Strong Weekend For Young Sounders

The Sounders FC U18 and U16 teams finished 2-1-1 on the weekend before heading on a two-month break from game action.

IRVINE, CALIF. - While the Sounders FC first team is at training camp in Bradenton, Florida, the U18 and U16 teams are continuing their strong play in the USSDA, going 2-1-1 on the road this weekend against Pateadores and the Irvine Strikers.

The U18s started with a 1-0 loss to the Irvine Strikers on Saturday, but bounced back with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Pateadores at Orange Coast College.

Coming off of the 1-0 defeat, the match Sunday did not start Seattle’s way, as Pateadores came up on the right side of a scramble in front of the box that resulted in a goal in the 4th minute to put them up 1-0.

That lead held well into the second half, though Brandon Brockway narrowly missed on a header in the 52nd minute.

However, Seattle was able to equalize in the 86th minute when Sean Okoli set up Darwin Jones for a goal.  It looked like the Sounders would come out with just a draw, but then in the 90th minute Brockway scored off a free kick from goalkeeper Ryan Herman to secure the 2-1 victory for Seattle.

Against Irvine on Saturday, the Sounders fell behind in the 3rd minute and nearly found themselves trailing 3-0 if not for two spectacular saves by Rodney Greiling.  The Sounders put on the pressure in the final 20 minutes but could not find the back of the net and were left with a 1-0 loss.

After the weekend, the U18 team is now 12-4-4 and will take a two-month break from matches to allow the players to compete for their high school teams.

The U16s, meanwhile, continued their dominance of the West Division with another unbeaten weekend to push their overall record to 14-2-4.

They, too, fell behind early to Pateadores, allowing a 16th minute goal and getting a huge save from Keenan Townsend that kept that lead from growing to 2-0.

Then in the 45th minute, Austin Sweeney took a game-changing free kick, blasting a monster of a shot from 25 yards out into the lower left corner to even the score before halftime.

In the 55th minute, Jesse Klug set up Ike Crook to put the Sounders ahead 2-1, however, a 75th minute goal from Pateadores tied it up at 2-2 and that score held to the final whistle.

The draw came after a dominating performance in a 3-1 win over the Irvine Strikers with Jordan Schweitzer having a strong day in the midfield, Jacob Beck and Michael Gallagher shoring up the defense and Townsend coming up big in front of the net.

In the 11th minute, Schweitzer got Seattle off to a hot start with a goal off a Jordan Thompson assist.  However, Irvine would bounce back five minutes later when they earned a penalty kick.  Townsend stopped the PK, but Irvine finished off the rebound to even the score at 1-1 in the 16th minute.

Seattle would regain the lead and put the game away even before halftime, though.

In the 23rd minute Crook scored on a cros from Beck for a 2-1 lead.

In the 39th minute, Jeffrey Collings set up Michael Steele for a quality goal and a 3-1 lead and Seattle held that lead through the final whistle.

Kovar Scores
The weekends successes were made even more sweet by the news that U18 midfielder Aaron Kovar made his debut for the US U18 National Team in a 2-2 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps.  That debut was made all the more memorable when Kovar scored his first goal in his international career, a go-ahead strike in the 62nd minute to give the U18s a 2-1 lead.  Kovar took a pass from forward Vince Cicciarelli and redirected it into the net for the goal.