TUKWILA, Wash. – The USL playoffs are no longer at stake for Seattle Sounders FC 2 who travel to Swope Park Rangers on Saturday (5 p.m. PT, livestream on SoundersFC.com) for their final match of the 2016 season. They will, however, have a lot to play for as this may be the final opportunity for players to showcase their talents before decisions are made for next year’s roster.
“In the back of their minds they know that this game doesn’t really count as far as getting us into the playoffs but it still counts as far as them getting evaluated,” said head coach Ezra Hendrickson. “Plus, you’re a professional. You want to win every time you step on the field.”
The Rangers will also have a lot to play for as a win against S2 could lock up home field advantage in their first playoff fixture. S2 will face disadvantage on the road yet again this week but will have rest on their side as SPR played a midweek match on Wednesday. In their only other match up this year, S2 fell to Swope on two second half goals at Starfire Stadium.
“It’s very important that we come out with the same mindset, same mentality as we’ve done the past year,” Hendrickson told reporters. “We still want to finish as high as we can in the table.”
S2 have come a long way since their 0-3-1 start to the season. After almost an entire roster turnover, S2 faced the challenge of defeating experienced USL sides with a younger, less experienced squad that still made a late-season push towards the playoffs.
“We’ve seen growth; we’ve seen improvement as the year went on,” said Hendrickson. “We’re happy about that but at the end of the day, you want to play as long as you can play. We didn’t want this next game to be our last game of the season so we’re very unhappy about that but we like where things are going.”