Pierce County-based Sounders U-23 worked extra time to advance in the U.S. Open Cup last week, but they’ve been off since.
It’s been a different story for their second-round opponent, the Kitsap Pumas. They received a first-round bye and will join the Open Cup in its second round, but they have been the far busier club.
The Pumas opened their Premier Development League season May 7 against Victoria. Kitsap won on the pitch, 3-0, but the league later declared it a forfeit, ruling the Pumas had used an illegal player. The club traveled Friday to Oregon where they played to a scoreless draw with Lane United, then made a Monday visit to Redmond where they lost to Washington Crossfire, 2-1. That left a quick turnaround for Sounders U-23 and the Open Cup match 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Silverdale Stadium on the Olympic High School campus in Bremerton.
The game was shifted from the Pumas usual Gordon Field home because it does not meet Open Cup regulations.
“Someday we’d like to get Gordon up to the standard that we can host any match in any competition since it’s become such a fortress for us as a home field,” Pumas coach Cameron MacDonald said in a club release. “Still, we don’t see much of a difference playing at Silverdale Stadium. It’s close by, and we expect the same kind of home atmosphere.”
The Pumas received their first-round bye after Rio Grande Valley withdrew from the Open Cup.
Sounders U-23 advanced with a 3-1 win over Outbreak SC of Southern California last Wednesday. The teams were even at the end of regulation. However, U-23 scored two goals late in the 30 minutes of extra time.
U-23 will begin its PDL regular season at 2 p.m. Sunday against Crossfire PDL at 2 p.m. Sunday at Sunset Stadium in Sumner. That PDL schedule includes three additional meetings with the Pumas, the first coming May 28 at Gordon Field.
“We look forward to playing Kitsap … in the first of many games against our divisional opponent,” coach Darren Sawatzky said on the U-23 website.
The winner of this Open Cup meeting will move on to the third round, facing the winner of Sacramento Republic-CD Aguiluchos USA. If Sacramento advances, it would host. If CDA advances, the Kitsap-Sounders winner would host.
Major League Soccer teams, including Seattle Sounders FC, join the competition next month in the fourth round.