US Open Cup

Seattle Sounders earn cathartic U.S. Open Cup win against Kitsap Pumas

Jones goal celebration vs Kitsap 160615

TUKWILA, Washington – The Seattle Sounders’ fourth-round Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup matchup with the PDL’s Kitsap Pumas at Starfire Soccer on Wednesday wasn’t exactly the lopsided affair one might expect from a game pitting an MLS side against a fourth-division opponent.

In the end, however, the Sounders got the result they needed, riding second-half tallies from Cristian Roldan and substitute Joevin Jones to a 2-0 victory.

It was Roldan who struck first, breaking a scoreless deadlock in the 71st minute off a free kick assist from Aaron Kovar, Roldan’s first goal as a professional across all competitions.

Cristian Roldan scores what stands as the game-winner in @SoundersFC's 2-0 win vs. @KitsapPumas. #USOC2016

— U.S. Open Cup (@opencup) June 16, 2016

“[Roldan] is always good,” Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer said after the game. “He’s like steady Eddie. You know what get out of that kid every single game. Just another typical performance.”

Schmetzer – filling in while regular coach Sigi Schmid served his one-game USOC suspension – cited the size, physicality and underdog status of Kitsap as the biggest challenges for his team on Wednesday.

“That was a big team,” Schmetzer said. “We were a little concerned about that. Their back four and [forward Hamza] Haddadi up front, it’s a big team.

“It’s always easy to be the underdog. You can play free, you don’t have to worry about feeling like you should win or shouldn’t win. I’ve been on that side of the bench and their coach did a very good job and kept them organized.”

Aaron Kovar, who played a full 90 minutes in the win, echoed Schmetzer following the match. “They were good defensively, to be honest," Kovar said. "They had really shape, they had numbers behind the ball. But it was a matter of time before we got the right ball and the right finish.”

The victory was a welcome return to the tournament for Seattle, the franchise’s first USOC match since their infamous and controversial defeat to the Portland Timbers a year ago.

“Obviously that was a crazy game against Portland last year,” Kovar said. “But we can’t do anything about that now. We knew it was going to be a tough game and we just had to get the result.”

Seattle now await their fifth-round opponent, which will be determined by a draw on Thursday.

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