Inside the Brain of a Teenage Soccer Genius

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Sunday, June 2, 2013

Kitsap Pumas 0-0 Portland Timbers U23s

After a hard start to the season with five games on the road, the Kitsap Pumas fully kicked off the 2013 campaign with their first home game at Gordon Field.

There has been an interesting reception for the boys in the hoops this season- unsatisfactory displays on the field have frustrated frequent game goers and certainly the men on the pitch. Some players are currently unavailable due to injuries but others who are fully fit an absent from the starting lineup are requested by name ("WE WANT WILL!" chants broke out as the second half kicked off yesterday). A fairly dull game of football from both teams yesterday even prompted some fans to leave at halftime; very disappointing considering the 120% effort that many of the men on the pitch put into yesterday's game.
The Pumas looked more promising in the attack than they had in previous matches. Alex Chavez and Sebastiaan Jansen stirred up the Timbers defense when the ball came through on the wings or through the middle and had some great chances to send it wide for a cross into the area. The frequent long balls that were played over the entire midfield were another story- decisively ineffective. By the second long ball from the back, the Timbers defense had posted up on both big men up top in the blue and white, giving them little hope of winning the ball and no one to flick it on to in the event that they beat two Timbers defenders to a header. Despite this frustrating predicament up top, our two strikers held strong and continued to hustle and create as many chances as they could.
Player of the Month Brandon Scott
Also deserving of recognition for their amazing effort is the Kitsap Pumas defensive line. Regular starters Cammy MacDonald and Zack Sampson were both absent due to injury and newly signed center back Josh Kelly was forced to come off early with a concussion. Captain Neil Shaffer, who had started as the right-back rather than in the center midfield, did a fantastic job holding the back line together when he slid into the middle for Kelly and Kyle Johnson came in on the outside. Cody Shelton, our other starting center back who recently returned from a knee injury acquired after a preseason ankle injury, was selected by the Puma support groups as the Man of the Match for his outstanding performance. Shelton was forced to compensate for poor defending through the midfield on several occasions, not even hesitating to throw his body entirely on the line to keep the ball away from Aaron Fenlason between the sticks for the home team. At the end of the match the Puma fan groups were also able to celebrate their May Player of the Month Brandon Scott. Scott had yet another incredible performance as the starting left-back last night against the Timbers. This capitalized on some exceptional playing for the Pumas since the start of preseason. He plays a brilliant balance of attack and defense, calculates his headers exceptionally well and never backs down from tackles, even against players dangerously bigger than him. Scott has been pivotal for us this season and his hard work and skill are appreciated by the fans.
Man of the Match Cody Shelton
As the second half wore on and it became clear that we needed more up top, Will Daniels was substituted on (much to the elation of the fans- especially the teenage girls) and immediately shook things up. He demonstrated incredible skill, the pace to keep up with Hellah Sidibe on the wings, and pure strength up top, making runs with several Timbers players hanging off of his jersey. It is perplexing why he doesn't start, but the effort that he puts into the short time he is on the field is applauded.
In the end the 0-0 draw was not a fair reflection of the effort and performance from the men on the pitch. We should have had a penalty called in our favor when Daniels was dragged down in the box after narrowly avoiding two other fouls from the Timbers, and some ninja antics from Alex Chavez in the first half were denied as well. The shutout was well earned by Fenlason and the men in front of him but three points would obviously have been preferred.
Next weekend the Pumas are at Gordon Field again to face off against the Vancouver Whitecaps U23s, see you all there!

1 comment:

Chris23 said...

Excellent review!! Posted on the Pumas team page on facebook:

"from the Fans: "Willy Deez" Will Daniels has earned a spot in the starting lineup!"