clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Defiance Notebook: Defender goals

A huge 5-0 win showed what Wade Webber’s side is capable of at its best.

Two weeks into the 2023 MLS Next Pro season, Tacoma Defiance fired a warning shot to the league — they’re back and capable of greatness. Crushing Real Monarchs 5-0, Defiance have never looked so good.

Monarchs elected to send most of their top youth to the GA Cup (they went 0-3, -5), and the result was what may be the single most dominant GameFlow chart in ASA history.

Tacoma can’t think they’ll do that every time. They did start four first-teamers, but their own bench was shortened, too — the Sounders sent their own players to the GA Cup, where they made the Round of 16.

The early positive signs are that several players will be capable of helping the first team soon.

Scoring CBs

Yeah, the league is only just starting week 3, but Defiance have two centerbacks with two goals apiece. Hal Uderitz and AB Cissoko shouldn’t be expected to keep up that rate, but they should be expected to keep scoring. Cissoko was third on the team last year and set-pieces are part of what head coach Wade Webber calls “repeatable goals.”

After scoring the lone goal in the season opener, Uderitz said, “Anytime a centerback can be a top scorer on a team, that’s a good thing. I’ll challenge AB and he’ll challenge me and we’ll challenge the guys higher up the field.”

Uderitz scored another in the second game; Cissoko scored on a corner and then put away a penalty. AB remains the No. 1 choice on the team for penalties.

Andrew Thomas’ future is strong

Healthy again, the first-team keeper, one of four, looks better than he did when he nearly carried Defiance to the USL Championship playoffs in 2021.

“Andrew is exceptional,” said Webber, clearly ecstatic about Thomas’s progression. “The thing that separates him is he’s a really, really good athlete. He has an explosiveness to take off and have his hand reaches Point B quicker and with more power than with any goalkeeper I’ve worked with directly. He’s just a really, really good athlete. He has such good training habits, is physically strong and a great teammate. First-team fans don’t know what we have. I’m convinced he’ll compete for the No. 1 jersey in the club.”

I still want to see more tape of Thomas because I don’t see him in practice. Webber does and Wade isn’t one to lavish unjustified praise.

Three to help now

This is for players who could get called up to an Open Cup match or in case of injury.

  1. Hal Uderitz — Still learning the centerback role, but is looking very good. Webber is pleased with Hal’s progress in his transition from DM to centerback. Considering the recent successes building Defiance CBs into Sounders CBs, Uderitz’s path is fairly clear.
  2. Paul Rothrock — On Wednesday, Webber mentioned that his best creator is spending training time learning both fullback roles, as that’s likely his fastest path to MLS play. He might be the next Alex Roldan.
  3. Travion Sousa — Sousa is a giant of a left back whose physique could make you think that he’s a stay-home style. Instead he ranges forward quite well while supporting set-pieces on both sides.

Three to help later

This is for players who are a few months, or longer, away from contributing to the first team’s matchday 20.

  1. Reed Baker-Whiting — RBW is getting his minutes at right back. He is currently stronger in on-man defense than he is getting forward. He likes to dribble forward. When he keeps his head up he’ll integrate into the attack better.
  2. Braudilio Rodrigues — Of the talents I expect to see get an MLS deal, Braudilio may be the rawest. In many ways he is the Léo Chú of this level — raw and enticing due to the combination of his physique and great on-ball skills.
  3. Eythor Bjørgolfsson — Eythor is doing an excellent job at clearing space these days. He can show a bit of frustration about the lack of being targeted for the final ball. The team xG +/- when he is on the field is strong. I expect he’ll show he’s a capable MLS level target forward and capable of late game minutes.


Tacoma Defiance 5 – Real Monarchs 0

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Venue: Starfire Sports Stadium

Referee: Dion Cox

Assistants: Justin Fillmore, Andrew Hanks

Fourth official: Christopher Calderon

Weather: 42 degrees and cloudy


TAC – Braudilio Rodrigues (Paul Rothrock) 6’

TAC – Abdoulaye Cissoko 24’

TAC – Eythor Bjørgolfsson (Paul Rothrock) 56’

TAC – Abdoulaye Cissoko (penalty) 59’

TAC – Hal Uderitz (Paul Rothrock) 77’


SLC – Griffin Dillon (caution) 64’

TAC – Sota Kitahara (caution) 76’


Tacoma Defiance – Andrew Thomas; Reed Baker-Whiting, Hal Uderitz, Abdoulaye Cissoko (Elias Katsaros 90+1), Travian Sousa; Fito Ovalle – captain (Ethan Dobbelaere 60’), Frank Daroma; Paul Rothrock, Sota Kitahara, Braudilio Rodrigues (Blake Bowen 67); Eythor Bjørgolfsson (Gio Miglietti 81’)
Substitutes not used: Jacob Castro, Wallis Lapsley, Danny Leyva

Total shots: 13
Shots on goal: 6
Fouls: 16
Offside: 0
Corner-kicks: 8
Saves: 2

Real Monarchs – Fernando Delgado; Gennaro Nigro, Braydan Morrell, Omar Alba, Preston Allen; Tyrone Mondi, Moses Nyeman, Griffin Dillon, Angel Morales (Marcelo Mondragon 71’); Jaxon Stokes (Noah Ervin 60’), Terron Williams
Substitutes not used: James Erwin, Derreck Chan

Total shots: 5
Shots on goal: 2
Fouls: 15
Offside: 1
Corner-kicks: 6
Saves: 1

Next match

Friday night at Austin FC 2 on MLS Season Pass at 5p PT. Austin is 7th in the West while Defiance are 5th. Former Sounders/Defiance players for VerDos are Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez and Joe Hafferty. Hafferty leads Next Pro in tackles. Valentin Noël is their early season attacking threat with 0.61 xG+xA/90. Defiance have four regulars that more than double that number — Rothrock, Rodrigues, Cissoko, and Bjørgolfsson.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Sounder At Heart Weekly Roundup newsletter!

A twice weekly roundup of Seattle Sounders and OL Reign news from Sounder at Heart