Rather than break down the individual players after the 4-0 win by the Seattle Sounders FC U18s and the 5-0 win by the U-16s this entry is going to talk about the seeds of "Sounders soccer." Because the current 18-year olds are several years into their Academy training and during that time only Sigi Schmid coached the First Team with very little coaching changes from the MLS side down through the youth ranks there is starting to be an identity in how the club plays.
The first goal is a perfect example of this. Just four minutes into the match Seyi Adekoya pounced on a poor pass on the edge of the 18, deftly dribbled and slotted him his one-on-one with the keeper. That high pressure continued throughout both matches. During the U16 match that pressure was so high that San Juan had difficulty passing back to the keeper as the lane was cut-off.
Goals kept coming. In the the first half of the U18 match Duncan McCormick played as the higher CM with a band of three in front of him. Satoshi Chaffin was the central man. Together those two pushed the ball forward as quickly as possible. They used a transition game that rapidly emptied the central third and got into the attack.
Once in the attacking third Seattle showed more patience. Since they had a quality advantage they were willing to get numbers forward and choose their shots with intent. That did lead to some over-passing situations at the top of the 18, something which happens at the MLS level too often as well, but they did not take long shots merely to keep the defenders honest. Instead they probed and passed to earn space.
Defensively the Academy (again at both levels) sat with one defensive mid. Both fullbacks exploded forward into attack sometimes leaving just two CBs and the CDM back. One fullback tended to be more about looping long balls towards either a target forward or a running flank player while the other would cut and slash through defenses to break through with dribbles and runs.
Throughout the pitch and two Seattle sides there was a concerted effort to touch pass when under pressure and advance the ball if given space, even if that space was given to a centerback.
Now with a full-time U-13/14/15 coach (Marc Nicholls) the organization will have six years to mold their future. They are doing it with an intent to show a certain style of play that requires a combination of American athleticism and soccer techniques.
From the club -
Academy Update: Sounders Win Big at Starfire
The Sounders FC Academy teams both earned big victories last weekend over the San Juan Soccer Club at Starfire Sports in Tukwila, Wash. The U-18s recorded their third-straight win with a 4-nil victory over San Juan SC. David Olsen scored a brace to up his total to a team-leading seven goals this season and Seyi Adekoya added a late tally for his sixth goal of the campaign. The win marked the second consecutive 4-0 game for the U-18s after they beat Real So Cal on February 9. The U-18s (8-3-4, 28 points) currently sit third in the Northwest Division.
The U-16 team also recorded a shutout victory over San Juan SC on Saturday, winning 5-0 to extend the team's unbeaten run to four games (3-0-1). The shutout marked the second-straight clean sheet for the U-16s (9-3-3, 30 points), who sit second in the Northwest Division.
Both teams continue USSDA play on Friday, February 28 against Nomads SC at Starfire Sports. The U-18s kick off at 5 p.m. with the U-16s to follow at 7:30 p.m. The sides will also host San Diego Surf on Sunday, March 2, with the U-18s scheduled for 11 a.m. and the U-16s at 1:30 p.m.
For those who were at the game who stood out and why?