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New formation fails second trial, S2 lose 2-0

The 3-4-2-1 that worked so well last week struggled against a compact St. Louis FC.

After it’s success in Tacoma against Vegas last week, Seattle Sounders 2 again lined up in a 3-4-2-1 to face St. Louis FC in Missouri. What worked so well against a wide open Vegas side, left S2 rather impotent offensively against a more disciplined and compact St. Louis (who were also playing a 3-4-3 variation) side.

The formation just didn’t balance enough creativity for S2 to break through St. Louis’s lines and their press was not good enough to rattle St. Louis or create turnovers. After St. Louis scored two early goals, S2 just didn’t have the energy to make the formation work. Lamar Neagle did draw a penalty late but David Estrada missed the kick. If he had made it, they might have been able to push for another, but the miss drained them of their remaining enthusiasm and S2 limped to a 2-0 loss. The formation was solid defensively and if it weren’t for some shaky goalkeeping they could have left Missouri with a 0-0 draw.

S2 started the game very poorly, struggling to string any passes together or make St. Louis’s possession difficult. They just couldn’t get out of their own half and subsequently they broke early. In the 3’ St. Louis sent a speculative lofted vertical ball into the box. Kyle Culbertson got on to it and sent a decent header towards the goal. It should have been a fairly easy catch or parry for Calle Brown but he was slightly out of position and reacted to it a bit slow. This meant he was scrambling when he blocked the ball and directed the rebound right back into the path of Culbertson. From there it was easy for St. Louis as Culbertson found Kyle Greig who passed it into the open net to make it 1-0.

After the first 10 minutes S2 got a bit more into the game and started to string together some passes. But really the two 3-4-3 variants effectively neutralized each other in the attacking third and neither side made any serious forays into the box for the remainder of the half. Unfortunately for S2, St. Louis didn’t need to get in the box to score another.

In the 25’ Austin Ledbetter got a pass from Wal Fall about even with the right post 25 yards from goal. He turned and no one closed him down so he sent in a speculative curler which beat Brown. It looked like one Brown should stop from that distance but he appeared to be shading towards the wrong side of goal and was unable to recover in time. St. Louis took the 2-0 lead to half.

S2 had their best 10 minutes coming out of the second half. Their press briefly worked, so they were able to catch St. Louis out a couple of times. Their best chance in those 10 minutes came in the 53’ when Estrada played Henry Wingo in behind with a nice little through ball. With just the keeper to beat Wingo hit his first time shot directly into said keeper.

The game then settled into the same state it was for the latter parts of the first half. Both sides good defensively, but not brave or creative enough to break down the opponent. It briefly looked like S2 might make a game of it late when Neagle drew a penalty with a clever cut back move, but Estrada hit the penalty poorly and it was an easy save and clear for St. Louis.

So the game would end like that, a gridlocked defensive grind pierced by two S2 mistakes. 0-0 turned 2-0 and another S2 loss in the Ti’Swaq sized pile accumulating.