Brian Schmetzer used this match to build endurance on about half the top end of his roster and to test a diamond 4-4-2. In this developmental game the Seattle Sounders triumphed 2-1 behind goals by Cristian Roldan and Handwalla Bwana. It was Bwana’s second of the preseason. Diego Valeri scored the Portland Timbers only goal.
Jordan Morris looked great up top with a second forward. His speed and ability to roam into wider spaces enabled Seattle to get into the attack frequently. No, he didn’t score, but he likely had the best game among the starters.
Jordy Delem and Harry Shipp are built for a diamond. Both players looked more than adequate in their roles today. As the lone DM Delem did well, both moving the ball forward and limited the counters. Shipp is an ideal shuttler and his late runs caused trouble too.
The kids look good. Handwalla Bwana is taking all expectations, rolling them into a ball and kicking them into goal. He’s great. Most of the rest of the Academy/S2 guys did fine or better.
But it wasn’t all good. Will Bruin had a quiet night. Rodrigue Ele lacked the speed to keep up with Portland’s youngsters. Seyi Adekoya was great getting into space, but his ability to score is still lacking.
Check the Highlights
Diego Valeri splits the defense to get an open header on goal. The reigning MVP is quite good (plays for a bad team though).
Eventually teams are going to figure out that they need to mark Handwalla Bwana. The kid scored his second of preseason.
1st half lineup (4-diamond-2): Frei; Francis, Alfaro, Marshall, Leerdam; Delem; Shipp, Roldan; Lodeiro; Morris, Bruin
2nd half lineup (4-diamond-2, then 4-2-3-1): Frei (Brown); Francis (Brisco), Alfaro (Ele), Marshall (McGlothan), Leerdam (Ulysee); Delem (Saari); Shipp (Teves), Roldan (Serrano); Lodeiro (Mathers); Morris (Bwana), Bruin (Adekoya)
Brisco, Teves, and Serrano are from the Academy. Ele, Ulysee, and Saari are S2 direct signings. Brown and McGlothan are trialists/guest players. Mathers, Bwana and Adekoya are all on MLS contracts.
Seattle is playing a closed door scrimmage at 11 a.m. Sunday. Most of their other starters will get 60+ minutes then so that they can be as close to match fit as possible for the Feb. 22 CONCACAF Champions league match against Santa Tecla.