The Sounders U-23 (2-1-1, 7 pts.) were defeated by the first place Kitsap Pumas (5-0-0, 15 pts.) 1-0 Friday night in Sumner, Wash. in a clash of northwest division unbeatens. After playing to a scoreless first half, the Pumas found the game’s only goal off of a corner kick, and then hung on after suffering a red card late in the second half.
The teams played a first half of quality soccer on both sides, though neither side could find the net. The best chance in the first half for the Sounders U-23 came in the 28th minute. Outside midfielder, Luis Estevez, was free at the Pumas back post. Brandt Bronico whipped the ball across the box as Estevez ran on to meet it. Estevez got off a clean header, but Pumas keeper, Matt Grossy, was up to the task as he dove to his right and sent the ball out for a corner kick to keep the match tied at 0-0.
The Pumas broke the stalemate in the 54th minute of the second half. Having earned a corner kick from the Sounders U-23 defense, Pumas forward, Joe Masumiya, sent an out-swinging cross across the face of the goal. Mike Chamberlain, who had just substituted into the game, was first to the ball and sent his header straight into the back of the net, giving the Pumas a 1-0 lead.
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As the Sounders U-23 battled for an equalizer, Pumas forward, Mike Ramos, did his best to help their efforts as he got himself red carded out of the match in the 78th minute. The match had gone from physical to contentious and Ramos let his temper get the best of him as he cut down a Sounders attacker and was sent off.
Despite the extra man and several nail-biting chances to score, the Sounders U-23 could not produce an equalizer in the closing moments of the game. In the 97th minute, the referee blew the final whistle and the Pumas had escaped with a 1-0 win.
The Sounders U-23 now hit the road for their next three matches in a row. They will take on the Washington Crossfire, Lane United, and the Portland Timbers U-23 before turning around to host the Timbers at Tumwater District Stadium on June 26th. For more information about all of the upcoming games, visit SoundersU23.com