TUKWILA, WA—Seattle Sounders FC U18 got back on track with a 3-1 victory and SFC U16 continued their dominant run in a 2-0 shutout over Crossfire Premier on Sunday afternoon at Starfire Sports Complex. Stefan Bangsund chipped in a deep goal and Austin Sweeney had two assists to lead the U18’s, while James Nosack recorded a goal and an assist for the U16’s.
The U18’s (8-7-3, 6-4-1 NW Division) snap a three-match losing streak with the win and are attempting to return to strong form after starting the USSDA season 6-1-2. They sit second in the Northwest Division behind DeAnza Force.
The U16’s (13-3-2, 8-2-1 NW Division) have now won 12 of their last 13 matches and are first in the NW Division.
The U18 matchup was all Sounders from the get-go. Three first half goals gave them a big lead before the half, and a strong defensive stand allowed nothing but a second half free-kick goal.
Jordan Schweitzer led things off in the 24th minute when he rose above the Crossfire defense and headed a Sweeney corner kick into the top of the net. Bangsund provided the match’s highlight in the 32nd minute when he chipped a goal above the keeper’s reach from 18 yards out to make it 2-0. Seattle made it 3-0 just before the half when Sweeney lofted a free kick from midfield accurately into the box. The pass found defender Ian Lange, who used his long 6’1” frame to head the ball into the back of the net. Keeper Keenan Townsend was strong in goal for Sounders FC, making a diving save in the first half on a 20 yard free kick that would have tied the game at one. Crossfire’s lone goal came in the 68th minute when a low free kick from the top of the box was deflected into the corner of the net.
“The U18’s, that matchup was about the physical nature of things,” said Sounder FC Director of Youth Development Darren Sawatzky. “Our boys definitely wanted to jump up the top half of the table, and they earned it today and we’re really proud of them.”
The U16 Sounders continued their strong form with a 2-0 victory, but two-goal margin could have easily been much wider.
The scoring chances came often for the younger Sounders squad. After a few close misses, Seattle went up 1-0 in the 37th minute when a Nosack corner kick found a wide open David Olsen in the box. As the defense froze, Olsen made them pay and finished strong into the open side of the net. Nosack made it 2-0 on a second half penalty kick after Jacob Hauser-Ramsey was taken down in the box. Keeper Connor Adkisson patrolled the net for the clean sheet, his most notable play coming in the 20th minute when he narrowly punched away a strong attempt on a corner kick.
Defender Jalen Markey, who was invited to US National Team Camp earlier this year, was trouble all day for Crossfire. In addition to controlling the back line for Sounders, the strong center back created a few scoring chances. He found Olsen twice in the box early in the second half, with both attempts barely missing. Nosack and Denis Kalamar executed a clean give-and-go in the 65th minute, but Kalamar’s one-timer was deflected by a defender in the box.
“They played good soccer today,” Sawatzky said of the U16 squad. “They were unlucky not to score a few more goals, but the 16’s are well in control of their own destiny, so we’re happy with them.”
Sweeping Crossfire provides valuable points in the USSDA divisional race and helps Sounders FC Academy’s goal to become the elite youth club in the state.
“Crossfire is another club in our division, so we need to make sure that we take points,” explains Sawatzy, “Being local, we want the best players in Washington to come play for the Sounders for obvious reasons. It’s important to win home games, and we took care of it today.”
The Academy teams travel to Los Angeles this coming weekend for an out of conference battle with Pateadores and Irvine Strikers.