2011 Jun 28

Kitsap Pumas fall just short of an upset as Fucito brace gives Sounder a US Open Cup win

Seattle Sounders FC  2 - 1  Kitsap Pumas
Starfire Stadium, Tukwila, WA

39' SEA: Mike Fucito (Nate Jaqua)
62' SEA: Mike Fucito (Mike Seamon)

71' KIT: Nik Besagno (Robert Christner)

Seattle: Terry Boss; Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez, Taylor Graham, Michael Tetteh; David Estrada (Pat Noonan 54'), Osvaldo Alonso, Mike Seamon (Servando Carrasco 85'), Miguel Montaņo, Mike Fucito (Jeff Parke 68'), Nate Jaqua.
Substitutes not used: Josh Ford, Tyson Wahl, Lamar Neagle, Roger Levesque.

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.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

Seattle Sounders FC began their defense of the US Open Cup in the third round with a 2-1 win over their neighbors, the PDL Kitsap Pumas. Mike Fucito worked hard to earn two goals and was clearly man of the match. Nik Besagno got the Pumas back within one with a nice goal and gave substitute Warlen Silva a great chance at a tying goal late in the match.

Brothers Zach (Sounders) and Dan (Pumas) Scott wore captain's armbands for their sides. Their mother, Linda, was spotted in the crowd with pins holding together opposing jerseys, Pumas on her back and Sounders on her front. Zach earned the first yellow card of the match when he head-butted his brother to the ground during the coin flip ... just kidding!

The match was well and fairly played, with just three fouls called against the Sounders and just eight against the Pumas. Seattle outshot Kitsap 25-7, but it would have been a fair result if Silva had sent the match into extra time by converting that late shot. ECS were in fine voice and energized the players from both sides.

The Sounders wore all electricity yellow, while Kitsap had blue shorts and blue/white hoops up top.

Seattle threatened early when Zach Scott's cross into the penalty area caused trouble, but neither Miguel Montaņo nor Fucito could create a shot. An early corner kick by Fucito also could not quite earn a shot, and the same result came from Fucito's free kick off the first foul called at 8'. Kitsap were clearly coached to absorb the early pressure and did so admirably.

At 11' the second of a pair of Pumas corner kicks was cleared and sent back in and Besagno shot inches wide from 6 yards with goalkeeper Terry Boss charging. Kitsap had another chance when Michael Tetteh lost the ball and ran a long ways to foul just outside the top corner of the penalty area. Cameron Hepple sent the free kick a yard over the top far corner, prompting ECS into a "you couldn't score on Aurora" chant -- local humor. At 16' Kitsap kept up the pressure when Matt Friesen was served close to goal for a shot, and it was well blocked by a defender to concede a corner, which was also well defended.

Starting at 25', Seattle pressured Kitsap's goal relentlessly. The Sounders' first good shot came when Tetteh spotted David Estrada open for a long cross over the crowd. Estrada earned a shot, but missed the target. Tetteh tried a long shot and it was blocked. Zach Scott tried a long shot and it missed wide. Mike Seamon sent the ball to Tetteh out wide for a shot from a steep angle and he missed. Estrada served Seamon 20 yards from goal and he fired 2 yards over the bar. Osvaldo Alonso served a nice cross to the far post, but Nate Jaqua was not ready to leap for the header. Tetteh had a cross rejected, so he fired a shot and missed the goal.

39' SEA: Fucito (Jaqua). On a Seattle attack, a high cross was sent forward by Leo Gonzalez to the 18-yard line, where Jaqua headed it down and sideways for Fucito's sliding shot that beat Bryan Meredith and found the lower far corner. 1-0 Seattle.

A minute later Seattle kept up the pressure when Montaņo's hard shot was deflected wide by Meredith for the first save of the match. The resulting corner kick was headed over the bar by Zach Scott, who held his head knowing that he could have put it on goal.

The last chance of the half was Kitsap's, as Bryan Burke was served open in the arc but shot a yard wide.

Seattle earned the first shot of the second half when Estrada's cross/shot settled on the roof.

The match's Boss moment of horror came when he dove out for Robert Christner's cross through the goal area and missed it, leaving the net open for Mark Lee, but Lee could not reach enough of the ball to direct it on goal and the shot hit the wrong side of the net.

At 54' Pat Noonan replaced Estrada and a minute later served a nice cross to Jaqua, but he could not aim the header down. Zach Scott held his head a second time when he was open for a cross and headed it over from 6 yards.

62' SEA: Fucito (Seamon). Mike Seamon saw Fucito open above the penalty area and sent him a long pass. Fucito beat one defender, then another, then kept working it until he was able to beat Meredith and fire in a shot from 15 yards that also beat two defenders covering the goal line. 2-0 Seattle.

