TUKWILA, Wash. — Seyi Adekoya grew up playing games at Starfire Sports Complex dating back to his days as a member of the Seattle Sounders’ Academy.
On Sunday, the former UCLA standout and Sounders’ Homegrown product got his first tally as a professional at Starfire with Seattle Sounders 2, notching a 64th-minute equalizer in S2’s derby against Portland Timbers 2. Adekoya’s goal would be followed by a game-winner from first-team teammate Zach Mathers just two minutes later to pace S2 to a 2-1 victory.
“I’ve played on this field since I was like 11,” Adekoya said. “I was talking on the bench with Lorenzo [Ramos] about how we used to play here all the time and how it feels the same.
“I’m happy that I scored today,” Adekoya continued, “and I’m happy I’m back on the home team.”
The rookie forward got his first goal on Sunday by making use of his biggest asset. Specifically, his breathtaking pace that allowed him to jet past the T2 backline and into a breakaway with Portland goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh before finishing to the far post.
It’s the type of natural speed that S2 head coach Ezra Hendrickson was hoping he could utilize when he put Adekoya in the game as a second-half substitute, a move that paid swift dividends.
“Seyi came on and made a difference in the game,” Hendrickson said. “He got in and got us a goal and got us back in the game.
“He’s a threat with his pace,” added Hendrickson. “We wanted to get him in there, get him on the wing and try to push their defense a little bit and try and get that goal back. He was able to get the breakaway and he took it well.”
S2 was also the beneficiary of some clutch goalkeeping from Tyler Miller on Sunday, most notably after T2’s Villyan Bijev was given a look at the equalizer from the penalty spot following a foul call on Miller in his own box.
Seattle’s second-year ‘keeper came up with a massive diving save to deny Bijev’s shot and also preserved the victory with a split-second reaction save off a T2 corner kick in second-half stoppage time.
“Some big saves by Tyler,” Hendrickson said. “He came in and played well for us today. All around it was a good game. We’re happy to get three points. It’s nice to get some of these young guys in victory mode.
“We’ll see what happens from here, we’ve got to get back to work tomorrow and there are some things we have to get better at,” he continued. “But that’s part of these guys development and what we’re trying to do here at S2.”