041315 Frano Shot

“We want to show that we are the best in the Northwest.”

When Andy Craven uttered that statement days before Sounders FC 2’s first Cascadia match against Whitecaps FC 2 on March 29, he had no idea that two weeks later, his team would be undefeated, tied for first place in the Western Conference and holding a league-high plus-seven goal differential after three games.

Craven himself has started all three games, and directly contributed to at least one goal in each game, with two goals and three assists already this season.

“Playing with these guys is incredible. Playing alongside Pablo [Rossi], Aaron Long, Amadou [Sanyang], I could name everybody on the team,” said Craven. “I’m just trying to work hard and contribute, playing every game to make an impact and so far it’s been going well, but collectively it’s been going even better. “

After two convincing victories, scoring four goals in each of its first two games, Seattle’s 2-1 win over T2 was the first game where S2 conceded first and was shutout in the first half. None of that mattered, though, as the boys in Rave Green battled back to keep their perfect record intact.

Craven assisted Giuliano Frano’s 88th minute game-winner against Timbers 2 on Saturday night, the latest goal scored in the team’s short history.

“It all started with Aaron Long sliding the ball across to me, and right away I picked up my head and saw Craven and thought ‘let’s go for it, let’s try to get the game-winner’,” said Frano. “I made the run, it was a beautiful ball by Andy, and I was fortunate enough to get there.”

Head Coach Ezra Hendrickson was finding it hard to catch his breath following the match, excited for the team and the late victory, he mentioned the importance of competitive experience to the team’s development.

“Part of developing players is putting them in an environment like this. Being in this league, the players are amped up and they want to win, and you can’t take that away from them because they work hard, and this is their reward,” said Hendrickson. “You’re seeing players out here that have heart and skill, and they are truly the future of the Sounders.”

The players, focused on breaking through the ranks and playing with the First Team, also felt the rivalry find its way onto the pitch.

“We try to treat every game with the same level of importance, but there a certain air of importance with these games against Portland and Vancouver where we want to get out there and play our hearts out,” said Craven. “Just getting out there and playing with the weight of the match, it felt like a big game and a big win.”

S2 begins its first road trip of the season against Tulsa Roughnecks (0-2-1, 1 point) on Thusday, April 16. Two days later, the team takes a short trip from Tulsa to face Oklahoma City Energy FC (1-0-1, 4 points) on April 18. The club doesn’t play at home again until May 1 against the Orange County Blues FC (1-1-0, 3 points). Tickets to that match are available here.



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