The semipro Kitsap Pumas scored three second-half goals in a span of five minutes to shock Republic FC 3-1 in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup Wednesday night at Bonney Field.
The win advances the Pumas of Bremerton, Wash., to a fourth-round match at the Major League Soccer Seattle Sounders on June 15.
The Pumas scored in the 60th, 63th and 65th minutes on two goals by Javier Castro and one by Mike Ramos, who also assisted on Castro’s first goal.
Republic FC tied it 1-1 when Cameron Iwasa scored in the 61st minute in what was a wild final 45 minutes after the two teams played through an uneventful scoreless first half.
The loss was the first in seven matches for Sacramento. It also marked the first time Republic FC fell in a third-round U.S. Open Cup match. Sacramento reached the fourth round in the previous two seasons, losing both times to the San Jose Earthquakes, its MLS affiliate.
“I don’t think there was a huge difference in the teams to be honest,” Republic FC coach Paul Buckle said. “I warned the players. This team had done well before in this cup.”
The Kitsap goal burst was a shocker for a team that has prided itself on its defense this season.
It’s the most goals Republic FC has allowed in 15 matches, including friendlies against the Earthquakes, Colorado Rapids and twice against the Liverpool FC U-21s. Republic FC has allowed only four goals in nine USL matches.
But Republic FC coach Paul Buckle said two errors on the back line after Republic FC had tied 1-1 put it into a hole from which it was unable to recover.
“You can’t make two mistakes in quick succession and expect to go on in the cup,” he said.
Kitsap’s second goal, the game winner, came after Hamza Haddadi beat defender Mike da Fonte, who slipped. Haddadi hit a blast that Republic FC goalkeeper Evan Newton knocked away. But Ramos was able to beat Newton to the rebound.
Republic FC outshot the Pumas 14-13, but Kitsap put nine on frame to four for Sacramento. Newton had six saves.
It was defender Emrah Klimenta’s first game since spending a week-and-a-half overseas playing for the Montenegro men’s national team. He joined the team on Wednesday on a personal high. But he couldn’t hide his disappointment later in the evening. He credited the Pumas for playing well and being aggressive.
“They came out gunning and running,” Klimenta said. “They are a young team. They relied on counter attacking and spraying the ball forward…It’s disappointing. To come back and then to lose, knowing we would play the Seattle Sounders’ first team in the next round, is pretty disappointing. All the guys are disappointed.”
Klimenta said the team needs to rebound on Saturday when the USL rival Los Angeles Galaxy II comes to Bonney Field.
“You know how those games go,” Klimenta said. “I’m sure we will come out with more fire. This game is just fuel to add to our rivalry with Galaxy.”
Added Buckle, “We’ve got to dust ourselves (off). It was the first big disappointment for quite awhile. But this happens in football. You’ve got to recover. It’s how we react now in a huge game at home on Saturday.”