The Sounders FC U-18 Academy had a rare opportunity on Friday, October 15, when they took the field against the U17 US National Team at Qwest Field.
Although it was a closed-door match with only a few hundred family and friends in attendance, it had all the drama of a big-time meeting under the bright lights, as two goals within three minutes as the game neared full time shifted the context of the game dramatically. However, they still wound up with a 3-3 draw.
Seattle got out to a 2-0 first half lead with goals from Sean Okoli, who now has three in a Sounders Academy uniform, and Brandon Brockway before the US squad could adjust to the game.
However, Nico Melo scored to reel in Seattle in the 43rd minute to make it 2-1 before halftime.
The midfielder from Kissimmee, Florida, would add another in the 66th minute and that 2-2 scoreline would hold until the games waning moments.
Then in the 89th minute, with both teams hustling to try to create the go-ahead goal, Esteban Rodriguez sent in a corner kick that found the head of Mobi Fehr for what looked to be the game-winning goal.
However, Seattle was not done battling back.
The Sounders Academy earned a corner kick of their own and Glen Paden got on the right side of a Dominique Dismuke pass to score the game-tying goal in the 92nd minute, equalizing at 3-3.
Goalkeeper Ryan Hermann would still need to make a great save in the final moments before the match ended with a 3-3 draw.
“Whenever you have the opportunity to measure your ability against a National Team, it is a great experience for the players,” Sounders FC Director of Youth Development Darren Sawatzky said. “The game between the U18 Sounders FC Academy team and the U17 US National Team was a great game for the fans as there were a lot goals and both teams played attacking, entertaining soccer.”
The U-16 and U-18 Academy teams will face the academy teams from the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA on Friday and Saturday in Los Angeles in their next matches.