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Seyi Adekoya learned much from his bittersweet first Sounders start

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He knows what to do with his next chance

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

TUKWILA, Wash. — Rookie and Homegrown Player Seyi Adekoya earned a first start, on the road, in a disappointing loss for the Seattle Sounders. On Friday he was retrospective, thoughtful and determined. There was joy in remembering his first-ever walkout, but also frustration.

“Happy to play, nice to get my first minutes — and start — getting comfortable on the field among the starting guys as well as get my feet under me in a professional game. Happy that I played,” Adekoya told Sounder at Heart. “Happy, kind of, with the opportunity, but unfortunate on the result. And that’s all I’ll say.”

In his 64 minutes the Academy product got off just one shot. His ball possession was mainly in a band about 25-35 yards from goal. For a player with 20 goals and 8 assists in three college seasons it was an unusual space in which to operate. So he took to tape, to practice, to self reflection.

“I think I will, for the next game and certainly the future, if I’m in a good position one-v-one or in the box, or something like that, try to take my chance - whether it’s going at the guy or hitting it,” Adekoya declares. “Whatever it is, just being more aggressive towards goal. I don’t think I was goal dangerous enough in that game.”

His one shot was towards goal, but lacked the threat he wants. He took a touch, maybe another, and in traffic attempted to place a shot up and far post. It didn’t work, but the forward liked his instincts there, if not the result.

“It’s getting in that position in practice and working on a little touch and a quick shot, because I tried to get a shot off and the ball kind of slipped up, and that’s just practice and confidence.”

We talked through that moment. It was in the 13th minute. Columbus was up a goal. Seyi sprung out into space a bit wide. His angle to cut inside was cutoff by a Crew player and a bit of body on him. Adekoya took a touch to get space.

“Being in practice is one thing - it’s easy to critique yourself, or have the team critique you, in practice. In a game, like that situation where I was eight yards out. In practice I may have hesitated and tried to play the ball to someone, but in a game, since I was so close to goal I think my idea was good in taking a touch and getting a shot off, but the execution wasn’t good. I think, in the game it’s more instinctual and less feeling, less thinking and listening to other people.”

The turnaround is short. After Wednesday’s loss the team flew from Columbus to Seattle. They’ll get in two days of practice, and then on Sunday the MLS anthem will play again. Adekoya is likely to walk out to the embracing arms of thousands with a boom, a boom and a clap.

“It will be different in that yes, it will be in front of people I know and more people that want to see me succeed. It’s going to be a little more comforting, but at the same time a game is a game - no matter who is watching you have to play what’s on the field, play what you know, play for your team.”