The regular indoor season for the Kitsap Pumas got off to a great start last night with the Pumas defeating South Sound Shock 9-5 in their home opener at Olympic Soccer and Sports Center in Bremerton. The game featured seasoned Puma players Matt Friesen, Taylor Hyde and Greg Miley as well as some other familiar faces from past seasons. They also had some new faces like local brothers Brian and David Meherg who played in the field and in goal. The 321 attending fans made themselves heard during some blunders from the referees, but their Kitsap Pumas were able to overcome the calls against them and pull out a good win.
The Pumas opened the scoring late in the first quarter with Greg Miley firing the ball past the Shock’s goalkeeper off of a cheeky assist from Enrique Hidalgo. Hidalgo went on to score two of his own goals and get himself a hattrick of assists. The first quarter ended with the Pumas leading 3-1 after South Sound snatched a goal off of a defensive blunder. The second quarter saw the Pumas dominate and play brilliant, flowing, intelligent soccer. They worked the ball well and were quick on transitioning back, not conceding a goal for the rest of the quarter. South Sound pressed hard when they were in possession of the ball, but the Pumas enjoyed majority of the possession in the first half, which ended with the Pumas leading by seven goals to one.
Coming into the second half, Pumas created lots of turnovers, losing the ball on forward transitions and conceded three goals in the first quarter. Goalkeeper David Meherg and his defense made some outstanding saves but couldn’t stop two more goals from the Shock in the second quarter. Returning indoor Puma Stephen Cashmore was able to put the icing on the win and a smile back on the faces of the Puma fans when he scored three minutes from time in front of his West Sound Academy boys U11 team and his faithful fans. He was in perfect position in the middle of the box to fire in an Enrique Hidalgo ball into the back of the net.
The Pumas were able to pull off the impressive win despite bad calls from the officials, who missed two clear penalties and made some confusing calls on both ends. They nearly lost control of the game when a Puma player was taken down hard in front of the Shock’s goal, resulting in a tangle of legs and a bit of a scuffle between the two players.
Head Coach Dustyn Brim was still enjoying his honeymoon, so assistant coach Justin Stoddard took over for him and did a quality job. The Pumas seemed to have gelled well as a team since tryouts. Their subbing was flawless and players were able to circulate around the field, playing in multiple positions and being equally effective in all of them. The Pumas gave a great performance in front of their home fans which included super-fans Ian Logan and Allison Loris who passed out Puma Christmas carols with cheeky names and lyrics such as “Twelve days of Pumas” and, “Pumas are Coming to Town”.
The Pumas next match is away to Ruckus FC next Saturday, December 10th. They will be hoping for another win and a strong performance away from their adoring fans at OSSC.