After 89 minutes of wild but scoreless soccer, Kitsap’s Javier Castro Gonzalez finally swept in a ball in front of the Sounders U-23 goal, punching the Pumas’ pass to the third round of the U.S. Open Cup.
The result eliminated the Pierce County-based visitors.
“We probably could have ended the game about three minutes earlier, but we hit the post,” U-23 coach Darren Sawatzky said. “… Credit to the Pumas. They came out and worked really hard and were organized. It doesn’t always bounce your way.”
That was the story of the game, which featured lots of chances leading up the lone, decisive goal.
Kitsap dominated possession in the first half, but managed only a couple of dangerous moments.
U-23 managed a couple of solid chances too, mostly on counters. In the 12th minute, David Olsen took a pass behind the Pumas defense, but fired over the bar.
The Sounders began controlling the ball better in the second half. That was almost rewarded in the 57th minute when Ambassa Collyns rose above traffic in front of the Kitsap goal, but sent his header onto the top of the net. In the 87th minute, Olsen banged one off the bar — the one Sawatzky lamented later.
Kitsap moves on to a third-round match June 1 at the Sacramento Republic, which advanced Wednesday with a 5-0 result over CD Aguiluchos USA.
Major League Soccer teams, including Seattle Sounders FC, join the competition next month in the fourth round.
U-23 will begin its PDL regular season at 2 p.m. Sunday against Crossfire PDL at Sunset Stadium in Sumner.
“Considering some of our guys got here (Tuesday) and all that stuff, yeah, we got work to do,” Sawatzky said. “A lot of the guys are getting to know each other, so it’s good.”