Seawolves lose first-half lead, salvage tie vs. Kitsap

North_Sound_SeaWolves_LogoThe North Sound Seawolves and Kitsap Pumas were the first teams to be eliminated from playoff contention when the two teams played to a 3-3 tie in Premier Development League action on Friday at Edmonds Stadium.

The Seawolves got off to a quick 2-0 lead with goals from Bradley Jacobsen and Zachary Hammond, both coming in the first half. However, after starting Seawolves goaltender Ryan Caballero got a red card in the 54th minute for saving a shot by Ben Truax outside the box and using his hands, the Pumas mounted a comeback. Neil Shaffer, Kasra Kiarash and Truax all scored later in the second half to give the Pumas a 3-2 lead. The Seawolves wouldn’t be denied though, and Daniel Gavin drew a PK that Brady Ballew scored on to make it 3-3 in the 77th minute.

The Pumas put on some pressure early in the game, earning two corner kicks in the first five minutes, but were unable to do anything with it. In the 9th minute, North Sound’s Jordan Aidoud took a shot from 50 yards out that just went over the net, and that signaled that the Seawolves were ready to take command of the game. In the 11th minute, Jacobsen had a shot from inside the box that was deflected to Devin Thomas, and he tried a shot that went wide. Four minutes later, Justice Deurksen hit a through ball past the Kitsap defense that Jacobsen caught up to. Jacobsen went one-on-one versus the Puma defender, beat him to the left side, and hit a low shot that went past Puma goaltender Dustyn Brim, giving the Seawolves a 1-0 lead.

The Seawolves notched a second goal in the 23rd minute. Zachary Hamer sent in a low cross to Hammond near the left side of the goal box. Hammond dribbled around a defender, found some space, and hit a low shot to the short side that beat Brim to make it 2-0, Seawolves. Kitsap tried to get within a goal in the 28th minute. Kiarash sent in a cross to Kyle Johnson in the box, and Johnson one-timed a shot wide of the net. The next minute, Sebastiaan Jansen got the ball at the top of the box and shot it straight at Caballero, keeping it 2-0. The first of five cards was handed out in the 34th minute. Hamer went for the ball with Nuno Gourgel, slipped, and clipped Gourgel in the face. In the 40th minute, Jansen got a through ball and dribbled down the sidelines and into the box. He was in a one-on-one situation with Matthew Eronemo and tried to blow past him, but Eronemo stuck with him and stole it away. Two minutes later, Jansen got a yellow card after elbowing Aidoud as Aidoud cleared the ball from the sidelines. The half ended with the Seawolves up 2-0.

The Pumas replaced Brim in the second half with Anthony Halterman. The Seawolves almost added to their lead in the 49th minute. Daniel Van Vleet hit a through ball over the Puma defense and into the box and Jacobsen hit a one-timer towards the net that was saved by Halterman. The turning point of the game came in the 54th minute. Truax was sent forward from midfield by a through ball and got past the defense. At the same time, Cabarello came out of the box to challenge, but didn’t expect Truax to try a shot. Truax hit the ball straight at Cabarello, and it hit him right in the arm. Cabarello was given a red card for illegally stopping a high-percentage scoring chance, and Dylan Faber came in to replace him. The free kick given was just outside the box, and Andrew Stirling attempted a shot that went straight into the wall and cleared away.

The Pumas looked a lot better with all the extra space to use on offense. They switched their strategy to timing runs past the Seawolves’ defense and sending through balls for them to catch. North Sound did a great job of clogging the midfield in the first half to prevent most through balls, but with only 10 players, they were unable to close in as well. The Pumas finally broke through in the 57th minute. Truax got the ball inside the box, near the side of it, and tried to cut back into the middle. Seawolves defender Alexander Eckerson stuck his foot out, and tripped Truax without touching the ball. A penalty kick was called for the Pumas, and Shaffer stepped up to take it in the 58th minute. Shaffer hit a low shot to the left side of the net while Faber dove to the right, and the Pumas made it 2-1.

The Pumas almost tied it up in the 59th minute. Truax again got a through ball, this time from Brandon Scott, and Truax deflected it on net. Faber saved it by hitting the ball out of bounds. The subsequent corner kick was taken short and easily cleared. Three minutes later, the Pumas did tie it up. The Pumas worked the ball deep inside the goal box, and Alejandro Chavez sent a cross to Truax. Truax chested the ball down, and passed it back to Kiarash. Kiarash slammed the ball into the back of the net to tie the game at 2.

The Seawolves came back the other way in the 64th minute. Jacobsen was going for a through ball when he was tripped up by Shaffer. Shaffer got a yellow card, and the Seawolves had a free kick 30 yards from the net. Jacobsen took it, and attempted a low shot, but the wall easily deflected it. That caught the Seawolves defense off-guard, since all the midfielders were up for the free kick, but the ball was being pushed back to the Seawolf end by the Pumas. The Pumas used all that space when Kyle Johnson sent a through ball to Truax. Truax beat his defender, and then beat the keeper on the breakaway to make it 3-2 Pumas just moments after the Seawolves had a chance to go up.

The game went back and forth for a few minutes after that. Both teams were getting quality chances to score, but neither side could. Kitsap continued to push the pace while North Sound tried to do the same, and it almost worked. In the 76th minute, the Seawolves tied it up. A throw-in into the box went to Daniel Gavin. Gavin dribbled forward and then was taken down by two defenders. The head ref gave the Seawolves a penalty kick, and Ballew was called on to take it. Ballew hit a replica of the Shaffer penalty shot and the outcome was the same; the Seawolves tied the game at 3 with 13 minutes to go.

In the 80th minute, the Seawolves earned a free kick 40 yards out. Eric Johansen sent in a ball that was headed by Jacobsen just wide of the net. Three minutes later, the Seawolves got a corner kick, but Johansen’s kick was cleared easily. Back the other way, Chavez pulled up with the ball and noticed Faber playing far out of the net. Chavez tried a shot from 40 yards out that floated over Faber and knocked off the crossbar. Somehow, the Seawolves cleared the ball to keep it 3-3. In the 88th minute, the Pumas were putting on a huge amount of pressure. They got the ball in the box, and Shane Malcome tried a low shot that got saved, but the ball was held in by the Pumas. Eventually, the ball came to Alexander Rodriques at the top of the box, and his shot was low and straight at Faber. Faber saved it easily.

Even more chances for both sides came in stoppage time. Ballew earned a free kick 35 yards out and near the sidelines, and he sent in a cross that was cleared. A minute or so later, Ballew got the ball near the goal box but still on the sidelines, and sent in a cross that went through the box and out the other side. Neither Jacobsen nor Gavin were able to get a head on it. The final yellow card was handed out when Gourgel, while trying to spring someone forward with a through ball, hit the ball off his arm and got called for it. His reaction to that was what got him the yellow. The last chance came on a corner kick by Shaffer. He sent in a cross that got headed away, and the game was called after that. The final score between the Seawolves and Pumas was 3-3.

With the tie, the Seawolves go to 1-7-2 on the year, and have a total of 5 points in the standings. They also are eliminated from postseason play. As for the Pumas, they too are out of playoff contention, and hold a record of 1-4-6 (9 points in the standings).

I’d like to give a shout-out to the Kitsap Puma support group “The Blue Guard” that showed up at the match.They chanted the whole game, gave out gameday pins, and got the small crowd into the game with their drumming and chants. They are exactly the kind of people that the Premier Development League needs more of.

– By Quint Turner

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