Sounders FC fends off pesky Kitsap Pumas in U.S. Open Cup action, 2-1
The colossal mismatch on paper meant nothing on the field. Despite being the heavy favorite against the Kitsap Pumas, a lower-division team...
Seattle Times staff reporter
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TUKWILA — The colossal mismatch on paper meant nothing on the field.
Despite being the heavy favorite against the Kitsap Pumas, a lower-division team from Bremerton, Sounders FC got off to a dreadfully slow start in Tuesday's U.S. Open Cup third-round game at Starfire Stadium. And even with two goals from forward Mike Fucito, Seattle had to hang on against a scrappy underdog, eventually advancing with a surprisingly hard-fought 2-1 win in front of 3,811 fans.
"We're happy with the win," said Fucito. "Could we have done stuff better? Yeah."
Seattle will host the Los Angeles Galaxy in a quarterfinal at 7 p.m. July 12 or 13.
Trailing 2-0 in the second half, Kitsap got on the board in the 71st minute when co-captain Nikolas Besagno — a former No. 1 MLS draft pick from Maple Valley — hammered in a cross in front of the goal by forward Robert Christner to make it 2-1.
The Pumas came inches from a late equalizer when forward Warlen Silva, a second-half substitute, fired a shot on an 83rd-minute breakaway into the side netting.
"I'm proud of our guys," said Kitsap coach Peter Fewing, who is also a TV analyst for Sounders FC. "We created chances in the first half, which I was pleased about. I thought the guys did well."
Seattle, which fielded a lineup of mostly reserves, had taken a 1-0 lead in the 39th minute when forward Nate Jaqua directed a contested header to Fucito, who hammered in a 15-yard shot with his left foot.
Fucito doubled the lead in the 62nd minute after collecting a pass from midfielder Mike Seamon, avoiding Pumas goalkeeper Bryan Meredith and firing a right-footed shot past a handful of defenders into the net.
Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid joked that Fucito always seems to excel when wearing the team's Electricity yellow uniforms.
Fucito also noticed the connection, but hopes the confidence boost will carry over to MLS games.
"I knew once I got one, hopefully the rest would start coming," said Fucito, who is scoreless in nine league games.
Cheered on by a noisy contingent, Kitsap had several good chances to score, including near-misses by defender Mark Lee, Christner and Besagno.
Those chances "could have made the game drastically different had they capitalized on them," said Seattle goalkeeper Terry Boss.
The Pumas, 8-0-1 this season in the Premier Development League, had never advanced past the second round of the Open Cup. Schmid commended the visitors, especially Meredith, a Sounders FC draft pick this season who didn't make the roster.
"Hats off to them," Schmid said. "Pete should be very proud of the effort that they put in today."
• Sounders FC next plays at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Galaxy. Seattle is on a three-game league winning streak and has won five straight in all competitions.
• MLS teams came into the round 13-2-2 against PDL teams in the Open Cup.
• Seattle is 10-0-1 in Open Cup games since joining MLS, with the tie coming last year in Portland (the Sounders advanced via penalty-kick shootout).
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or email@example.com
Sounders FC 2, Kitsap Pumas 1
|Kitsap||0 1 — 1|
|Seattle||1 1 — 2|
Seattle — Terry Boss, Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez, Taylor Graham, Michael Tetteh, David Estrada (Pat Noonan 54), Osvaldo Alonso, Mike Seamon (Servando Carrasco 85), Miguel Montano, Mike Fucito (Jeff Parke 68), Nate Jaqua. Substitutes Not Used: Roger Levesque, Lamar Neagle, Tyson Wahl, Josh Ford.
Kitsap — Bryan Meredith, Stephen Mohn, Taylor Hyde, Dan Scott, Mark Lee, Matt Friesen (David Gray 84), Nikolas Besagno, Elliott Fauske, Cameron Hepple (Tye Perdido 83), Robert Christner, Bryan Burke (Warlen Silva 69). Substitutes Not Used: Zac Lubin, Samuel Roca, Chris Andre, Kendell McFayden.
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