts out and the opportunity for a historic upset was there for the taking.”

The Pumas (8-0-1 in league play) host the North Sound Seawolves at 7 p.m. Wednesday night at Bremerton Memorial Stadium.


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