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Backline struggles doom Sounders 2 to loss against Orange County SC

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Vic Mansaray and Charles Renken put in good performances amidst team wide difficulties.

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

This was a rough game from Seattle Sounders FC 2. It should have been a game they could win; being at home, with a lot of the first choice lineup against a team low in the table. Unfortunately, the back 6 had a bad game. Both Rodrigue Ele and Francisco Narbón had their worst games of the year and the two U16 outside backs, Khai Brisco and Christian Koontz, looked out of their depth. S2 were lucky to only give up two goals in the first half. Tukwila’s own lost 2-1 on the night.

Orange County Soccer Club got their first goal in the 16’ when Ele made an ill advised tackle attempt near the top of the 18. This allowed Gustavo Villalobos to glide past him into open space. This left Brisco with two players to guard. Unfortunately, he froze a bit and ended up marking neither. This left Villalobos an easy pass to put Wuilito Fernandes in on goal. Left one on one with Brian Meredith, Fernandes beat him with a well taken effort to the back post.

Though they were continually under pressure in the first half S2 managed to get the next goal off of a long throw-in in the 30’. Irvin Parra put in a gargantuan throw that found the head of David Olsen in the far corner of the six-yard box. Olsen did well with it and hit a looping header over the outstretched hand of Charlie Lyon.

S2 could only keep the game even for a few minutes though and allowed Orange County to score in the 37’. Fernandes found himself wide open on the end of a cross at the back post. He did well to head it down and back across goal. Meredith was unable to adjust in time and Monday Etim was able to knock the ball into the net from a yard out.

Things did get better defensively for S2 in the second half, with Ele appearing to adjust his game to some of Brisco’s positional eccentricities. But, while they were able to keep Orange County scoreless in the second half, they were unable to conjure the offensive punch necessary to even the score. The game ended as the first half did, Orange County 2-1 S2.

Lineup

Bryan Meredith; Khai Brisco, Brian Nana-Sinkam, Rodrigue Ele, Christian Koontz; Ray Saari (Lorenzo Ramos 64'), Francisco Narbon, Zach Mathers, Charles Renken (Victor Mansaray 73'), David Olsen (Seyi Adekoya 64'); Irvin Parra

Notable Performers

Charles Renken (AM)

On a day when the S2 offense sputtered a bit, Renken was the only consistent danger. He played as wide as a Sounder attacking player has played in quite a while. As soon as S2 had the ball on offense Renken took up the same spot on, or even beyond, the right hand sideline and on the edge of Orange County’s backline. Orange County could not seem to solve Renken’s excellently timed runs and he was able to get behind the back line over and over again.

He needs to improve his decision making and crossing a bit when he gets in behind but the consistency with which he got into very dangerous positions was impressive. Renken staying so wide also solved one of S2’s formational problems. When Zach Mathers is playing in the center of the band of three things tend to get crowded and he is often on top of or in the way of the striker. But with Renken so wide there was tons of room for both Mathers and Irvin Parra to operate. It is a promising improvement for future games.

Victor Mansaray (FWD)

Having just returned from an unsuccessful loan stint with FC Cincinnati, Mansaray got his first time with S2, coming on for Renken in the 73’. He looked very good. He seems to have put on some muscle since last year and his holdup play was excellent. He is very good at picking out dangerous passes with his back to goal. The #9 spot in the Sounders 4-2-3-1 might be the ideal position for Mansaray’s skills. Cinci deployed him out wide a lot so it really isn’t surprising that he struggled. He will need to learn to be a bit more flexible positionally but for now he will be an instant upgrade for S2 up top.

First Team call up power rankings

  1. Ray Saari (-)
  2. Irvin Parra (-)
  3. Rodrigue Ele (-)
  4. Sam Rogers (-)
  5. Lorenzo Ramos (-)