Seattle Sounders 2 got their second session of the 2017 preseason underway at Starfire this week. The practice functioned quite a bit differently from the Sounders practices I attended this preseason. This was a much more regimented experience for the players and the first hour was spent doing different one and two touch passing drills. New assistant coach John Hutchinson’s Aussie accent could be heard barking out instructions and critiques throughout.
From my count there were a total of 31 players present, a far cry from the three currently signed, and while some are Academy, I would expect a lot of signings by S2 in the next 2-3 weeks. Among the players in participation were Sounders’ draft picks Bakie Goodman and Kyle Bjornethun. Absent were their draftmates Jake Stovall and Dominic Oduro. Stovall signed with Puerto Rico FC of the NASL earlier this week and it wouldn’t be a surprise if Oduro opts to return to Denmark. There were also several Academy players in attendance with Sounders preseason participants Jake Morris, Azriel Gonzalez and Sam Rogers all looking in fine form. The other Academy player present that I recognized was Milo Barton, son of former England National Team and Newcastle United defender Warren Barton. He played with S2 last year so I would expect to see him again this year.
After a short break at the hour mark the coaches called the players back together to play in a series of short sided 6v6 scrimmages. The refrain from the coaches throughout practice was for the players to limit their touches and communicate. These cramped, speedy games on a 40-yard field were a perfect way to drive the point home.
There were a few players that stuck out during these final scrimmages. Gonzalez continued to show that he is a gifted and calm finisher, though he and Barton could not stay out of each other’s way when on the same team. There was a new defender whom I did not recognize who was very impressive in tight spaces as well as a new forward with some impressive ball and body control. Jake Morris was much more vocal at this practice and looked to take a bit of a leadership role.
All in all it was pretty obvious that most of the players were still getting a feel for each other and it was hard to pick out any standouts. I look forward to seeing who emerges from the pack of unknowns in the next two weeks.
S2 will face Seattle University in Seattle at 4 PM this Sunday in their first preseason matchup. The game will be on Championship Field.