On a night short on defense, footing and somehow goals, Seattle Sounders FC 2 were unable to extend their home unbeaten streak, falling to Phoenix Rising FC 1-0. From the start it was clear that S2 were hoping they could outgun the Western Conference’s most dynamic offense with an attacking lineup and first team reinforcements. With the rain coming down on a worn-out Cheney pitch it was not a night conducive to quick moves and final passes, and both sides struggled to put together attacking moves in the final third. Ultimately, Phoenix won by scoring early before the rain made the pitch nearly unplayable.
Early on Phoenix had the better of the ball and the chances, with S2 trying to be too fancy up top. The Arizona side found space on the wings and put in several dangerous crosses in the opening 5 minutes of the game, but luckily for S2 none connected. Seattle finally started to get into the game around the 8 minute mark, working the ball well down their right side, but were unable to reward well timed runs in behind from Denso Ulysse.
Phoenix soon regained the upper hand and scored the lone goal of the match in the 16th minute. After a solid last-ditch tackle from Nick Hinds in the box, a loose ball fell to Chris Cortez who blasted a low shot past Calle Brown.
In the moments after the goal it looked like the S2 midfield might get overrun by Phoenix, but after a few shaky minutes the skilled Seattle backline started to solve the Phoenix press which gave S2 several delayed break opportunities. Unfortunately S2 were again unable to execute the last pass or two, so Phoenix were able to hang onto the lead despite a spell of subpar defense.
By the half-hour mark play was wide open, with neither side bothering much with defense. Still, both sides struggled to pass in the 18-yard box.Seattle has their best chance of the half in the 32nd minute when Jesse Daley played a clever threaded through ball to Shandon Hopeau in the box. Unfortunately Hopeau’s attempt with the outside of his right boot drifted just a little too wide and through the chaos S2 remained down a goal.
As the half wore on both the pitch and the defending by both teams continued to deteriorate, but somehow neither side got another solid look at goal before halftime.
S2 came out of the locker room a bit disjointed and Phoenix almost made them pay for it in the 50th minute when Billy Forbes somehow got in behind the defense off of a weird loose ball, but Brown came up huge to smother the one-on-one chance and keep the deficit at one.
After that save the match slowed a bit, turning into a back-and-forth affair played mostly in the middle third. The next real chance again fell to Phoenix, after Brown attempted to punch away a long free kick but sent it into the back of his own player. The ball bounced twice in the six-yard box, but after a few moments of madness S2 were able to clear the ball to keep the game in reach.
Seattle finally got another dangerous chance in the 76th minute after Khai Brisco put in some excellent work to earn a free kick on the very edge of the box. Unfortunately, S2 wasted the chance with a bit of playground trickery that Phoenix was able to quickly smother.
Just a few minutes later, Brisco again earned a free kick on the very edge of the area, this time at the top of the box instead of to the side. This gave David Olsen a chance to put a shot on frame, which he did well with a powerful effort that looked to be dipping just below the crossbar, but Phoenix’s goalkeeper did just a little bit better and palmed away the shot.
As S2 began to up the pressure they got another excellent chance in the final moments as Hopeau picked up a loose ball in midfield and drove it all the way to the top of the box. He swung at it a bit wildly in the end, though, and his right-footed shot went well wide.
Despite earning several corners in stoppage time, the Hopeau chance would be S2’s last of any venom and their last opportunity to pull out another miraculous home draw to continue their home unbeaten streak.