Kitsap’s Mark Lee and Matt Friesen track Portland’s Tracy Hasson during Sunday’s PDL match in Bremreton. (Jenni Conner)
The Portland Timbers U23’s finished off a perfect 16-0-0 regular season with a 1:0 win over the Kitsap Pumas in Bremerton on Sunday (see photo gallery below). The last PDL team to post a perfect record – without a loss or draw – was the (now defunct) Jackson Chargers during the 1998 season.
The Pumas stayed in second place and playoff position depsite the loss. Now the Kitsap club turns its attention to this Wednesday night July 21 when they travel to BC to take on the Vancouver Whitecaps Residency. Vancouver drew the Pumas 1:1 in Bremerton earlier this season.
Playoff scenarios aplenty
If the Pumas beat Vancouver, they clinch a playoff spot. If they draw Vancouver, then they could clinch on Saturday against Tacoma even with a loss. A draw would put Kitsap on 33 points. Tacoma have 30. Kitsap’s goal differential (a tiebreaker) is +19. Tacoma’s is +14. So Tacoma would need to win by three goals on Saturday to surpass Kitsap. As an example, a 4:2 Tide victory on Saturday would give Tacoma a +16, but would leave Kitsap with a +17. Since both teams would be on 33 in that scenario, and would have split wins on the season, Kitsap would get the spot on goal differential.
If the Pumas lose to Vancouver on Wednesday then the Narrows Brdige Bell becomes a loser-out winner-in battle for a playoff spot. If the match were to end in a draw, then Kitsap would advance on total points 33-31. See USL tiebreaker rules here.
Meanwhile, down south
The playoff clubs in the Northwest Division will match up with those in the Southwest. The winner of one will play the second place team in the other. That means we need to keep an eye out this weekend for the final matches for Hollywood United and Ventura County Fusion.
1. Ventura County Fusion (31) One match left, home to LA Legends
2. Orange County Blue Star (31) No matches left
3. Hollywood United (30) One match left, at home to Ogden Outlaws
Ventura County Fusion seem to be in the driver’s seat to win the division and thus to have a chance to repeat as national champions. They host LA July 24th. A win gives them the division title and a first-round match against either Kitsap or Tacoma (whichever advances from the NW.) Last year it was the Fusion who knocked Kitsap out of the playoffs on their way to winning it all. The Fusion feature former Puma and Bremerton native Kyle Johnson and former USL Sounders winger Brent Whitfield.
Orange County are in the precarious position of hoping that the lowly Ogden Outlaws can travel down and upset Hollywood. Otherwise the Hitmen will pass them up and take a playoff spot.
Next Monday I will look back at the 2010 season and ahead to the playoffs.
Kitsap Pumas supporters get a talking to from security after they took up second-half residence next to traveling Portland supporters. The Portland banner reads “Kings of Cascadia.” (Jenni Conner)