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Canada ruins playoff plan for U23 Sounders

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U23s fall to 1-5-0 in Canada in 2017

The Seattle Sounders U23s went into their last two matches looking to make the playoffs. Sadly, TSS Rovers and the Victoria Highlanders had other ideas. The U23s also needed help in other stadiums to get over that line, but that help did not come, even if they had helped themselves.

The U23s started the trip by heading up north to Swangard Stadium to play TSS Rovers. TSS struck twice taking a 2-0 lead into halftime. In the second half, the U23s fought back to make it a match. Goals from Vince McClusky, of Tacoma Stars fame, and Stian Sandbekkhaug brought the U23s back into the match. However, in stoppage time TSS found the winning goal. This 3-2 result eliminated the U23s from playoff contention, regardless of other results.

With playoffs out of the question, the U23s then traveled to Victoria to play the Highlanders. Victoria struck first and headed into the halftime break up 1-0. The U23s seemed to play better in the second half, but Victoria scored again. About 8 minutes later, Eddie Na banged one in for the U23s to bring the score to 2-1. That line remained on the scoreboard at full time, and saw the U23s fall to 1-6-0 on the road this season.

The U23 roster will now split up for the offseason. Some players will go back to college and continue development there. Others will move up to USL. Three of the U23s will be training with S2 this week, according to Darren Sawatzky.

With the U23s’ loss to TSS, Portland and Calgary each claimed a playoff spot, although those teams were still battling to see who would win the division and host the playoff match to determine who would go on to the Conference Semifinals. If Open Cup qualifying rules remain the same for 2018, the Sounders U23s will qualify.

Calgary tied Victoria in their final match of the regular season. That left the door open for the Timbers U23s to take the divisional crown. The Timbers took that open door and ran right through it, earning a 3-0 win over Lane United to seal the division crown and host Calgary in the playoff game. That match took place July 18, with the Timbers U23s winning 3-0 and advancing to the 2017 PDL Conference Championships. The Timbers were eliminated by FC Golden State Force in the first round of the Conference Championships, losing 3-1.

With that, I am out until Tacoma Stars season. Speaking of which, stay tuned for details of a “interesting signing,” according to Stars/U23s GM and Coach Sawatzky. So for now, it is a see ya and a big ol’ GO Sounders from me!