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Defiance notebook: The road goes ever on

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A new signing on the way, maybe two?

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Samuel Adeniran at Cheney Stadium
Charis Wilson courtesy of Seattle Sounders and Tacoma Defiance

With their second unplanned pause in play for reasons out of their control, Tacoma Defiance were able to supplement that Seattle Sounders practice roster this week. Almost every Defiance player participated in Wednesday’s session and about half were part of an 11-v-11 drill with the Sounders on Thursday. A handful of unsigned Academy players participated as well, to include Cody Baker and Wyatt Nelson.

Former Academy player and Chicago Fire draftee Jackson Ragen is also practicing with the organization these days. More on that later.

Defiance’s match against Oakland Roots this weekend was cancelled because of a Covid-19 outbreak among Roots players and/or staff. Within the USL Championship 10 players tested positive last week.

Please get vaccinated, so even if you have a breakthrough infection it is much less likely to spread, much less likely to require hospitalization, and almost certainly will not take your life.

Record on the road

Originally a four-match stretch, Defiance went 0-1-2, -1 in the three matches played. In none of the games did they look significantly outplayed. They still are searching for their first road win of the year.

Tacoma look capable against teams across the Pacific Division quality spectrum. Only the first match at Las Vegas did they look truly lost. In the rest of their road games they’ve looked like a team capable of stealing a win, while worthy of a draw.

Defiance xG per match in 2021

Home xGF Away xGA TAC xGD
Home xGF Away xGA TAC xGD
LAG2 0.55 TAC 0.85 0.30
OC 1.04 TAC 0.59 -0.45
LV 1.07 TAC 1.08 0.01
TAC 1.92 LAG2 0.60 1.32
TAC 1.12 SLC 0.49 0.63
COS 2.72 TAC 1.96 -0.76
PHX 1.52 TAC 1.15 -0.37
LV 2.07 TAC 0.33 -1.74
TAC 0.63 OC 1.10 -0.47
TAC 2.49 SD 2.27 0.22
LAG2 1.00 TAC 1.32 0.32
American Soccer Analysis

Tacoma are currently tied on points with Las Vegas and Los Dos for the 4th playoff spot. The three-way tie-breaker is complex and unimportant this early in the season. Those games in hand will come due over the next few months.

Next week Defiance are going to start a four-match homestand by facing the hot San Diego Loyal on July 29th. At Cheney Stadium Defiance are 3-0-1, +5 this season. Facing Loyal, New Mexico, Sacramento, and Oakland all under the shadow of Tahoma should shift those standings quite a bit.

Samuel Adeniran’s ability to help First Team

One of the participants in both training sessions observed by media, Adeniran offers a combination of strength, speed, and deceptive touches that are intriguing. He creates opportunities, and sometimes chances, barely edging out Alec Diaz in xG+xA/90 so far this year.

His physique is impressive, so people are excited. But, his touch can fail him. He doesn’t convert those opportunities into goals often enough. John, at USL Tactics, breaks down the video.

Sam is probably the attacker most likely to get a contract with Seattle right now. Don’t expect that to mean goals from him. His primary contribution will be to stretch the field and keep a defense honest.

Jackson Ragen was drafted by Chicago, but may sign with Tacoma

“I brought him on last week to train with the first team happy to have him back,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said about the former Sounders Academy standout. “He’s one of ours. Guys are talking about him with Defiance and does he fit there. He has to earn that.”

If Ragen does earn that spot, the large centerback (he towered over every other CB on the pitch) would be on a USL Championship deal, but Chicago Fire would still hold his MLS rights.

Unless claimed on Waivers, a player who was drafted by a particular club through the MLS SuperDraft and did not sign with the League is placed on that club’s “College Protected List” until December 31 of the year after the draft (i.e., for the 2021 MLS SuperDraft, until December 31, 2022), after which the club loses the priority rights to sign the player.

With the University of Michigan, Jackson won All Big Ten First Team recognition in 2019 and 2021. In 2021 he was also the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. He scored 10 goals and assisted five more times in college play.

“He’s great kid, good size good frame,” Schmetzer continued. “The surprising thing with Jackson, is it he’s good with his feet, he saw some of the stuff that he was doing in this small-sided games — Chad Marshall hated those little small sided games. He hated it — Jackson was pretty good today.”

Dillon Powers training with Tacoma

The former Colorado Rapids center mid has been out of contract since May 14, and last played in Scotland back in February. Last week Sounders President of Soccer Garth Lagerwey said Powers was training with Wade Webber’s side.

Powers would offer some veteran experience in the midfield, where Tacoma can sometimes be overrun. He would be another among the stylings of a reboot signing, trying to earn more looks in the American soccer system with a club that has a strong reputation.

There was no word this week if he is still present.

Who’s Got Next?

  1. Adeniran — see above.
  2. Issa Rayyan — crafty right wingback who is a playing at an MLS replacement level right now.
  3. Juan Alvarez — youngster got the first hardship call of 2021 (there will be more).