TACOMA — A combination of injuries, suspensions and squad rotation saw Seattle Sounders 2 put out a somewhat makeshift lineup for their Wednesday night match up against a surging St. Louis FC. John Hutchinson’s now familiar 3-4-2-1 featured a majority of First Teamers and Academy players, with the two wing backs, Denso Ulysse and Nick Hinds, the only players with more than 10 starts for S2 this season. Despite their unfamiliarity with each other the players were able to come together after some early trials (which included allowing St. Louis’s most dangerous scorer, Kyle Greig, an easy goal from a corner) to limit St. Louis to just one goal and come from behind to earn a 1-1 draw via Antonee Burke-Gilroy’s second goal since joining the club.
The match started out a fair bit rough for S2 as they struggled to find some chemistry, especially along the backline. In the opening 10 minutes they had trouble keeping track of runners in and around the 18. This saw St. Louis with several solid chances deep in the box, the closest of which clearly had Bryan Meredith beat only to hit off the outside of the post, but they were unable to capitalize on S2’s early stumbling.
As the backline settled in a bit, S2 started to get out on the break through the power and speed of Henry Wingo. Unfortunately, with the backline provisional, the wing backs and defensive midfielders were usually pinned back helping the centerbacks, which left Wingo with Lamar Neagle as his only target. Neagle was unable to provide the quality of run needed for these 2v3 and 2v2 breaks to result in a goal or even dangerous chances. With S2 unable to capitalize St. Louis struck first.
In 26’ a bad turnover in the S2 defensive third gave St. Louis a wide open chance with only Meredith to beat. Stefan Frei’s backup was up to the task and made an excellent low diving save to push the chance out for a corner. S2 were unable to solidify this moment of brilliance from Meredith though, as they conceded sloppily on the ensuing corner. Corey Hertzog sent in a low ball that passed though the S2 6-yard-box untouched and onto the right foot of Greig who easily guided his shot into the net from three yards out.
Despite the frustrating concession, S2 showed some of the new found luck and resilience they have procured in recent weeks at Cheney Field and evened the tally 11 minutes later. In 37’ a heavily deflected cross found its way to Hinds at the top of the box and the Akron alum lined up for a shot. He mishit his chance but with some of the aforementioned luck his shanked shot turned into a great pass to Burke-Gilroy who controlled the ”pass” well with his first touch and with his second guided the ball just inside the right post to make it 1-1.
St. Louis started the second half the same way they did the first and were dominant in the opening moments after the break, but again were unable to capitalize on their early chances. This time S2 settled down much quicker and were soon holding possession for long periods of time.
However, despite looking dangerous, S2 found themselves constantly rebuffed by the St. Louis defense as they tried to enter the 18. Unable to capitalize on this long stretch of possession, the younger S2 side appeared to tire as the game approached its end and were unable to escape their own end much in the final 10 minutes. They faced a barrage of set pieces and it looked like they would again concede late and drop points. But buoyed by Meredith’s confident control of his area they were able to see the game to its end and earn their first draw at Cheney Stadium.