It was a mixed bag of results for the Sounders youth teams on Saturday. Playing against their traveling partners from Crossfire Premier, the two teams split their games with decidedly different games played in the cold at Starfire.
The U18 team controlled the first half and battled in the second to what looked to be a scoreless draw. However, Darwin Jones earned a stoppage time penalty and Troy Peterson put it away for the only score of the day as the Sounders FC came away with the 1-0 win to keep their unbeaten streak alive at nine games.
Peterson led some strong play out of the midfield alongside Nick Palodichuk and goalkeeper Ryan Herman earned Seattle’s third shutout in the last five matches.
“Our defense has been good all season,” said Peterson, the midfielder out of Todd Beamer High School who plans to head to College of Charleston next year. “We’re scoring a lot of goals and it’s always easier when you’re scoring goals.”
Added Director of Youth Development Darren Sawatzky, “It all starts with Ryan Hermann, he’s had a huge month. He’s been playing well and the back four worked really hard to stop Crossfire’s counter attack.”
The game stayed scoreless through 90 minutes without many shots on goal while Crossfire outshot the Sounders 9-7. Then Jones worked his way into the box and was taken down for a penalty. Peterson stepped to the mark and hammered a shot into the low-left corner and Seattle held on for the 1-0 victory.
Peterson then ran over to the corner where his teammates were watching from the sideline and the team dog-piled on top of him.
“The soccer wasn’t as high as it could have been. The last few weeks they’ve been playing really well. They worked hard today,” Sawatzky said. “There was a lot of emotion attached to the game and you saw it when they scored the goal.”
The U18s played without top scorer Sean Okoli who left Saturday for US U18 National Team training camp in Carson, California.
Dominique Dismuke scored twice last weekend and started in Okoli’s place this week. Even without their Wake Forest-bound striker, the Sounders were able to finish off the day’s work.
“Sean is one of those forwards that sits underneath and picks balls up. I think we missed that a little bit today,” Sawatzky said. “Dominique has had a great couple of weeks and he got the start today and you can’t go wrong with Nick Palodichuk and Troy Peterson in the middle.”
The U16s, however, had a different fate.
Although they outshot Crossfire 14-11, the visitors got more out of their shots and walked away with a 4-0 win.
Crossfire netted one goal just before halftime and two more just after the start of the second half, then added another goal off of a corner kick in the 55th minute to put the game out of reach.
“It was an off day for our group. Crossfire came out with a lot of energy and they deserve credit for their approach to the game,” Sawatzky said.
The loss drops the U16s to 6-2-1 while the U18s improved to 6-0-3. Their next three matches come at a showcase tournament in Phoenix, Arizona. Then they return to action January 16 in California before a rematch with Crossfire January 23 at 60 Acres.