It was the 82nd minute when Oalex Anderson made his home debut for Sounders FC 2 in the club’s fourth home match of the season, replacing Aaron Kovar with the score line level at one.
The lanky forward from the small volcanic island of St. Vincent made his way onto the pitch quietly, but with a fire lit beneath him, looking to help his club maintain a perfect record at home. It didn’t take long for Anderson, who was sporting a heavy cast on his left wrist due to a broken finger, to leave his mark on the match.
The 19-year-old received a pass out of the backfield and booked it toward the opposing goal – his speed launching him through the midfield past a defender and into the box – where he was brought down for what would end up being the game-winning penalty scored by Pablo Rossi. It was the first flash of brilliance shown by the young signing, but it would not be the last.
Exactly two weeks later, Anderson would go on to score the game-winning goal against Oklahoma City Energy FC, again as a second-half substitute who used a burst of speed and a couple crafty step-overs before beating the keeper to the near post.
“Oalex is an incredibly special player, and he can do some incredible things on the field,” said S2 Head Coach Ezra Hendrickson. “We believe his future is bright with this club, and he will be with the organization for a long time to come.”
Now, with forward Andy Craven called up to the First Team roster, Anderson has started to see his fair share of minutes in the starting lineup, and it’s a position he looks to hold on to with everything he has.
“I have grown more in my football since coming to Seattle than I ever have before,” said Anderson, who shares his homeland with Coach Hendrickson. “I knew the First Team coach [Sigi Schmid] was sitting in the stands, and that I needed to put in a good performance against Arizona, and I think I did that.”
The goal-scorer’s ability has been leaving the home fans stunned and on their feet, watching the zippy forward skirt by opposing defenses with scorching speed, but his talent has also attracted the notice of the St. Vincent National Team, where Anderson played in both Olympic and FIFA World Cup qualifiers for the small island nation’s squad. Anderson scored three goals and had two assists in qualifying, earning the captain’s armband for the U-23s for his performance.
“Playing in that last game against Oklahoma City before going to play for my country gave me the confidence to perform the way I did,” said Anderson. “It was nice to score a couple of goals and continue with the same mindset I had when I left the states to play for my country.
“When I was home, my agent messaged me and told me Andy got called up, and that it was time for me to step up and do what he was doing with S2. When I got back up here, that was my duty, to fill the gap he left.”
Since returning from international duty, the forward made his first home start against Arizona United SC on July 12. Anderson put on a show, scoring two goals in the first 15 minutes of the match, including the opening goal just two minutes in.
Although he left the match early with an injury, he still appeared in the following match and contributed to the buildup leading to the equalizing goal for the Rave Green in the 1-1 draw.
“It is awesome to see Andy get called up. I have looked up to him since I have come here,” said Anderson. “From my first two training sessions with the team, I have seen how good of a guy he is and I am looking forward to keep working hard to earn the same opportunity.”
Anderson and the club return to Starfire this Friday to face Portland Timbers 2 for the series finale. S2 has won all four previous meetings, most recently shutting out T2 by a final score of 2-0 at Merlo Field in Portland.
Tickets to Friday’s match can be found here, with kickoff slated for 7:30 p.m. PT.