Seattle kept up the pressure when Noonan sent Jaqua free up the middle for a hard shot that was blocked by Meredith, then Zach Scott served in a cross for a sharp header by Jaqua at the spot and Meredith dove to catch it. Montaņo worked the ball into the penalty area nicely, but was off balance when he shot and missed wide.

71' KIT: Besagno (Christner). Christner got around Zach Scott on the left for a hard cross from the end line. Besagno slid in at the near post to knock it up into the ceiling for a fine goal. 2-1 Seattle.

The Sounders were soon back on the attack. Alonso's nice run ended with a serve to Tetteh for a shot from the left, but he sent it just wide of the top far corner. Montaņo tried up the middle from 25 yards and forced a save. Then he was served in close for a shot that was deflected, and Jaqua skied the shot from the rebound.

At 83' Kitsap suddenly had a golden chance to level the match when Besagno broke free in the middle and served a nice pass to the left for Silva, who ran past Taylor Graham and had only the charging Boss to beat. A goal seemed likely, but Silva shot just wide of the near post into the side netting.

Alonso had the last good shot of the match, working in close for a shot that was well blocked by Meredith. Then Seattle were content to kill time, much of it done by Jaqua in the forward corner.

The Sounders advance to the quarterfinals to face the Los Angeles Galaxy, who came from behind in a 2-1 win over the LA Blues. The quarterfinal will be played at Starfire Stadium on July 12.

          SEA  KIT
Shots:     25    7
Saves:      0    8
Corners:    9    3
Fouls:      3    8
Offsides:   2    4

43' KIT: Hyde cautioned for a late challenge on Fucito
80' KIT: Dan Scott cautioned for a tactical foul on Montaņo

Referees: Tyler Ploeger; Mike Rottersman, Jeff Hosking; William Niccolls

Attendance: 3,811

Postmatch Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Head Coach

On the match and the impressive play of the Kitsap Pumas: "That's what the Open Cup is all about. That's what's given it the tradition that it has in England, whether you're a Scunthorpe United and you play a Man. United, you're able to put in a good battle. Obviously they came in motivated and so forth. Probably right at the point where we took the 2-0 lead and the game will tip, then they end up scoring a goal, we give them a shot of adrenaline and it keeps their energy going. I used to have this all the time when I coached UCLA, a Division I school and we'd play a Division II school and for that one game they would muster a great effort. Hats off to them, and obviously Pete should be very proud of the effort that they put in today."

On finding a way to win tonight: "Yeah, we did that and we got a couple of good goals from Mike Fucito. I think the guys in the room will tell you it's not their best game. In games like this you're looking to see who steps up and who shouts out their name to you as a coach that, hey, he's the guy you've got to use the next time around. That's something you look for all the time. Noonan came in. I thought he had an impact. His passing helped open things up for us and allowed us to get that second goal. So we keep working and we get ready for L.A. on Monday."

On the closeness of the game tonight: "I think they came in with a great deal of effort. When you look around at the scores -- I think Dallas won in the 95th minute on a goal, I think Columbus lost, I don't know where L.A. is at, I heard it was 1-1. All these games are like that. It's just the way it is. Do you say, 'Well, maybe you're not sharp?' or 'Are they extra sharp?' I think it's a little bit of a combination of both. But I don't want to take anything away from the Kitsap Pumas' effort. I thought they put in a great effort. They had a good game plan. They stayed compact in the back and keep one high. That guy posed some problems for us early on. Burke, he made some runs, got in behind Taylor at times, and made it difficult for us to play definitely by holding nine guys back. So it was a good game plan, a good effort."

On Kitsap goalkeeper Bryan Meredith, a second-round draft pick by Seattle this year: "I thought Bryan was solid. I thought he came up with some big saves right at the point when the game is 2-0. He allowed them to stay in the game because he came up with a couple of big saves. I think one was against Fucito, one against Montaņo, one against Jaqua. So he came up with some big saves, for sure."

On Osvaldo Alonso in the lineup tonight: "Well, Ozzie didn't play (against New England on Sunday), so we were thinking about only playing him 45 minutes tonight. But it wasn't a real taxing game. For a guy like Ozzie, who is really fit, I just said to him, 'Just sit in midfield. Don't go running around like crazy. Just sit in there and keep us organized. Keep the ball flowing from one side to the other.' And I thought Ozzie did that for us. So yeah, he expended energy, but probably didn't expend as much energy as he does in a normal MLS game."

On if tonight's effort by Fucito can push him over the edge in MLS games: "Well, I think any time we play in the electricity kits we should look about playing him because it seems like in Champions League whenever we wore the yellow, he seemed to score goals. And I told him that tonight before the game, I said, 'When we're in the electricity you seem to score goals.' And he got two goals tonight."

