Semi-pro soccer team makes local debut as Gunners fall 1-0
June 10, 2014
By Christina Corrales-Toy
A new semi-professional soccer team made its Issaquah debut in front of about 300 fans at Issaquah High School’s Gary Moore Stadium June 4.
The Puget Sound Gunners, a men’s team that develops elite college-aged players with professional aspirations, fell to the Kitsap Pumas 1-0.
It represents the Gunners’ (1-3-1) third straight loss in the Premier Development League’s Northwest Division.
“This kind of thing is a bump for sure, but without the dark, you can’t see the stars,” head coach Jimmy Ball said of the Gunners’ three-game stretch that also included road losses to Lane United FC and the Portland Timbers U-23s.
The division-leading Pumas’ score came in the game’s 12th minute, after Joaquin Rivas’ ball bounced off the left post and trickled toward the back of the net.
“That’s the difference, the width of the post,” Ball said. “That’s a harsh lesson, but it’s a development league. We’re looking at these players growing and learning and they’re definitely doing that.”
The Gunners’ lineup looked a bit different than their previous four, as Marshall Kosaka, Josimar Evangelista and Josh Miller made their season debuts in the starting 11.
“We just felt after a tough road trip that we needed a bit of experience,” Ball said. “So, we brought in some more experienced players to try to solidify our lineup and make us a bit more professional about what we did out on the field, and it didn’t quite work as I thought it would.”
Ball said he liked what he saw out of his team in the second half, though. The Gunners came out of the locker room playing with a higher tempo and getting more consistent ball movement.
They got a few looks, but the Pumas’ defense remained stout.
“That’s probably the best half of football that we’ve played, even though we didn’t manage to score,” Ball said.
The teams took eight shots each, but Rivas’ was the only one to find the net. The Pumas out-fouled the Gunners 18-14. Kitsap Pumas goalkeeper Matt Grosey recorded three saves, while the Gunners’ Jason Dodson recorded one.
The Gunners now sit at the bottom of the Northwest Division standings with just four points on the season. Despite the recent stretch, Ball said his players aren’t holding their heads, instead using the losses as opportunities for development.
“It’s tough but in adversity you find out who you are, you find out what kind of group you are and what people you have around you,” he said. “This group will stick together and they’ll be just fine.”
The team features athletes from across the Northwest region and beyond, including players from the University of Washington, Seattle University, Seattle Pacific University, Western Washington University and Harvard University.
Last year, the Puget Sound Gunners played as the North Sound SeaWolves, before the team partnered with the Issaquah Soccer Club and moved operations from Edmonds to Issaquah.
“This will allow fans to witness a standard of college players live and in the flesh,” the team’s general manager Gwynne Williams said.
The Gunners played their second-straight home game June 9, but results were not available at press time. Up next, the team heads out on the road for a two-game road trip to Canada. They return home again June 20, when they host the Vancouver Whitecaps U-23s. Learn more at www.pugetsoundgunnersfc.com.