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Sounders 2 unable to get result against Sacramento Republic

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Though they looked good for large stretches S2 again fails to put together a full 90 minutes.

Felix Chenkam celebrates his goal.
Kayla Mehring/Sounder at Heart

TACOMA — While there is no doubt that Seattle Sounders FC 2 fared better in this match up against Sacramento Republic FC than their previous one, it was a bit frustrating all the same. Despite a weekend kickoff and spectacular weather Cheney was unable to replicate the sell-out crowd, and the home field advantage that comes with it, it saw on opening night. And even though they were the better side for a lot of the game, S2 were unable to hold on to a result, losing 2-1 on a late goal.

Things started out rough for S2, with Sacramento coming close to scoring twice in the opening five minutes. In the 1’ Bryan Meredith mishandled a through ball and could have easily spilled it into the path of a Sacramento player but S2 were just able to clear it. Then in the 5’ Rodrigue Ele was dispossessed in a dangerous area and only a fantastic 50 yard recovery run from Francisco Narbon kept Sacramento from being in one on one with Meredith.

S2 finally got a hold of the ball in the 8’ and quickly threatened the Sacramento goal. After a seeing-eye back heel from Felix Chenkam released Shandon Hopeau down the field, the former Hawai’i resident played a one-two with Dylan Teves. Unfortunately he was not quite able to control the return pass and Sacramento cleared the ball away in the six-yard-box.

From there, S2 had most of the good possession in the first half but lacked the creativity, especially in the middle, to really threaten the Sacramento goal. They were punished for their inability to capitalize on their possession in the 41’ when Sacramento scored the game’s opening goal. Both Nick Hinds and Ibrahim Usman got caught way too far inside, which left Mitch Taintor in miles of space when Jeremy Hall found him with a cross field ball. This gave Taintor the ball with only the goalkeeper to beat. Meredith left the near post wide open to make the chance an easy finish from what should have been a difficult angle.

Sacramento dominated the game early in the second half, with S2 not able to mount any serious attacks for the first 15 minutes. Things changed drastically though when David Estrada came in for David Olsen. Estrada’s movement behind Chenkam was much better and he did well to move the ball quickly when he received it. This sped up S2’s tempo considerably and they almost immediately benefitted.

In the 61’ S2 evened the score. Narbon played a nice through ball to Nick Hinds who sped toward the box. His cross in was deflected but an onrushing Chenkam was able to beat everyone to the free ball in the box. He hit it first time and was able to squeeze it under Josh Cohen.

S2 continued to get the ball in dangerous positions for the next 20 minutes but couldn’t quite find the right final pass to create another goal. They were again punished for their inability to turn possession into a goal. As S2 began to tire, Sacramento got back into the game and in the 82’ they added their second goal. Villyan Bijev got the ball deep in the box and put a right footed shot off the post. The ball than hit off the back of a diving Meredith and trickled just over the goal line to give Sacramento the lead on an own goal.

The young S2 side struggled in their search for an equalizer in the waning minutes but almost equalized with their last touch in one moment of near brilliance. Dylan Teves found Denso Ulysse wide open in the box with a clever cross field ball. Ulysse then hit a first time volleyed ball across the six-yard-box. It looked like Chenkam might be able to volley the ball into a wide open net but as he attempted the acrobatic shot his foot slipped on the temporary in-field grass and the chance to rescue a point passed S2 by.

S2’s next chance to get a win at Cheney will be next Saturday when they face off against T2 at 5 PM.