Editor’s note: We’ve made the decision not to do gamethreads and traditional recaps for Tacoma Defiance matches but will instead do a weekly notebook that looks back and ahead. The intention is for these to publish every Tuesday. If you have elements you’d like to see in these, please let us know.
Tacoma Defiance opened their 2023 campaign with a slight bit of revenge against St. Louis City 2, the team that knocked them out of the playoffs a year ago. With six first-team players loaned down, it probably wasn’t entirely surprising that they controlled significant chunks of the game despite being a on the road. But a very late City 2 equalizer cost the Defiance a point, even though they ultimately emerged from the shootout victorious after converting all five of their kicks.
The winning penalty was provided by captain Hal Uderitz, who also scored the go-ahead goal in the 76th minute off a header. Paul Rothrock picked up the assist on the free kick. Mykhi Joyner scored a 94th minute header to equalize.
- Uderitz was one of the few “veteran” holdovers from last year and was very solid. In addition to his goal and spot kick, he did well to keep St. Louis City from looking too dangerous and provided some solid passing out of the back.
- Andrew Thomas, one of those six first-teamers on loan, made some spectacular saves. It’s a good reminder that prior to suffering a string of injuries, he was outstanding for the Defiance when he first joined the team in 2021. Performances like that are a good reminder why the organization has stuck with him despite barely playing over the last 18 months.
- Of the players I’d never seen play before, the one that most impressed me was Braudilio Rodrigues. He looked very confident on the ball, moved well and is considerably bigger than I had envisioned. I thought there were some moments where he was a little selfish, and it should be noted he’s on the old side as well as an international, but I can see why the Sounders are intrigued.
- The other player who was consistently dangerous was Eythor Bjørgolfsson, the Sounders draft pick. Although he was unable to finish anything, Bjørgolfsson is another big body who moves better than you’d assume. He was consistently in dangerous spots and was a bit unlucky not to find a goal.
Two Defiance debuts
Chris Aquino and Sebastian Gomez both came off the bench to make their professional debuts. Aquino, who played for the US U17s, signed a professional contract this offseason, while Gomez is a 16-year-old who is still primarily playing for the Sounders Academy and isn’t yet on a professional contract.
Of the six first-teamers who played in this game, Ethan Dobbelaere, Danny Leyva, Sota Kitahara and Dylan Teves had also played a day earlier for the Sounders. Sounders VP of Player Development Henry Brauner drove them, along with AB Cissoko, roughly four hours across the state in order to make the game on time, arriving in town just a few hours before kickoff.
Tacoma Defiance 1 (5) – St. Louis CITY2 1 (4)
Sunday, March 26, 2023
Referee: Rebecca Pagan
Weather: 56 and partly cloudy
TAC – Hal Uderitz (Paul Rothrock) 76’
STL – Mykhi Joyner (Owen O’Malley) 90+4’
STL – Max Schneider (scored)
TAC – Abdoulaye Cissoko (scored)
STL – Aziel Jackson (scored)
TAC – Eythor Bjørgolfsson (scored)
STL – Aaron Heard (missed)
TAC – Frank Daroma (scored)
STL – John Klein (scored)
TAC – Travian Sousa (scored)
STL – Michael Wentzel (scored)
TAC – Hal Uderitz (scored)
TAC – Ethan Dobbelaere (caution) 7’
STL – Aziel Jackson (caution) 19’
TAC – Hal Uderitz (caution) 20’
STL – Owen O’Malley (caution) 28’
TAC – Abdoulaye Cissoko (caution) 35’
TAC – Eythor Bjørgolfsson (caution) 67’
TAC – Fito Ovalle (caution) 88’
TAC – Travian Sousa (caution) 90+1’
LINEUPS & STATS
Tacoma Defiance – Andrew Thomas; Ethan Dobbelaere, Hal Udertiz – captain, Abdoulaye Cissoko, Travian Sousa; Frank Daroma, Daniel Leyva (Fito Ovalle 66’), Sota Kitahara (Christopher Aquino 90+3’), Dylan Teves (Paul Rothrock 71’), Braudilio Rodrigues (Sebastian Gomez 84’); Eythor Bjørgolfsson
Substitutes available: Wallis Lapsley, Gio Miglietti, Elias Katsaros, Stuart Hawkins, Etienne Veillard
St. Louis CITY2 – Michael Creek; Owen O’Malley (Nolan McGuire HT), Josh Maher, Michael Wentzel, Sergio Rivas (Aaron Heard 80’), Max Schneider, AJ Palazzolo (Braydon Sellers 66’), John Klein, Aziel Jackson, Wan Kuzain (Mykhi Joyner 66’); Dida Armstrong (Larsen Hackworth 90+3’)
Substitutes not used: Christian Olivares, Eric Walker, Ryley Gibbs, Stanislav Koval