Terry Boss

On what he thought of the game: "I thought we missed a lot of chances. Bryan Meredith played really well. I was happy to see him make some big saves and keep his team in the game. He's a guy I care about a lot. We spend a lot of time together in preseason so it's always nice to see one of your kind doing well, you know? Obviously, it would have been nice to have put the game out of hand earlier and not let them back in the game and make a game out of the last 30 minutes or so. We need to do a better job of finishing our chances and not fall asleep on the other end, I think. We gave them a fair amount of chances that were pretty dangerous and could have made the game drastically different had they capitalized on them."

On the U.S. Open Cup tournament is the type where any team can make a game out of any match: "Pete is a great coach and he had them extremely motivated, I'm sure. And this tournament is great. It's a tournament you love playing in because you can win and they definitely had some momentum in there. At the end of the day, we just knew we had to win and playing on a smaller field like that makes for an action-packed game when a team wants to get the ball forward and run off of their big man. So it was definitely nice to get the win."

On conflicting emotions with Meredith playing well, but Seattle not quite playing as well as it could have: "I'm proud of him and he's a good kid. I'm happy to see him do well but I want to win more than anything. At the end of the day, that only goes so far. You can be proud of him but yeah obviously I want to win. End of story."

Mike Fucito

Schmid said you always standout in electricity yellow. Is it the uniform?: "I have had a lot of success wearing this, so good thing we're wearing it the next couple games."

What's a night like this mean to you?: "I always like coming out and playing in this atmosphere. It's so cool. They're a pretty good team. We knew they were going to come out with a lot of energy. I thought it was a pretty good game. Good for other guys to get some time and show well. It was nice to finally score some goals."

Can this get you rolling?: "Uh-huh. Yeah, absolutely. These are not easy games. Getting those two goals gives me a little bit of confidence going forward. I knew once I got one hopefully the rest would start coming. Hopefully now it translates to MLS games."

Did you expect such a close game?: "Absolutely. Pete Fewing has those guys prepared. Just the atmosphere. It plays well for the other team too because they get pumped up and they had some fans. The field plays a little bit smaller so they were able to pack it in a little bit. I thought in the second half we did a better job of opening them up and using the wide spaces."

Are you happy with how you played as a team?: "I think we can always improve. We should keep a clean sheet, so we're probably not happy about that. I thought for the most part we finished chances. We could've had a couple more at the end there. It could've been 4-1, 5-1. We're happy with the win. Could we have done stuff better? Yeah."

First goal set things right against defensive-minded opponent?: "The objective was to come out and try to score early because the longer we didn't score the more they thought they were going to be in the game. It was important for us. I'm glad we got it before the half. It would've been nice for it to have been a little bit earlier but it was good to get that first goal for sure."

What happened on the first goal?: "Great ball. I think it was from Tetteh or Leo. Nate challenged well and it was just reading him. He headed it back across right there for me. I was able to put it away."

And on the second?: "That's Mike Seamon. When he gets the ball he always looks for me. I peeled out and he played it right in my path and I was able to finish it. It was a lot of traffic and it just snuck in there, but I'll take it."

After scoring with the left foot and the right foot, were you looking for the perfect hat trick...?: "Looking for the third one for a header, but maybe next time."

Did playing with a different lineup need adjusting?: "Yes and no. I played a lot of matches last year with most of those guys in the Champions League and stuff. We know each other's tendencies pretty well. I thought we did alright meshing."

What did you think about playing with Jaqua?: "He won a lot of headers today, and flick-ons. I just try to put myself in the right position when he does win it. I think there were a few that came back across that we were close to getting on the end of. That was successful. In the second half I think we did a better job combining too. It was good."

Was there an advantage against Meredith since the team knows him?: "For him specifically, no. It's low and in the corner. This field is wet so keeping it on the ground. The ball moves pretty quickly, so keeping it on frame and in the corner."

What did you think of the ECS chant directed at you?: "I like that tune. Hopefully they're singing that more."

Kitsap Pumas

Pete Fewing - Head Coach

Overall thoughts on the game: "I'm proud of our guys. We created chances in the first half, which I was pleased about. I thought the guys did well. Mike Fucito scores two great goals, and they got two and we got one. But I'm pleased that we tried to play. That's the big thing, adjusting to the pace of the game. We're not sure what the pace of MLS is when we've been in the PDL, and I thought the guys did a good job. The goal was to weather the first 15 minutes, and when we were at 30 and we were still 0-0, I was pleased about it. But I was also pleased that our players showed they know how to play soccer -- trying to pass, trying to get through, trying to take people on -- they showed a lot of composure tonight. I'm proud of them."

On missed chances: "When I get in that locker room I think they're going to be disappointed that we didn't do better with our chances that we missed, honestly. You saw them, hit the side netting, it's 2-1. Warlen, he's good, I've seem him score that goal a lot in practice, so I think we're going to be disappointed that we didn't put a couple of chances away. But you've got to give the Sounders credit, they took care of business. Mike Fucito's a handful and I'm not happy with him as a friend."

