TUKWILA, Wash. - Chance after chance and the levee finally broke for Seattle Sounders FC 2 who claimed victory over Cascadia rivals Portland Timbers 2 on Sunday night at Starfire Stadium. Head coach Ezra Hendrickson was all smiles after the match and spoke to media about how proud he was of his team’s effort.
“These games are always hard; the guys put in the work and we stuck with it,” he said. “The effort in this hot sun today was awesome and when it’s against Portland it’s even sweeter.”
Midfielder Mark O’Ojong was the hero of the night, smashing in the late goal in the 88th minute. The chance came from forward Darwin Jones chipped a loose ball to O’Ojong who cut it back to his preferred right foot and hammered it off of a Timbers’ defender for the game-winning goal. It is O’Ojong’s second of the year and Jones’ first assist.
“I was so happy, celebrating by myself back there,” said goalkeeper Charlie Lyon. “It was a huge relief. We were having a lot of chances we just had to keep that belief that one would fall our way and it did.”
Equally deserving of the credit was Lyon, who recorded his first clean sheet of the season. Lyon attributed the achievement to the hard work of his teammates.
“It’s a great feeling to walk out of the game with a zero,” he said. “I’ve got to say that all the guys in front of me worked incredibly hard; they were the ones that really secured the shutout. They made my job easy today so hats off to them.”
The result marks three consecutive wins for S2. After a discouraging start to the season, S2 now find themselves just two points out of the playoffs picture, having leapfrogged three teams in the Western Conference with tonight's result.
“One of the things I want to say about these guys is that they never lost confidence,” Hendrickson told reporters. “We’re proud of them.”
S2 will enjoy a much-deserved rest before getting ready for next Monday’s match against Real Monarchs (7:30 p.m. PT, livestream on SoundersFC.com).