In their antepenultimate home fixture the Tacoma Defiance encountered a beatable Tulsa Roughnecks, a team just two spots from the USL Championship Western Conference’s bottom.
Despite struggling on defense, especially up the spine, and the centerbacks’ large amount of turnovers in their defensive third, the Defiance managed to surrender only one goal to the Roughnecks. They struggled to do anything with the ball in the final third, though, and it looked like the one goal would be enough for the Roughnecks.
The Defiance finally started to look truly dangerous in the match’s final 10 minutes. They were rewarded for it when Shandon Hopeau scored in the 86’ to earn a 1-1 draw.
7’- Tacoma were caught out by a quick short corner. Tulsa worked the ball quickly to Manny Gonzalez at the corner of the box where he took a shot which was only kept out by the post to Trey Muse’s right.
19’- A fantastic designed corner from the Defiance ended in a wide open cross from Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez which he sent low and hard to the front post. It looked like Justin Dhillon would get to the ball first for an easy turn in to the net but Mason Stajduhar did extremely well to dive in front of him and hold onto the fizzed in cross.
43’- Dhillon made a good interception just outside the Tulsa box. His first move toward goal was blocked off and the Defiance couldn’t get organized to mount a second.
49’- Dhillon made a smooth move outside to free himself for a cross which he sent in to Hopeau at the near post. Hopeau drifted just in front of the front post and couldn’t quite redirect it past the post from a tight angle.
60’- Denso Ulysse let Cristhian Altamirano get to the endline too easily and he put in a mediocre, floated cross to the far post. Somehow neither Sam Rogers nor Aleks Berkolds were anywhere near the 6’4” 210-pound Tobenna Uzo which gave him an incredibly open header from in close. He hit it smartly in to the ground and it bounced past Muse with relative ease. 0-1
75’- Uzo received his second yellow for a high boot. The massive striker left down the dugout tunnel after Reyna Fonseca showed him the red card.
86’- Berkolds made a nice pass to get Nick Hinds down the sideline. Hinds then sent in a pass along the ground to Hopeau in the box. Hopeau still had a ton to do — he was 3-4 yds in front of the front post — but he made a wondrous redirection with the outside of his right boot using the pace of the incoming ball to get it past Stadhujar. 1-1
We may have seen the dynamical evolution of Nick Hinds
Every so often a younger player has a match where they perform steps above where they have before. Thoughts of what could be inhabit the minds of their team and its fans alike. Often this performance is just a blip — an outlier that will end up well above the line of best fit that will represent the player’s career — but sometimes the showing represent a true progression.
Nick Hinds had just that kind of game against the Roughnecks. He was up and down the flank all night, using his pace to cover both his attacking and defensive duties. He was the Defiance’s best attacking player, making up for the deficiencies of the central attack caused by the struggles of Danny Leyva — who had his worst match of the year by a not insignificant margin — and Ethan Dobbelaere. He completed 2 of his 5 crosses and he was unlucky not to connect on two more of those, 83.0% of his passes were successful and he had the assist on the goal that drew the Defiance equal.
As good as he was in attack, it was his defensive showing that was well better than any match he has played in the USL Championship. He shut down his opposites: right back, Matthew Sheldon, and right attacking midfielder, Marlon. He gave them no space — they were able to get off just four crosses, completing none of them and only getting two into the box — and no quarter. To that he added two tackles, two interceptions and a nearly unbelievable 12 recoveries.
Only time will tell if this match was a revelation or an aberration for Hinds; either way it was fun to watch.
First Team call-up power rankings
(A quick explainer of my methodology: The rankings don’t take into account the roster situation of the First Team, so the player at #1 is the player not on a First Team contract most ready for MLS, not the player the Sounders need to fill out their roster. However, the player in Bold is the player most likely to be the first player given a contract by the Sounders taking into account their roster needs.)
- Shandon Hopeau (—)
- Denso Ulysse (—)
- Jesse Daley (↑1)
- Nick Hinds (NEW)
- Danny Robles (↓2)
(dropped: Marlon Vargas)
Tacoma Defiance I 1-1 I Tulsa Roughnecks FC
Saturday, September 28, 2019
Venue: Cheney Stadium I Tacoma, Washington
Referee: Reyna Fonseca
Assistants: Jeremy Davis, Jesus Mejia
Fourth Official: Cuauhtemoc Delgadillo
TUL - Tobenna Uzo (Cristhian Altamirano) 60’
TAC - Shandon Hopeau (Nick Hinds) 86’
TAC - Danny Leyva (caution) 33’
TUL - Tobenna Uzo (caution) 36’
TAC - Nick Hinds (caution) 53’
TUL - Marlon (caution) 72’
TUL - Tobenna Uzo (ejection) 75’
LINEUPS & STATS
TAC - Trey Muse; Denso Ulysse (Marlon Vargas 87’), Sam Rogers, Aleks Berkolds, Nick Hinds; Jesse Daley (Danny Robles 73’), Danny Leyva; Shandon Hopeau, Ethan Dobbelaere (Herbert Robinson 86’), Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez; Justin Dhillon
Substitutes not used: Jamie Lowell, Alex Villanueva, Josh Atencio, Sota Kitahara
Total shots: 7
Shots on goal: 3
TUL - Mason Stajduhar; Matthew Sheldon, Cyprian Hedrick, Malian Roberts, Luca Lobo; Manny Gonzalez (Jeff Addai 78’), Brayan Reyes; Marlon, Rodrigo da Costa (Fredlin Mompremier 83’), Cristhian Altamirano; Tobenna Uzo
Substitutes not used: Andrew MacRae, A.J. Ajeakwa, Panin Boakye-Mensa, Janu Silva
Total shots: 17
Shots on goal: 5