What did you think of the fan support?: "That was great. I was really honored to be on the Pumas staff, to see everybody come over. A lot of people came over, the office has been packed this week, so it's nice to see our club get that kind of support form the Kitsap Peninsula. Everybody in the organization should be proud, the players, owner Robin Waite, everybody should be proud of the effort tonight."

What did you think of Bryan Meredith?: "He saved our bacon didn't he? Meredith made about three or four point-blank saves in the second half. Bryan was good. And that's a big challenge for him tonight. He knows all these guys; those are his players. He trains with the Sounders twice a week, three times a week. So they're giving him grief and I said to him before the game, 'For you today, this is a big game.' And I thought he did extremely well to stay composed, because honestly, in the last game he got a little nervous, and that's because the Sounders were there. He did well tonight."

Did your knowledge of the team help at all?: "Yeah, a little bit, knowing some of the tendencies of some of the guys. We get (the lineup) an hour before, so it's not like were able to (prepare in advance). They've got such depth that we weren't able to get specific about positions until just before the game. But it does help. Taylor's really tall, we were aware of that. On corner kicks, we know how dangerous they are on restarts, obviously we've all seen eight goals in eight games, so we were able to match up that. That did help quite a bit."

Does it help that Meredith and others know the Sounders players?: "Yeah, Bryan, and Nik Besagno also having been in Major League Soccer for three years -- not getting enough time on the field -- he had kind of a confidence about him that spread throughout the team. Tye Perdido, same thing. They kind of quietly said to each other, 'We can play against these guys,' so it was very helpful. And again, Meredith was huge. You could tell that we got a little bit stronger when Meredith made his saves in the second half. It rallied the team."

Were you proud that the moment wasn't too big for them?: "Yeah I was ... I was proud of them. They didn't seem fazed by it. We had dinner last night as a team, and you could tell in the room they were pretty confident."

More on Meredith: "Bryan Meredith had a great game. I'm sure Sigi is saying, 'Holy crap, we got to get Bryan Meredith more time with us than with the Pumas.' But in the second half especially he was real good."

On surviving the first 15 minutes: "That was the goal - to find the rhythm of the game, the pace of the game, which we did. It's too bad we gave up [the first goal]. I thought our marking was a little soft on that first goal. That was the frustrating part. And then to come back and get a goal, I don't think we ever gave up. So I'm proud of the effort of the guys. I'm proud we showed we can play. That's the thing that for our players, for them to be able to play and look like soccer players and come out here and not be intimidated by the pressure of the game or the atmosphere of the game but to come out and get the ball and roll it around, I thought our guys did really well. I'm proud of our guys tonight."

On if the difference in the game: "Well, I was pleased that we created all the chances that we created, you know what I mean. So I thought our quality was good in the attacking third when we settled down a bit. Yeah, they finished two chances, we finished one. Each team had a lot of chances. But I liked them. I would say we had four good ones in the first half and we had two or three...If Mark Lee continues to run, that's a tap-in. So they put their two chances away and we only put one away but both teams had chances. And again, I like the fact that we tried to play them straight up. We adjusted our lineup and were smart about it. We did not sit back. We never sat back where it was - we had to get numbers behind the ball but when it went out, we tried to go out with numbers on the attack too."

Dan Scott

On the game: "You know I thought we weathered the storm the first 20 minutes of each half. I think once we found our rhythm, we had our opportunities definitely. It's just a matter of putting it in the back of the net. Nik has a great one at the end, he had the first one in the first half. Bryan Burke had a couple. At the end of the day, you have to take care of your chances. But I thought overall we settled down and I thought we knocked the ball around nicely. It was definitely a battle defensively. Fucito played a good game. But overall, we want to win. So it's definitely unsatisfying when it comes down to it."

On if he's proud: "I'm proud of the effort. Overall, I'm proud of the effort. I'm not proud of the result. But at the end of the day, you know, I thought we left it on the field and that's all you can ask for."

On if he thinks fans are surprised that Kitsap only lost by one: "I hope they shouldn't be. I think we're a good team and I think it showed tonight that we can play - that we can play good soccer. I mean the level's definitely a bit higher. But once, mentally, we got around in the game I thought we had our chances, like I said, but we just didn't finish. But I mean, at the end of the day, I'm fairly proud of the effort we put forth on the field."

On getting in a shoving match with his brother Zach Scott: "You saw that? Zach's a strong kid. He's got old-man strength. So it's one of those things where you have to work a little harder when you're going against your older brother. But I thought he played well overall as well. He had a couple opportunities on corner kicks but at the end of the day, they're an MLS team and they showed why they're at that level."