Coach John Hutchinson sent Seattle Sounders 2 out in a new-to-the-team 3-4-2-1 formation. It started out working very well, mostly due to Denso Ulysse’s ability to cover two positions on the right side, but ultimately injuries, inexperience and fatigue caused it to fall apart at the seams and S2 eventually fell 2-1 to Reno 1868 FC.
It looked like Reno had taken the early in the 5’ when a diagonal ball in beat Khai Brisco and Brian Brown headed it into the goal. Luckily for S2, the goal was called back for offside and they were able to tighten things up in the back after that early scare.
After that both sides struggled to progress into the final third until S2 took the 1-0 lead in the 18’. Ray Saari surged forward to latch on to a loose ball. He then continued his run forward and found David Estrada running free into the box. Saari’s pass led Estrada nicely, and the veteran forward expertly threaded his shot between a Reno defender and the goalkeeper into the far side of the net.
After the goal S2 continued to look strong at the back and looked the more likely to score, but they were hit with a setback in the 40’ when Saari went down with what looked to be a hamstring injury and had to be removed from the match. Reno then ran into some bad luck of their own when Lindo Mfeka was sent off for a second yellow after putting a cleat into Estrada’s back.
Reno came out attacking in the second half despite being down a man. They started attacking down S2’s left, taking advantage of the fact that S2 didn’t really have anyone functioning as a left back or even wingback. S2 really felt the loss of Saari and the all teenage band of four just couldn’t hold down their defensive duties.
In the 57’ things really started to fall apart and S2 began to be torn apart by Reno’s counter every couple of minutes. Reno broke through in the 58’ when a tired Rodrigue Ele mistimed a header and Brown blew by him and was in free on goal. Brisco was just about able to catch Brown, but his last-ditch tackle caught to much of the forward and the ref rightly called a PK. Seth Casiple put the kick from the spot away to even it up 1-1.
In the 70’ just about everything fell apart for S2, as Reno scored just about the easiest goal you will see. Ulysse and Estrada miscommunicated on the right side and no one stopped Duke Lacroix from running down the sideline with the ball. The rest of the midfield was nowhere to be seen and Sam Rogers reacted to the play slowly, which let Lacroix hit an uncontested cross from the side of the 18-yard box. Ele than attempted to catch Brown offside but was unable to do so, which left Brown wide open at the top of the six. Lacroix put in the perfect ball and Brown easily headed it by Calle Brown to take the 2-1 lead.
After that S2 threw everything forward in a desperate attempt to come away with a point, but Reno bunkered and S2 just didn’t have the creativity needed to break down Reno’s defenses and the match ended with Reno leading 2-1.