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TJ grad Mohn and Kitsap Pumas give Sounders FC a scare in U.S. Open Cup; Sounders FC Academy update
It was a matchup of former Thomas Jefferson High School stars Tuesday night at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila when the Seattle Sounders FC and Kitsap Pumas met in the third round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
And it was a better game than anyone would have predicted, aside from maybe 2005 TJ grad Stephen Mohn and the rest of his Pumas squad.
But the Sounders and 2007 TJ grad Lamar Neagle, who didn't play Tuesday, had a little bit too much talent and advanced to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup with a 2-1 win.
Seattle's Mike Fucito put the Sounders up 1-0 in the 39th minute and added another goal in the 62nd.
But the Pumas, who are members of the Premier Development League's Northwest Division with a payroll of $36,000, didn't go down without a fight. In the 71st minute, Maple Valley's Nikolas Besagno popped a ball into the net from close range to pull the Pumas back to 2-1.
“Probably right at the timepoint in the game where we took the 2-0 lead and maybe the game will tip, then they end up scoring a goal, we give them a shot of adrenaline and it keeps their energy going,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “Hats off to them and obviously (Kitsap coach Pete Fewing) should be very proud of the effort they put in today.”
The result was not really surprising. Sounders FC has won two straight U.S. Open Cup championships and play in Major League Soccer — the top level in the United States. Kitsap play in the fourth-tier soccer league in America.
"We're trying to keep it as another game, but ... there's a massive gap between us," "On every level, they're beyond us," said Kitsap coach Peter Fewing, who's also a TV analyst for Sounders FC. "All our guys would love to be wearing the Sounders jersey at some point in their lives."
The match was also a big one for Mohn. Two years ago, the former Highline Community College and University of Washington defender had the honor of being the first player in the history of the Pumas organization. He played the entire 90 minutes Tuesday night.
“Stephen is a player we identified at our first meeting,” said head coach John Wedge. “He possesses all the things we aspire to in this team – tenacity, skill, speed and a keen attacking sense – plus, he’s a leader.”
Neagle didn't play Tuesday against the Pumas, but has developed into a key contributor for the Sounders. The forward has played in 10 matches this season, starting four, and has one goal and 11 shots.
Last year, Sounders FC became the first team in the MLS era to win back-to-back Open Cup championships. New York Greek-American is the only team in the 98-year-old tournament to have won three in a row (1967-69).
The Sounders will face the LA Galaxy for the second straight year in the tournament after the Galaxy came back from a late 1-0 deficit to top the LA Blues 2-1. That match will be played at Starfire either on July 12 or 13.
The Pumas are 8-0-1 to top the PDL's Northwest Division, outscoring their opponents 22-8. Kitsap had to win two straight U.S. Open Cup matches just to advance to Tuesday's Sounders FC match. As the defending U.S. Open Cup champion, the Sounders received byes into the third round of the tournament. The Pumas topped the El Paso Patriots in a shootout, then beat Real Colorado Foxes, 3-1, last week.
Sounders FC Academy Update:
• The Sounders FC U-16 Academy Team advanced to the USSDA National Finals after going undefeated in the tournament Group Stage in Frisco, Texas.
The Sounders youth topped DC United, 5-1, on Tuesday in the finale to go 3-0-0 to reach the finals July 9-16 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Beamer juniors-to-be Austin Sweeney and Ike Crook, along with Michael Steele, Jesse Klug and Jason McGlothern all scored for the Sounders.
The U-16 team also includes Decatur's Connor Adkisson, Jefferson's Casey Kim and Isidro Prado-Huerta and Federal Way's Odason Pelogi.
In the weekend tournament, the Sounders got a 3-0 win over the Columbus Crew and topped the Baltimore Bays, 1-0.
The Sounders will be joined by Real So Cal, Real Salt Lake, CASL, North Carolina Fusion, PA Classics, LA Galaxy and the Dallas Texans in the U16 finals. They are now 21-3-4 on the season and are 15-1-3 in their last 19 matches.
• After a tremendous run to the USSDA national playoffs, the season came to an end for the Sounders FC U-18 Academy Team. After dominating each of their first two matches against SeaCoast United and St. Louis Scott Gallagher, the Sounders fell 2-0 to the Baltimore Bays, who will advance to the national finals.
The U18s finished the season with an 18-6-4 overall record, winning the Northwest Division with the seventh-best record in the country. The team included Beamer's Brandon Brockway, Sean Ugo Okoli and Troy Peterson, Decatur's Dominique Dismuke and TJ's Chase Hanson.