Rave Report: Okoli participates in first MLS Homegrown Game

This week, four Sounders FC players logged 45 minutes against Bayern Munich in the 2014 AT&T MLS All-Star Game. Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins, DeAndre Yedlin and Osvaldo Alonso all played one half against the defending Bundesliga champions on Wednesday at Providence Park in Portland, but they weren’t the only players from Seattle that made appearances during the All-Star festivities.

Sean Okoli also played the second half in the first ever Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game, as some of the best players to emerge from Academy systems faced the Portland Timbers U-23 PDL club on Monday. Okoli was threatening on the attack, but couldn’t find the net and the match finished in a scoreless draw. However, it wasn’t a lost experience for the 21-year-old Federal Way native.

“It was tough because we’d never really played with each other, but the atmosphere was cool,” Okoli said. “The setup was cool and everyone was excited to play, so it was good.”

Okoli, who is in his first season out of Wake Forest, was among 20 MLS Homegrown players selected for the match, joining the likes of Columbus Crew midfielder Wil Trapp, Chicago Fire midfielder Harry Shipp and Colorado Rapids defender Shane O’Neill.

The team converged on Portland Sunday afternoon, but never trained together before the match on Monday evening. He returned to Seattle after the match and trained with Sounders FC on Wednesday.

This season, Okoli has two MLS appearances, totaling 18 minutes. He notched one goal in the U.S. Open Cup, playing 90 minutes against PSA Elite in the fourth round. In the MLS Reserve League, he has played in all five of Seattle’s matches, logging 404 minutes and one assist.

MORRIS SHINES FOR OLYMPIC TEAM

Sounders FC Academy product and Stanford University forward Jordan Morris made a good impression on Wednesday with the U.S. U-23 National Team while playing against the senior national team from Bahamas. While playing in Nassau, Bahamas, Morris started and scored in a 5-1 win, boding well for the team that Tab Ramos has put together to build up for the 2016 Olympics.

MARSHALL MAKING PROGRESS

Sounders FC had some good news on the training ground on Wednesday, as several players returned to full training and others took steps towards similar returns.

Lamar Neagle got back into full training for the first time since suffering an ankle injury on July 28 against the LA Galaxy that forced him to miss last week’s match with the San Jose Earthquakes. Meanwhile, All-Star center back Chad Marshall continued along his path toward getting back on the field.

“Marshall went through what we wanted him to do,” Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid said after training. “Providing there’s no setbacks, we can continue to advance him into full team training on Friday.”

Marshall suffered a sprained neck prior to the match against the Galaxy and missed the two matches since. He has started 17 matches for Seattle this season, registering one goal and one assist while playing stifling defense that helped him earn his third career MLS All-Star selection.

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