TUKWILA, Wash. — Mike Fucito scored two goals as Seattle survived a late scare to defeat regional rivals Kitsap Pumas 2-1 in a third-round US Open Cup match at Starfire Sports Complex on Tuesday night.
Fucito tallied in the 39th and 62nd minutes to stake Seattle to a two-goal lead, but Kitsap pulled a goal back in the 71st minute through Nik Besagno.
That led to an exciting finish, but in the end Kitsap could not find the equalizer that would have forced an overtime period. Even so, the visiting club likely earned the respect of their adversaries with a plucky performance.
Seattle fielded a lineup that included some starting-quality players, such as Leo González and Osvaldo Alonso. With that talent, they might have been expected to trounce the Pumas, who are a semi-professional team. The Bremerton, Wash.-based club does have some talent though, including Bahamian international Cameron Hepple.
For most of the first half at least, the Premier Development League club held its own against the heavily-favored Sounders. Coached by Sounders FC broadcast analyst Pete Fewing, the Pumas troubled the Sounders on a few occasions in the first half.
While Seattle held most of the possession, the Pumas did pick their spots to get forward. Besagno, the former number one pick in the MLS SuperDraft, came closest for Kitsap, just missing the far post in a scramble after a corner kick.
Fucito’s goal in the 39th minute made Kitsap’s task much tougher. Pumas striker Bryan Burke had a chance to tie it up before halftime, but put his shot wide. Down a goal, the underdogs came out with the same attacking spirit in the second half. Defender Mark Lee missed an open net off a nice cross from Robert Christner in the 51st minute.
Then came Fucito’s second goal of the match, a brilliant individual effort that saw him round the goalkeeper — 2011 Sounders draft pick Bryan Meredith, who had a stellar night in the nets — and score with his right foot. The match seemed safe with Kitsap appearing to tire, so much so that Sigi Schmid inserted central defender Jeff Parke to help safeguard the lead.
However, Besagno scored on a cross-and-finish from inside the penalty area, setting up a nervy denouement. The Pumas got the ball in and around Seattle’s 18-yard box but were unable to score again.
Seattle held on for the victory and, with it, book a date in the quarterfinals against old foes LA Galaxy. The Galaxy also won on the night against a lower-tier local opponent, beating the LA Blues 2-1.
Seattle will host the Galaxy in Tukwila on July 12.
(Photo courtesy of Corky Trewin/SoundersFC.com.)
SEA -- Mike Fucito (Nate Jaqua) 39
SEA -- Mike Fucito (unassisted) 62
KIT -- Nikolas Besagno (Robert Christner) 71
KIT -- Taylor Hyde (caution; Reckless Tackle) 43
KIT -- Dan Scott (caution; Tactical Foul) 80
Kitsap Pumas -- 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.
Seattle Sounders -- 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.
Referee: Tyler Ploeger
Referee's Assistants: Mike Rottersman; Jeff Hosking
4th Official: William Niccolls
Weather: Cloudy and 63 degrees