After a weekend off, all three Seattle Sounders Academy squads return to USSDA league play on Saturday, April 28. The Rave Green will host a trio of matches at Starfire Sports, where they’ll face their Cascadia rivals the Vancouver Whitecaps.
In addition to the emotional stakes of a derby match, these tilts with Vancouver pose a positive developmental opportunity for the young Sounders, exposing them to a high level of competition in which they’ll have to perform at an optimal level to secure three points across the board.
“We love playing Vancouver,” said Sounders FC Director of Player Development Marc Nicholls. “They’re a very good academy. The games are always tough and, quite frankly, we don’t get enough tests like the ones that they provide.”
Last time the two clubs faced off, Seattle recorded a pair of wins — the U-15s had to reschedule their game — as they put Vancouver to the sword. The U-19s battled back from a one-goal deficit to win 2-1, with midfielder Cam Martin, who has since started three USL matches for S2, providing the equalizer and Gabe Threadgold grabbing the winner. The U-17s secured a 2-0 victory, as winger Marlon Vargas, who turned plenty of heads at Generation adidas Cup, smashed home a volley and striker Alec Diaz put the game to rest with a headed goal five minutes later.
Despite their dominant showings against the Whitecaps last month, the young Sounders won’t rest on their laurels, knowing full well that the quality and competitive nature of these derby matches can tip the scales in favor of either club.
“The games against Vancouver can often go either way,” said Nicholls. “This is the beauty of those games because both teams, both clubs, hold each other accountable. If a team doesn’t play well, they lose the match. And that’s the way it should be.”
With S2 enjoying a weekend off from USL action, both the U-19s and U-17s will enjoy plenty of reinforcements, as the S2-signed players are likely to feature for their respective Academy sides. The U-15s, however, will be without the services of midfielder Danny Leyva and center back Eric Kinzner, both of whom are in Italy with the U.S. U-16 men’s national team.
The full schedule for Saturday’s matches can be found below.
- Sounders FC U-17 vs. Vancouver Whitecaps U-17 | 1:00 p.m. PT, Starfire Sports Field 11
- Sounders FC U-15 vs. Vancouver Whitecaps U-15 | 3:30 p.m. PT, Starfire Sports Field 2
- Sounders FC U-19 vs. Vancouver Whitecaps U-19 | 3:30 p.m. PT, Starfire Sports Field 11