PDX FC drop first game of the season, look to rebound at weekend
Photo courtesy: Tyson Kennemer
Kitsap Soccer Club earned a hard-fought 2-1 victory over PDX FC on Thursday night at Lakeridge High School in a pivotal Northwest division match. The win moves Kitsap into a tie at the top of the table with PDX early in the season; both teams have 7 points from 4 games. The first half saw a battle of two very different styles of play. PDX FC were content with allowing Kitsap to possess the ball, while the home side played mostly on the counter for the opening 45 minutes. While the game was a clash of styles, both sides created good scoring chances. PDX FC Forward Nick Evans caused problems for the Kitsap backline for much of the match. Evans had a few good chances in the first half, but his play down the left flank to set up winger Matt Paine was the best chance of the half for the home side. Late in the first half both teams had great scoring chances just a few minutes apart, as PDX midfielder Erick Urzua forced a great save from Kitsap goalie Paul Andre Guerin. Moments later, PDX keeper Oscar Torres was caught off his line as a chipped attempt ricocheted off his crossbar. The teams went into the half tied 0-0. PDX FC opened the scoring in the second half thanks to a header from Urzua at the 54-minute mark. Urzua got loose on a free kick and headed his first of the season past the Kitsap keeper for a 1-0 lead. The away side responded brilliantly, tying the game up just seven minutes later. Midfielder Nicola D’Amato bundled home a loose ball in the box after PDX failed to clear a corner. The away side took the lead in the 72 in eerily similar fashion. This time, Defender Anthony Mota slotted home a bouncing ball in the box after another corner kick. “Ultimately, it came down to our set piece defending and that we gave up two goals on corner kicks. We have to do a better job on set pieces and corners in the future,” said PDX Head Coach Luke Babson. Despite dropping their first game of the season, PDX still sits atop the Northwest division table on goal differential. The first-year club has another opportunity to get points this weekend as the square off against Spokane Shadow. Babson knows it will be important to rotate some fresh faces into the starting eleven against Spokane. Babson is blessed with a highly competitive roster and feels confident that he can field a solid team in both outings this weekend. “Our team has good depth and we think that will benefit us throughout the season. It's very possible that we make a couple changes going into the match,” said Babson. The match should prove to be a tactical battle as the sides faced off just a weekend ago. Both teams created plenty of scoring chances in the first half and Babson and his squad feel confident they can duplicate those results. “We will have some familiarity with Spokane from our match up this past weekend. They are a talented team and I would anticipate it being a very tight match,” said Babson. “Spokane plays back to back nights with a match up against FC Mulhouse on Saturday night, which will be a tough turnaround for them. We want to push a high tempo and look to take the game to them. The second home match this weekend for PDX FC will take place on Sunday, June 11 at Hare Field in Hillsboro. Kickoff is 4 p.m.