Why not Memorial Stadium for a Sounders-Pumas match?

As Kitsap Pumas owner Robin Waite put it to staff writer Jeff Graham, “You don’t want to put the soccer ball before the net (translated, you don’t want to put the cart before the horse),” but I was surprised to read on my day off that if the Kitsap Pumas beat the Real Colorado Foxes in a U.S. Open Cup match on Tuesday in Bremerton, that it won’t host a third-round game against the MLS’ Seattle Sounders.

It was my understanding that the lower seeds in this tournament got a chance to bid on hosting the game.

Waite told Graham he wasn’t happy that the game will be played at Starfire. And for good reason.

“To my way of thinking, that takes a way from the game. In the FA Cup, all the lower teams host,” he said.

“If the Sounders came over here to play us, it would be the biggest thing that ever happened to soccer in Kitsap. There would be 5 or 6,000 people there. If you go to Starfire, there will be 3,500 and half of them would be our fans.”

The Pumas-Colorado winner will play the Sounders at the Star Fire complex in Tukwila on Wednesday, June 29. Expect a Sounders’ contingent to be in the stands at Bremerton Memorial Stadium on Tuesday.

“I think a bunch of us will be over there scouting for what will be a big step toward trying to repeat and win the Open Cup again,” owner/GM Adrian Hanauer said.  “We obviously know Kitsap quite well, but we don’t know the Colorado team very well.  We know what type of game we’re probably in for, but it will be good to get over there and check it out and see the atmosphere and see some old friends with Kitsap.”

Waite and Hanauer were both part of the Sounders’ ownership group when the team played in the United Soccer Leagues. In addition, Pumas coach Peter Fewing is part of the Sounders’ broadcast team.

Now, it’s just a matter of getting a win over Colorado to earn their dream shot of upsetting the big-city Sounders … on their turf.

The lads need to heed Waite’s advice: “Don’t put the soccer ball before the net.”

Meanwhile, the Pumas remain unbeaten in Premier Development League play, going to 8-0-1 with a 3-1 win over Abbotsford on Friday.

5 thoughts on “Why not Memorial Stadium for a Sounders-Pumas match?

  1. The reference to the FA Cup and big team having to play at the lower level club is wrong, the draw for each round of the FA Cup is random.
    It is unfortunate that they have not done this with the Open Cup, it would be great to see the Sounders at Memorial.

  2. Mr. Stark,

    Yes, that news is quite disappointing! While Starfire Sports Complex is a nice intimate venue for a match, it makes a great deal of sense to allow the smaller teams in an “open” style tournament to host the lower round games to raise publicity and attention by bringing in higher-profile teams. Is the arrangement to play at Starfire (if the Pumas beat Colorado) set in stone, or could the two teams work out an agreement? I know the Sounders’ success in the Open Cup is something they take quite seriously with a great deal of pride so I can see why they wouldn’t be willing to disadvantage themselves by agreeing to play such an important game in Bremerton, but as you said it would be amazing for Kitsap soccer to host the Sounders here!

    While I am disappointing Tuesday afternoon and evening meetings will keep me from Tuesday’s match, when the Pumas win and go on to play the Sounders, I will be there with as large of contingent of Kitsap friends as I can bring!

  3. Many of us Puma fans were real disappointed in that all the MLS teams will be hosting the 3rd round. I hope that all the MLS teams lose in the 3rd round this season, especially if it is a Pumas-Sounders matchup.

  4. Yep, that is disappointing, and unfair. Ben, I like that you say “when the Pumas win.” And sonsidering how lame the Sounders are this year, I think the Pumas actually have a chance to beat them.

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