The story remains the same for Sounders FC 2. Another game; more points squandered.
S2 traveled to Fenton, Missouri without starters Zach Mathers, Victor Mansaray and Michael Nelson, and despite a dynamic first 65 minutes, managed to only earn a point. An 86th minute goal left S2 with a 1-1 tie after leading for more than 70 minutes.
S2 swarmed Saint Louis’ attackers on defense; not allowing a single shot on target in the fist half.
Throughout the field, Seattle applied pressure. The team forced an error from goalkeeper Ryan Thompson in the 12th minute, which Andy Craven and Emir Alihodzic managed to turn into a goal. Craven stripped Thompson of the ball and chipped it over to Alihodzic for a header. It was a play that easily could have been bungled, but the attackers did well to put it in the net. Later in the half Craven intercepted a pass between Saint Louis’ center backs, but was unfortunate to have his first touch smothered by Thompson.
S2 came out strong after the break, creating good passing options and not allowing any dangerous opportunities from Dale Schilly’s side. Seattle’s play faded as the final whistle neared though, and after the 80th minute they seemed to be losing their marks consistently. Saint Louis capitalized with a open header from a throw-in with five minutes left in the half.
It wasn’t so much the final scoreline that stung in this one, but rather the way the game played out. It’s frustrating when a team can’t manage to close a game out, and it’s especially frustrating when a team does so as frequently as S2 does.
Jones showed well a few times in this match, (he had a shot hit off the bar in the 45th minute), but for the most part he was a non factor. He was consistently robbed of the ball when he tried to dribble, yet he continued to pull skill moves throughout the match. It did not work well for him.
The Sounders’ high pressure defensive strategy worked well for them in the first part of the match, but it clearly left them wearied.
Seattle’s pressure also left holes in front of the defensive line. Often times Jordan Schweitzer would defend high up the field, and midfielders Willy Kapawa and Emir Alihodzic would fail to cover behind. The midfield three were at times pulled out of position in unison, leaving room for Saint Louis to create.