Saturday night in Colorado Springs, Colo. was not the time for soccer. High winds made playing the ball through the air impractical and a bumpy field full of dead spots made play along the ground frustratingly inconsistent. It was no place for finesse, skill or fast breaks. Both teams struggled to put 4 passes together and for large parts it was more a battle for field position than anything else.
The first meaningful moment of the match came in the 18’ when Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC’s Pascal Eboussi jumped into a two footed tackle on David Olsen. The tackle didn’t look malicious in intent but Eboussi was rightfully sent off for dangerous play. Seattle Sounders FC 2 did well to immediately apply pressure on the newly undermanned Switchbacks and earned a penalty when a Ray Saari corner kick was handled in the box by the Colorado Springs in the 21’. Irvin Parra stepped up and confidently stroked the spot kick into the right side netting to make the score 1-0.
For the next 20 minutes S2 won the field possession battle handily (From 21’-40’ Tyler Miller had one touch while Moise Pouaty (Switchback GK) had 12) but were unable to get the ball into the net. In the 41’, during their first real spell of pressure since the S2 goal, Ricardo Perez got off a shot from inside the box which deflected off of Rodrigue Ele into the top corner to make it 1-1.
S2 came out in the second half clearly looking to put the game away and forward Felix Chenkam obliged with two clinical strikes. In the 51’, after Parra did well to drive into the box, the ball wiggled it’s way to Chenkam who curled it into the bottom left corner with his left foot to restore S2’s lead. Just minutes later, puffed up a bit by his recent goal, Chenkam took on an audacious shot from 30 yards out with his right foot. It too found the bottom left corner to make the scoreline 3-1.
Unfortunately, from about the 60’ minute on S2 settled pretty hard into a bunker. In the last 30 minutes S2 made 25 defensive actions in their own 18. During that same time the Switchbacks made only 10 defensive actions in their 18. S2 essentially ceded field position and almost paid dearly for it. In the 70’ Jordan Burt scored to shrink the lead to one. The Switchbacks continued to pin S2 back for the remainder of the match and only some late heroics by Tyler Miller saved the three points. It cannot be overstated how poorly S2 managed the end of the match and they will need to learn from this experience if they want to hold on to leads in future fixtures.
Tyler Miller; Denso Ulysse, Rodrigue Ele, Sam Rogers, Brian Nana-Sinkam; Ray Saari, Francisco Narbon; David Olsen, Shandon Hopeau (Lorenzo Ramos 75'), Irvin Parra (Riley Grant 86'); Felix Chenkam (Javorn Stevens 81').
Felix Chenkam (FWD)
Chenkam might be the surprise of the season for S2 so far. In just 3 starts he has managed to put the ball in the net 3 times. He is averaging a goal every 91 minutes. The next closest on S2 (min. 200’) is Zach Mathers with one goal every 180 minutes. At times it can feel like Chenkam isn’t doing a whole lot but don’t trust that feeling. When it comes time for him to be somewhere he is most often there. In previous matches he has shown that he can hold the ball up and make smart, dangerous runs into the box but he showed something new in Colorado. He showed that he can score from distance with both feet. As Chenkam’s skills continue to add up it is becoming harder and harder to not be excited about his potential.
Francisco Narbón (CDM)
After having a couple of off games Narbón really showed up for this one. He was a one man wrecking ball in the center of the pitch and made it impossible for the Switchbacks to transition through the middle. When Narbón is seeing the game like he did Saturday night I’m not sure there are many players with better anticipation than him. He was everywhere. Narbón ended the game with an impressive 7 tackles and 4 interceptions.
First Team call up power rankings
- Ray Saari (-)
- David Olsen (-)
- Sam Rogers (-)
- Francisco Narbón (-)
- Felix Chenkam (New)