Half a week into preseason is a little early for an non-intrateam scrimmage but one would still expect Sounders FC 2 to be competitive against a college team. They were unable to pull that off against Seattle University and were outmatched across much of the field.
In the first half S2 were largely unable to keep possession during the second stage of transition, with the ball often turning over upon reaching the attacking band of three. In the second half, possession deteriorated further as the defensive mids also struggled to hold onto the ball. To be fair, 9 of the 11 starters were new/unknown players, with Kyle Bjornethun (Playing CB) and Bryan Meredith the only recognizable players. In the end, the 2-0 score line was probably kind to S2. All of that aside there were some positives to take away from the match.
That part where you try to give someone a shout, but don’t know their name.
The two standout players for S2 in the first half were what one would probably describe as trialists. They were a quick left back sporting the number 58 and a big defensive mid wearing 55.
It is clear that the Sounders organization likes their left backs to be young and quick and “58” fits the mold. It appears to be a position they hope to derive width from for the foreseeable future. The most impressive thing about “58” was how good he was defensively and in possession. He looked a solid one-on-one defender, though he didn’t get many opportunities as Seattle University chose to mostly attack down the right and center-right. “58” showed great anticipation to make two incisive interceptions that should have resulted in dangerous counters. Where his best work happened was in attacking possession. For the last 15 minutes of the first half Bakie Goodman came in at left mid and provided “58” with a reasonable option to play off of. The two of them quickly threatened and worked a number of impressive one-twos down the left touch line. Hopefully the two of them will see a lot more time together this year.
The DM “55” is a player much in the vein of Osvaldo Alonso. A little sturdier than Ozzie, he was extremely strong with the ball at his feet, several times shrugging Redhawks off of him like it was nothing. He dropped back to get the ball a lot and proved to be a solid distributor. He also chose smart moments to make aggressive forward passes that, while none of them came off, were low-risk high-reward. “55” seemed to be positioned well defensively but did back off a bit too much when he should have been aggressive defensively. He was also dominate in the box when defending corners.
You want Goalies, we got Goalies. You want Keepers, well boy do we have Keepers.
Meredith was in goal for S2 and did his best to keep the score respectable. He made 3-4 great saves and did his best to keep his some what wandery CBs in place. He looks to be as good a 3rd choice goalkeeper as an MLS team could hope for.
I’ve got a 9, what do you have.
Seyi Adekoya came on midway through the second half and looked, athletically, like a man among boys. He was just too fast and strong for the Seattle University backline. He consistently won balls in the air, held the ball up, and all around looked like a bang on No. 9. His best moment came when he touched the ball around a SU defender and made up five yards in about 10. He would have been in on goal had he not been pulled down from behind by the last defender (who almost certainly would have been shown to the locker room had it not been a scrimmage). Adekoya looks like he could have a future as an out and out striker at the MLS level.
But we spent all these draft picks...
The most disappointing performances of the night came from two centerbacks. Both Bjornethun and first-round pick Brian Nana-Sinkam looked and played too small. To add to that, neither of them looked comfortable passing out of the back. Bjornethun in particular accentuated his muted ability in the air by consistently pushing up only to lose aerial battles and leave huge open spaces in behind. Nana-Sinkam made several positional and mental mistakes, one of which contributed directly to the Redhawks’ second goal when he gave their player easy access to the inside on a break when he could have easily directed him away from goal. Those errors can be fixed but he needs to be much closer to perfect mentally if he is going to make up for his size and compete at the professional level.
S2 have two remaining preseason matches scheduled. On March 12 they take on The University of Portland at 7:00 PM and on March 18 they meet Oregon State at 1:00 PM. Both matches will be at Starfire.