In a match featuring plenty of attacking talent with MLS experience on both sides, the lone goal was a Tommy Stewart penalty kick that left Seattle Sounders 2 with a 1-0 loss in their home opener.
Sacramento started the match on the front foot, overwhelming S2 in the midfield and either sending crosses towards Adam Jahn's head, or asking Tommy Thompson to beat the left side of the Sounders defense with skill. Although it took a few minutes to get into the game, S2 survived the initial pressure and started to have some success on the counterattack, mostly by finding Andy Craven up top. Oniel Fisher found space up the right wing more than once as Kovar cut inside.
Though the Sounders young centerbacks, Tony Alfaro and Tobi Jnohope, did an admirable job of containing the Republic forwards, their attacking teammates weren't able to return the favor. Even when the Sounders got into a rhythm in midfield and found an opening, the final pass or shot was lacking. Fisher's nice cutback to the top of the box in the 60th miunte, for example, only led to confusion as to who would step up to strike it, and ultimately a Nathan Sturgis shot sailing over the bar.
Shortly after, Alfaro was judged to have taken down Adam Jahn in the box, and the referee pointed to the spot. Tommy Stewart buried the kick in the 62nd minute to take the lead. S2 rarely threatened for the rest of the match, despite bringing on every available attacking option. Remick, Jones and Kovar showed flashes of good attacking play, but did nothing to test Dominik Jakubek in Republic's goal.
Andy Craven is back
Andy Craven is fun to watch. Not just because he hustles and has good top end speed. Because he tries sh*t. His attempted backheel throughball to beat the Republic backline didn't work, but it was close, and it was creative. It's nice to see Craven right back where he was before his injury.
Tony Alfaro is ready
For a 22-year-old in his professional debut, Tony Alfaro looked like a seasoned centerback. Yes, he gave up the penalty. Beyond that he was solid in his defensive positioning, headers and tackles, and calm and collected on the ball.
There's a lot of potential
Thanks to the MLS bye week, this game possibly featured more first team players than will be normal for S2, but even if you look at the list of players who will likely play the most minutes for S2 this year, there is a lot of potential -- not just for player development but for a cohesive and exciting team to watch. Tonight, they were not that. But there's plenty of time for improvement.
All those first team players, and they still lost at home?
Yes, they did. Despite the MLS or fringe-MLS talent on the field, you have to consider that this S2 group hasn't practiced together as a starting XI. It showed. More of a concern is that even the players up top who know each other well -- Craven, Jones and Kovar -- didn't seem well connected to one another or able to work the ball together much at all in the attacking half.
The midfield was a mess
Besides Zach Mathers successfully swinging the ball to quickly switch the point of attack a few times, the midfield was not much help in facilitating the offense. They had their hands full and were helping out their young centerbacks. But neither Sturgis, Michael Farfan, nor his halftime replacement, Emir Alihodzic, were able to push forward successfully to any great extent.