This may seem like an odd departure during the Playoffs, but if the team does it why shouldn't we. Coach Schmid found a way to get his Reserves and Subs more playing time by getting together with the Seattle Wolves. He did this even while his senior side is smarting from the nil-nil draw.
Coach on why they played a Reserve match today
"It was important for the guys who haven’t been playing as much to get a solid 60 [minutes] in. We didn’t want to take them to 90 because it’s been a while since some of them played 90 without us having a reserve league. So we didn’t want to put them in that zone where maybe there’s an injury. But we felt it was good for them to get a solid 60 minutes in."
Levesque and Le Toux both played Forward for the first half for the Sounders side.
Lamar Neagle played at the Right Back, rather than his more typical Left Mid position. Developmental players Mike Fucito (LM) and Evan Brown (RB) played with the Wolves for the first half. Almost all of the Wolves offense came from the left side, even when Fucito dove into the area. He scored in the first half for the Wolves. Taylor Graham was on the pitch which was great to see after his struggles with health this season.
In the second half Fucito moved over to the Sounders side replacing Levesque who went to stretch with the rest of last night's players. He paired at the top with Seb Le Toux with Vagenas behind and Nyassi and King out wide. The second half saw Nyassi and Le Toux both score with their feet and the diminutive Fucito put one in with his head. Le Toux really wanted that one screaming out a thunderous YES when it went in. About half way into the second half Sturgis came off and Evan Brown also switched sides and Neagle moved to the Left Mid.
After the match Mike talked with Peter Vagenas and Coach Schmid for quite a bit. Vagenas imparted his wisdom from a tenured pro and how to take those next steps and improve, while Coach and Fucito connected longer than other Reserve and Subs. If Reserve matches and scrimmages determined playing time there is one man who would obviously move up the depth chart. But climbing from Reserve to Sub has got to be tough, and an organization that has been this successful may seem wary to make that change.
In addition having the opportunity to watch the scrimmage I talked a bit with Tyrone Marshall about his injury and the performance of his backline mates, as well as with Nate Jaqua about moving back to a wide mid role, the physicality of the game and his expectation for the next match against the Dynamo. Listen to KJR-AM tomorrow at Noon when Dick Fain has me on to find out what they said.
Notable Players in Wolves kit today -
Alex Chursky (former Sounders and NCAA national champion with Seattle U), Adam West (former Sounder), Nick Besagno (former Real Salt Lake), Pedro Batres, Daniel Scott (brother of Zach Scott and former Gonzaga player), and Sterling Flunder (current Portland Timbers U23 signee).
The Wolves won the Copa Washington this year as the top amatuer side in the state.
Later today I will do my own breakdown of the First Leg of the Western Conference Semifinal. Carlos has some great initial thoughts, and he had them up quick.