Kitsap Pumas Qualify For U.S. Open Cup, Eliminate Portland Timbers U-23s

Kitsap Pumas Forward, Robby Christner (11) celebrates after scoring a goal. (Photo by: Chris Coulter SoundersPhotos.com The image is only to be used on Sounder at Heart. It is not to be shared with or distributed to any other SB Nation site or external site.)

Robbie Christner scored two goals, Seattle Sounders draft pick Bryan Meredith saved a penalty and the Kitsap Pumas survived the final 10 minutes of their match against the Portland Timbers U-23s to win 3-2 and advance to the U.S. Open Cup. The match, which was also played as a regular-season PDL game, was played instead of a traditional Open Cup qualifying tiebreaker. The Pumas became the first PDL team in history to qualify for the Open Cup in each of their first three seasons.

Christner put the Pumas up 1-0 with a goal in the 20th minute and Nik Besagno sent them into halftime up 2-0. Brent Richards cut the lead in half with a goal in the 54th minute, but Christner restored the lead with a 66th goal that came off a free kick which seemed to leave the Pumas in control.

But the match took a drastic turn in the 72nd minute when Pumas forward Brian Burke was sent off with a straight red card. Three minutes later, the Timbers were given a penalty when Ricky Abrego was taken down in the box. Meredith, though, turned aside Miles Byass' shot and then Byass sent the rebound high.

Sounders academy product was Nick Palodichuk was able to cut the deficit to 3-2 with a goal in the 80th minute. It was his first goal for the Timbers.

Special thanks to Chris Coulter of SoundersPhotos.com for supplying the photo above.

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