It's usually tough to be an expansion side. Most teams need a form of camaraderie that doesn't come together overnight. All factors involved, it maybe shouldn't be a surprise that Arizona United had a tough time defending against a series of players who not only know each other the way the Sounders do, but also have the talent to play in MLS. Nevertheless, Seattle's ability to take advantage of dangerous positions proved to be a decisive difference in this final Seattle reserve match at home.
Lamar Neagle opened the scoring in the 28th minute, in the form of a simple tap in won from a scrum in the box. Then came a brace from Sean Okoli, making it 3-0 less than ten minutes after that initial strike. In the second half, goals from Tristan Bowen and Kenny Cooper sandwiched the lone bright spot for Arizona United. While the visitors had plenty of chances, their touch and finishing let them down in the final third every time but once.
Head coach Ezra Hendrickson liked what he saw from the center back, who had not played for the team since being drafted eighth overall in the January MLS Superdraft.
"He looked really good. I think if he can just stay injury-free and give us that kind of quality minutes he can be a good player in this league"
Hendrickson also referenced timing on tackles and organization in crediting Lowe with a solid first outing in the green.
The defense certainly had their issues in this match, but their most solid showing was the 33 minutes which Lowe was on the field for.
Okoli continues to demonstrate the ability that made him the second (or third) homegrown player in Sounders history. The 21-year veteran of the planet earth scored two goals, played an assist, and created the majority of the chances for his side. The only thing keeping him out of the first team is depth: Barrett's "Lazarus Pit" rejuvenation and Kenny Cooper's solid year off the bench have prevented him from putting in significant minutes at the MLS level. Most impressive was his conversion of Jalil Anibaba's long service for the third goal. Okoli got way up and his header left no doubt, with perfect placement away from the keeper.
Continuing a stretch of strong play that has returned his name to the first team conversation, Rose helped control the midfield all game long. His positioning and awareness have improved demonstrably over last year, and nearly had yet another headed goal (something which he has made his mark with since the Open Cup win over Portland) which decided to instead try to burst through Cooper like "Alien". Rose continues to make a push for the first team.