Down in Southern California for the week, the Seattle Sounders ended their first phase of preseason with a match against Club Tijuana’s U20s. The Sounders First Team handled the youngsters in a 3-1 victory using mixed lineups including a trialist, all three draftees and a couple of their own youth playing up from S2 on the squad.
The story, without a doubt, was the performance by recent Homegrown Player signing Handwalla Bwana. The Academy and UW product notched a goal and an assist in a strong 45 minutes in the first half.
GOALS, GOALS, GOALS!— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) January 28, 2018
Bwana, Rodríguez shine in 3-1 scrimmage victory over Club Tijuana's U-20s. pic.twitter.com/IFiQLPpAKp
The headed goal came from a cross from trialist Jordan McCrary, not something Bwana is known for. It was well placed but not particularly forceful, hitting the underside of the crossbar and crossing the line.
But his assist is everything that fans should like about his promise. It started with an interception by Bwana. He then dribbled toward goal just escaping pressure. His cut-back pass to Clint Dempsey is exactly what you want to see. Clint is often in that space that gets vacated by retreating defenses. If Bwana can demonstrate that type of vision and passing early it bodes well for his chances at First Team time.
Seattle’s other goal was a classic demonstration of how Nicolas Lodeiro and Victor Rodriguez can work together to tear a retreating defense apart. The sequence started with Rodriguez beating his defender on the outside and feeding Lodeiro near the top of the box. Lodeiro put Rodriguez in on goal with the next touch, and Rodriguez easily beat the goalkeeper.
Lineup: Frei (Meredith 46’); McCrary (Leerdam 46’), Torres (Rogers 39’, Fjortfoft 46’), Alfaro (Marshall 46’), Francis (Bared 46’); Svensson (Delem 46’), Shipp (A.Roldan 46’); Mathers (Wingo 46’, Saari 83’), Dempsey (Lodeiro 46’), Bwana (Rodriguez 46’); Bruin (Chenkam 46’)
Morris and C.Roldan will play with the USMNT Sunday evening. Fisher is with Jamaica right now. Alonso, Adekoya and Nouhou were the only First Team players in Chula Vista that did not play.