With two preseason matches remaining, Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid chose to dedicate one of them to featuring his club’s reserves.
Wednesday night, that group consisting of numerous rookies and a few veterans had its share of positive moments, but Schmid’s side would ultimately suffer its second straight defeat.
The Rave Green lost 2-1 to the New England Revolution in their third fixture of the 2015 Desert Diamond Cup. After taking the lead just four minutes into the match on a Kenny Cooper tap-in, Sounders FC yielded a pair of second-half goals to the defending Eastern Conference champions.
“Obviously we wanted to get a result, and that didn’t happen. But I think the attitude and the mood of the group is good,” said Troy Perkins, who played all 90 minutes in goal on Wednesday. “We’re obviously excited. Opening with [New England] at home will be interesting.”
As Perkins alluded to, the Sounders will get another chance to play New England very soon. The two teams will meet in the regular-season opener on March 8 at CenturyLink Field, one of the reasons why Schmid kept his starters out of the lineup for the friendly.
Among those who played 90 minutes on Wednesday were rookies Oniel Fisher, Andres Correa and Cristian Roldan. Second-year centerbacks Jimmy Ockford and Damion Lowe each played a half on the backline, and 21-year-old midfielder Aaron Kovar also saw 45 minutes of action.
Rookie winger Darwin Jones was replaced by Kovar at halftime, but not before the Homegrown Player recorded his first professional assist on Cooper’s goal.
“We were definitely excited because we had a lot to prove,” Jones said of he and his young teammates. “So we just wanted to go out there and have some fun.”
New England’s game-winning goal came on a penalty kick in stoppage time, 30 minutes after the Revs had been reduced to 10 players due to Tyler Rudy’s red card.
“I thought we played well when we were even numbers. I thought when we got a number up, when they got the red card, we didn’t possess the ball as much as we needed to,” Schmid said. “We were a little bit impatient at times. But still, we had enough chances to win the game.”
This weekend the Rave Green will get a chance to close out the preseason on a positive note. Schmid says his starters will be on the pitch Saturday night when Seattle faces Sporting Kansas City at 4:00 p.m. PST.