On Saturday Seattle Sounders FC 2 came up against San Antonio FC, who are by far the best team in the league, who they had recently lost to and who are brutal on the counter attack. In their first meeting S2 played right into San Antonio’s hands, holding most of the possession and allowing San Antonio to patiently wait for the right moment to catch S2 out of position and punish them with their incisive counter attack. S2 allowed San Antonio to play exactly the game they wanted.
The team and Coach Ezra Hendrickson appear to have learned a lesson from that first meeting and on Saturday night were able to force San Antonio to play the game in a fashion that was uncomfortable for them. S2 sat back and dared San Antonio to break them down. It was a gamble, but Hendrickson trusted his players to stay disciplined and compact and it payed off. S2 held San Antonio scoreless and earned an extremely respectable road point.
The first real action of note didn’t come until the 18’ when Billy Forbes flicked a San Antonio corner towards the back post to a waiting Akwafei Ajeakwa. Tyler Miller did well to quickly get over to that side of the goal and made a great reaction save on Ajeakwa’s point blank effort.
After that save S2 did a good job limiting San Antonio’s chances until the 43’ when Miller again had to come up big. The back line broke from the game plan a bit and both CBs seemed to be pulled up the field. This allowed Forbes to get behind the line. He brought the ball down well and struck the ball cleanly, but Miller was able to get down and parry the ball out of the danger area.
S2 asserted their first real offensive pressure of the game at the start of the second half. For the first 15 minutes or so they were consistently in the attacking third and had a couple of good scoring chances. In the 54’ Irvin Parra made a nice turn to set S2 off on a bit of a break. He was able to find Shandon Hopeau wide open running towards the back post, but Hopeau took too many touches and ended up having his shot blocked.
Seattle’s best chance of the night came in the 71’. San Antonio turned the ball over to David Olsen near the top of their own 18. Olsen took a few touches to get himself an angle and let off a rocket that beat the goalie but not the post.
Olsen’s chance was really the last moment of interest in the match. Not much happened after that. San Antonio got off some speculative shots but they all went wide and Miller looked to have them covered. S2 closed up shop pretty tight the last 20 minutes and did so very well. The 0-0 scoreline was absolutely a fair result in the end and a great accomplishment for the young S2 side.
Tyler Miller; Denso Ulysse, Rodrigue Ele, Sam Rogers, Brian Nana-Sinkam; Lorenzo Ramos, Ray Saari, Francisco Narbon, Shandon Hopeau (Azriel Gonzalez 61'); David Olsen (Jamie Dimitroff 76'), Irvin Parra (Jackson Ragen 89')
Rodrigue Ele (CB)
S2’s newest centerback had, by far, his best game with the team. He appears to be getting settled in and his true potential is beginning to come to the fore. He was very smart to get up into the bodies of Forbes and Ajeakwa early. Both are used to getting their chances in the open field and Ele’s ability to close the space in front of them and be physical seemed to unsettle them. Consequently, Ajeakwa never got into the game and Forbes was forced to try and attack around the outside. Ele also did well covering for the oft out of position Denso Ulysse and was superb at evaluating where the most dangerous space he needed to eat up was located.
He did make a few poor passes and still needs to raise his passing percentage, which was 68%, with only four attempted long balls. He didn’t make any dangerous passes but he needs to be more accurate with his short balls regardless.
Ele ended the game with 2 tackles, 5 clearances, 2 interceptions and 7 won duels.
Lorenzo Ramos (RM)
Ramos was another player who had far and away his best game of the season. He was all over the place early, pressuring the San Antonio backline one second and slotting into his own the next. Along with Ele, Ramos was one of the main reasons Forbes remained stymied. It seemed like every time Forbes was forced out wide Ramos would be there harrying him and preventing a cross. It left Forbes nowhere to go.
Throughout the second half almost all of S2’s dangerous attacks came through Ramos down the right side. He was very clean on the ball and excellent at connecting play. Ramos ended the game with a stellar 93% passing percentage and was the main reason S2 were able to keep a semblance of possession in the 2nd half.
Tyler Miller (GK)
After struggling in his last appearance two weeks ago Tyler Miller came in and gave a great performance on Saturday. He made two fantastic saves (see above), the first of which showed his elite reflexes. But it was his control of the box and distribution that were really impressive against San Antonio.
Miller made good, strong punches in traffic on several corners and in the 23’ he was super quick off his line to catch a ball at its highest point near the edge of the box. That is a situation where he has hesitated in the past and if he can consistently prowl his box with that level of confidence he may just put a bit of pressure on Frei.
Miller also improved his distribution in this game and is wisely taking advantage of his powerful and accurate throwing arm. He completed pinpoint long throws in the 23’, 60’ and 65’. He does need to gain a bit of composure when he receives a back pass. He still kicked the ball long a little to often when there were better options.
First Team call up power rankings
- Ray Saari (-)
- David Olsen (-)
- Sam Rogers (-)
- Francisco Narbón (-)
- Felix Chenkam (-)
- Academy player Jackson Ragen got his first minutes with S2.