Kitsap Pumas spin circles around Spiders

Mark Conrad came off the bench to score two second-half goals as the Kitsap Pumas defeated the Spokane Spiders 6-1 Saturday night at Bremerton Memorial Stadium.

Pumas forward Stephen Phillips had a goal and an assist, while midfielder Tony Kerr and forward Spencer Schomaker converted penalty kicks.

Conrad scored in the 63rd minute when he followed a Schomaker shot that was deflected away by Spokane goalkeeper Eric Kurimura. He then scored in the 74th minute as he drove on Kurimura, buying a shot into the left side of the net.

“I was a little upset (at not starting the game), but I have full confidence in (Alex) Megson,” Conrad said. “He's a very skilled player.”

Conrad played like a man possessed during his time on the pitch, racing all over the field to get the ball and make shots and passes.

“When I came on the field, I told (head coach John) Wedge 'Watch me, dude,'" Conrad said. "He just told me to keep my composure.”

Conrad nearly had a hat trick when he put another shot past Kurimura, but the referee waived it off.

The goals started in the third minute when Phillips was fouled in the penalty box. Kerr cooly converted the penalty for his fifth goal of the season.

Eli Gordley doubled that in the 15th minute off an assist from Phillips, who slotted a perfect ball onto the feet of Gordley.

Phillips was rewarded in the 41st minute as Alex Megson stole the ball from a Spider defender just outside the box and made a quick pass past a charging Kurimura to Phillips, who tapped in an off-balance shot just past the line for his fifth goal of the season.

Schomaker rounded out the scoring in the 79th minute after Poulsbo native Zack Sampson was clobbered well inside the box by Kurimura, setting up a penalty kick.

Spokane scored its lone goal when Nick Love intercepted a misplayed ball and snuck a far-post shot past goalkeeper Dustyn Brim.

The win keeps the Pumas (9-0-2, 29 points) in first place in the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League Northwest Division. They hold a six-point lead over the Seattle Wolves.

Kitsap also increases its goal differential to plus-24, remaining in second place overall – two points behind the Long Island Rough Riders – in the 68 -club USL PDL. Since being shutout by the USL Division I Portland Timbers in a first round U.S. Open Cup game on June 9, Kitsap has outscored its opponents 16-3.

The game saw the debut of Dieng, a 22-year-old midfielder from Paris, France. He broke training camp with the Pumas, but couldn't play for the team until last night due to problems obtaining a work visa. He played much of the second half and had a shot on goal.

“It's nice to have him back,” Chapman said. “We'd love to have seen him earlier in the season. He had a great game out there just distributing the ball and staying in the middle.”

With three wins this homestand under their belt, the Pumas prepare for two pivotal games — against the Wolves Tuesday and Portland U23 July 4.

Kitsap will be without goalkeeper Floyd Croll, who was suspended indefinitely. The club signed Pete Van Sant, a goalkeeper and former teammate of Johnson and Taylor Hyde at the University of Puget Sound, this past week.

The Pumas may also be without Hyde, who suffered a slight tear of his meniscus against Vancouver, and Gordley, who collided with Spokane defender Jay Wallace and was helped off the field. He was placed in a walking boot after the match with a deep bruise on his shin and a sprained ankle.

“The prognosis on Taylor is pretty good,” Chapman said. “We'll have to wait and see what the trainers say on Monday.”

Tuesday's game is at 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium. It is Whoopee Cushion Night, meaning the first 500 fans receive an official Pumas whoopee cushion. Tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets and the Pumas front office, (360) 377-6008.

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