Academy alumni were once again at the heart of a pair of positive results for both the Seattle Sounders and S2. Forward Jordan Morris recorded a pair of assists in the Sounders' 3-1 rout of Orlando City SC, while Jordan Schweitzer and Darwin Jones played vital roles in a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps 2, which extended S2's USL unbeaten run to six matches.
Sounders FC 2 -1 at Whitecaps FC 2 - 1
After winning four matches on the bounce, S2 came up against USL Western Conference leaders Whitecaps FC 2. Rookie midfielder Jordan Schweitzer was a defensive force for Seattle and despite facing the conference’s second-most prolific offense, Schweitzer restricted Vancouver to just two shots on goal.
On top of his imperious defensive effort, Schweitzer could have scored the match-winner in second half stoppage time. A quick one-two passing exchange with Zach Mathers released Schweitzer into the box and he drove toward the goal. After feigning a shot to the far post, he shifted the ball onto his left foot and fired a shot to the near post, but could only strike the side netting.
Homegrown player Darwin Jones started the match up top as the number nine. With S2 defending for large portions of the match, Jones alternated between dropping deep to get on the ball and providing an outlet higher up the pitch for counterattacks.
After a recent run of five goals in four matches, Jones was unable to find the back of the net against a stingy Vancouver defense. However, the local striker demonstrated his improved overall game with intelligent link-up play and clever runs.
In addition to setting up teammates with dangerous opportunities in front of goal—most notably a pair of chances for Mathers in the first-half—Jones ran riot in 1v1 situations with defenders. Jones constantly took defenders on the dribble and easily created a yard of space before playing slick passes to teammates.
Academy midfielder Lorenzo Ramos entered the match for Mark O’Ojong in the 89th minute. The young holding midfielder was brought on to play in a defensive double pivot alongside Schweitzer as S2 looked to hold onto the draw. In just a few minutes on the pitch, Ramos managed to block a dangerous shot which could have handed Whitecaps 2 all three points.
Homegrown striker Jordan Morris put in one of his best performances of the season at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. Interim Head Coach Brian Schmetzer lined up the Sounders in a 4-2-3-1 for the second match running, with Morris operating as the lone forward in place of Nelson Valdez.
While Morris recorded a pair of assists to USMNT teammate Clint Dempsey, he was involved in all three Sounders' goals.
Dempsey’s first goal, assisted by Tyrone Mears, demonstrates the potency of Seattle’s newly formed three-pronged attack. Lodeiro slipped in Mears down the right channel, and the outside back drove a low cross into the box. Morris’ clever decoy run pulled his defender out of position, which created a pocket of space for Dempsey to make one of his trademark late runs.
Morris then beat Orlando’s offside trap for the second goal with a delayed run for Cristian Roldan’s first-time lofted through ball. The Mercer Island native settled the pass with his chest—drawing goalkeeper Joe Bendik off of his line—before squaring the ball for Dempsey to fire first time into an open net.
The play for Dempsey’s third goal began when Brad Evans launched a long ball toward Morris, who played in Lodeiro with a knock down off his chest. He then peeled off the back shoulder of his defender in order to receive the return ball from Lodeiro. Morris drew out goalkeeper Bendik once again before playing an unselfish ball to a wide open Dempsey, who duly finished off the free flowing attacking move.
The Sounders danger man nearly grabbed two more assists after putting Valdez and Alváro Fernandez through on goal, but both of his teammates fired their shots into the post.
The Homegrown striker is having a fantastic rookie campaign with seven goals and three assists from 22 games played.