With a close to first choice lineup Seattle Sounders FC 2 headed to Canada Saturday to face a struggling, though Cascadia dominant, Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2. From the very start WFC2’s game plan was clear; they were going to try and bully S2 off of the pitch. WFC2 ended the game called for 21 fouls, though they committed many more, and were miraculously issued only 4 Yellow Cards. They committed two straight Red worthy fouls and could have had a couple more sent off with second yellows. But, alas, they managed to end the game with all 11 men on the field.
S2 were not deterred by the physicality of the match and patiently waited for moments where they could show their quality and punish WFC2. S2 never looked in danger of conceding and were able to score 2 of their 3 shots on goal. The final score was only 2-0, but Vancouver are lucky it wasn’t much worse.
Ray Saari got the scoring started in the 31’. A poor WFC2 clearance sent the ball looping up into the air towards the edge of the box. In tons of space, Saari had plenty of time to line up his shot, which he volleyed into the ground. It then took a huge deflection off of a WFC2 player and drifted past a wrong footed Spencer Richey comically slowly.
S2’s second goal came from a beautiful bit of play between Zach Mathers, Lorenzo Ramos and Charles Renken. The move started when Ramos found Renken open on the sideline. Renken then binged the ball off of Mathers and when he got it back released Ramos running up the field. Ramos’ first attempt to put Mathers in was blocked, but he got the ball back and was able to toe poke it into Mathers as he was destroyed by an WFC2 player. Mathers then struck the ball first time, sending it over the keeper into the upper right corner.
After their second goal S2 coasted to the finish line with ease, closing the game out as well as they have all season.
Bryan Meredith; Brian Nana-Sinkam, Rodrigue Ele, Sam Rogers, Riley Grant; Lorenzo Ramos, Ray Saari (Francisco Narbon 67'); Charles Renken, Zach Mathers (David Olsen 67'), Shandon Hopeau (Azriel Gonzalez 77'); Irvin Parra
Lorenzo Ramos (CDM)
A month ago, the idea of splitting up the partnership of Saari and Narbón would have been ludicrous. Over the last 3 weeks the resurgence, or perhaps just the surgence, of Ramos has made that idea, at the very least, reasonable. The Narbón-Saari partnership is still the best defensive pairing in the league but the Saari-Ramos pairing has shown to be so good in possession that it may be better for certain games/game states.
Ramos was excellent moving the ball through midfield against WFC2. He had just three incomplete passes on the day and his decisions were quick and kept the ball moving. His off the ball movement has seriously improved, a great example of which was his well timed run up the field just before the Mathers goal. Ramos still needs to improve some defensively, but his positioning is good enough that he isn’t a liability.
Rodrigue Ele (CB)
Ele appears to be fully settled in his new home on and off the pitch and it is showing. The 19-year-old centerback absolutely bossed this game. He was incredible defensively, completely shutting down Myer Bevan. He had an impressive 5 tackles along with 7 clearances, 3 recoveries and an interception. He also won all 7 of his duels.
His ability to quickly transition the team from defense to offense was key for S2 in this game. Once he gets the ball he is quick with his passing and often bypasses the first line of defense from the opposition which allows the attacking players to strike before the opponent recovers fully. He ended the game with 77% passing and completed 10 of his 14 long passes.
First Team call up power rankings
- Ray Saari (-)
- Irvin Parra (-)
- Rodrigue Ele(↑1)
- Sam Rogers (↓1)
- Lorenzo Ramos (New)