To beat the Oklahoma City Energy, Seattle Sounders 2 needed to score goals and stop the on-fire OKC string-puller José Barril. They tried a bit too hard at the former and ended up accomplishing neither. S2 dominated in possession and controlled the tempo of the game for long stretches, but Tony Alfaro’s tendency to push way too high when both full backs were also up field left Rodrigue Ele outnumbered over and over again. He did as well as could be expected, and more, but ultimately couldn’t stop OKC by himself in the back.
To add to these struggles, even when Nick Hinds and Jordan McCrary stayed back, they just weren’t good enough defensively, and Hugh Alexander Dixon and Barril took turns tearing S2 up down the wings. All of this together saw S2 look the better side for most of the first half and parts of the second, but still lose in resounding fashion 3-0 to OKC.
After the requisite warming up period that all S2 games seem to have, it looked like the Tacoma side would be, and should have been, the first to score tonight. In the 14’ Shandon Hopeau did well to dribble into the box and get off an excellently placed shot. While it lacked power, it looked well placed enough to beat the keeper, but Cody Laurendi got down to his right with amazing speed and pawed the shot away. The rebound fell to Hopeau though, and he got off another shot that Laurendi did well to get up quickly and stop from beating him high and left. Again the rebound fell to Hopeau, and before he could get off his third shot he was clearly brought down in the box. The ref missed what was as obvious a call as their is, though, and pointed for a goal kick instead of to the spot.
Despite the bad luck, S2 really dug into the game after the missed call and held onto most of the possession for the remainder of the half. Unfortunately, they made a lot of strange decisions with their shape and left themselves constantly open to the counter. After a few of these counters were rebuffed by Ele, it was ultimately a set piece that saw S2 come undone. Barril stepped up to take a corner kick and simply picked out OKC’s most dangerous goal scorer, Christian Volesky, who beat everyone to the ball and headed in a rocket from six yards out.
Still S2 hung tight for the rest of the half, despite continued forays foward by Alfaro, and got in to the locker room down just one goal.
After some slightly improved defensive play in the first third of the second half, S2 were let down, as they have been many times this season, by some poor goalkeeping from Calle Brown. After OKC sent a set play chance well past the back post, the ball was hit miles in the air. Brown had plenty of time to get under the ball, but just, well, dropped it in his own six-yard-box. It fell to Adam Jahn’s feet and the striker tapped it in to put OKC up 2-0.
After their second goal, OKC took control of the game. S2 struggled to see any of the ball for nearly 20 minutes, but after Jahn spoiled a beautiful early cross from Barril, the energy provided by substitutes Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez, Antonee Burke-Gilroy and Ray Serrano saw S2 start to threaten deep in OKC territory. They just couldn’t quite find the final ball though, and after a beautiful slip pass from Barril saw OKC grab their third in the 78’, the brief spell of verve from S2 fizzled out.
With S2’s energy, so went the game as neither team threatened for the final 10+ minutes, and the game ended 3-0. The was a lot to like from the young S2 side, but they just couldn’t stop the one OKC player they needed to and they paid for it.