MLS not honoring international breaks might be tougher on the Tacoma Defiance than it is on the Seattle Sounders. All their best players — both loaned and signed — were raided by their MLS parent club in the runup to their match against Sacramento Republic FC. To make things worse, the Defiance also lost Alec Diaz to the Puerto Rican National Team. All of this left them to play Republic’s full roster with a threadbare mixture of pros and amateurs.
Republic dominated the game from beginning to end aside from a 5-minute stretch around the 70’ when the Defiance had a unproductive but respectable spell of possession. The bright spot for the Defiance was a solid performance from Trey Muse that limited the Defiance’s suffering to just a 3-0 loss.
7’- Keven Aleman sent a perfect early ball to the head of Thomas Enevoldsen who got good contact on it but sent it straight into Muse’s chest from 5 yards out.
10’- Muse was forced to save another shot from in close, again off the foot of Enevoldsen after Cameron Iwasa put him in with a simple pass.
13’- Jordan McCrary blew by Matt Nance and Ever Rubio and was able to send in a good low cross. Enevoldsen met it at the back post and finally got a shot past Muse. 1-0
33’- Alex Villanueva made an awful tackle that should have seen him sent off but somehow he came away without a red (or yellow).
45+3’- Drew Skundritch put Enevoldsen in behind but Enevoldsen’s touch allowed the Defiance to recover. All the defender were caught ball watching though and did not see Iwasa making a run from the far side. Enevoldsen found him as he ran into the box and Iwasa sent the ball past Muse with his first touch. 2-0
57’- As the last man Rogers was way too aggressive and was megged easily by Iwasa. Sacramento’s forward was in with 40 yards of open grass in front of him but once he got in the box he made a mess of things and gently rolled a shot into Muse.
75’- With Alex Villanueva holding him onside, Iwasa split him and Ever Rubio to get in behind and run down the right side. A couple other Republic players also got behind the Defiance defense and once Iwasa got to the end line he had an easy cross into Enevoldsen who put the ball in the net for his brace. 3-0
88’- After dribbling by a couple defenders Christopher Hegardt got Tacoma’s first shot on goal. It was straight at Shuttlesworth.
Roger and Muse return from the wilderness
Rogers finally returned to the Defiance after an unsuccessful trial in Belgium. He continued his struggles with the Defiance this year and was exposed badly by Iwasa and Enevoldsen. Hopefully, with the chance of a transfer to Europe at least on hold for now, Rogers can clear his head and finally return to the promising play that makes him an exciting prospect, if that is what he wants.
While Muse’s extended absence from the starting lineup remains mysterious, his return was more successful. His upward trajectory appears to be intact as he turned in his best performance of the season. The young goalkeeper was easily the best Defiance player on the field and single-handedly kept the scoreline from being too embarrassing. He made good saves throughout the match — including a particularly impressive kick save near the match’s end — and came out to smother several chances when the backline left him out to dry.
Villanueva and Herbert Robinson make their Defiance debuts.
Villanueva had a less than ideal start to his USL Championship career. He was forced onto the pitch in the 31’ with little warm up after Matt Nance came up wobbly from a hit to the head. Then just 2 minutes into his debut, perhaps under the influence of adrenaline, he made an ugly tackle that should have seen him off the pitch but the referee — possibly softened by the circumstances — let him off without even a yellow. But after that inauspicious start he had a good game. He showed himself to be a competent one-on-one defender and, except for a few problems holding the line, he was fairly solid positionally. He didn’t have a chance to show what he can do going forward but demonstrated that he has the speed to get up and down the wing. No conclusions should be drawn from this one performance but it is good that he didn’t look overmatched or overwhelmed.
Herbert Robinson also made his Defiance debut after moving to Tacoma from Tlaxcala Fútbol Club in Ciudad de Nanacamilpa, Mexico. He came on in the 59’ and didn’t make too much of an impression. Robinson didn’t seem to be on quite the same page as his teammates yet, but he still managed to complete 92% of his passes. It is hard to say much at this point but it looks like he could be a decent addition once he familiarizes himself with his teammates and the system.
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 (—)
- Danny Robles (—)
- Marlon Vargas (—)
- Jesse Daley (—)
Tacoma Defiance I 0-3 I Sacramento Republic FC
Saturday, September 7, 2019
Venue: Papa Murphy’s Park I Sacramento, California
Referee: Luis Guardia
Assistants: Michael Kampmeinert, Noah Kenyawani
Fourth Official: Robert Vincze
SAC - Thomas Enevoldsen (Jordan McCrary) 13’
SAC - Cameron Iwasa (Thomas Enevoldsen) 45’+2’
SAC - Thomas Enevoldsen (Cameron Iwasa) 75’
SAC - Drew Skundrich (caution) 11’
SAC - Mitchell Taintor (caution) 18’
TAC - Marlon Vargas (caution) 33’
TAC - Chris Hegardt (caution) 90’+4’
LINEUPS & STATS
TAC - Trey Muse, Denso Ulysse, Sam Rogers, Ever Rubio, Matt Nance (Alex Villanueva 31’); Jesse Daley, Josh Atencio; Ray Serrano (Chris Hegardt 73’), Danny Robles (Herbert Robinson 59’), Marlon Vargas; Austin Brummett
Substitutes not used: James Lowell, Aleks Berkolds
Total shots: 5
Shots on goal: 1
SAC - Bobby Shuttleworth; Jordan McCrary, Matthew Mahoney, Mitchell Taintor, Juan Barahona (Charalampos Chantzopoulos 85’); Drew Skundrich, Jaime Villarreal; Keven Aleman, Thomas Enevoldsen (Darius Formella 79’), Villyan Bijev (Sam Werner 67’); Cameron Iwasa
Substitutes not used: Rafael Diaz, Dekel Keinan, Hayden Partain, Stefano Bonomo
Total shots: 18
Shots on goal: 9