Aaron Kovar scores, Seattle Sounders FC 2 grab first win of USL season

TUKWILA, Wash. – It was a cathartic evening for Seattle Sounders FC 2 on Sunday as they triumphed over Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 1-0 for their first win of the USL season.

“We’re just happy to get three points tonight and get the monkey off our back,” said head coach Ezra Hendrickson. “We’re four points in the right direction the past two games so that’s very good.”

Forward Aaron Kovar scored the lone goal of the evening on a penalty kick awarded in the 28th minute. Midfielder Zach Mathers earned the foul when he followed up forward Andy Craven’s surge into the box, and was taken out by a Switchbacks defender.

Kovar sent Switchbacks goalkeeper Devala Gorrick in the wrong direction as he buried the kick calmly into the bottom left corner of the net.

While Kovar’s was the decisive goal, it was the defense that shined on the night in S2’s first clean sheet of the season.

“I pride myself a lot on team defending and a shut out is the biggest statement in team defending,” said defender Michael Nelson. “I thought it was excellent from everybody.”

It was Nelson’s first appearance for S2 after being sidelined for a month with an injury and he jumped right in at starting center back alongside defender Tony Alfaro. With a clean sheet in the books, Nelson is pleased with his debut and will look to carry the momentum into the rest of the season.

“Couldn’t ask for a better debut,” Nelson beamed. “It’s always frustrating to sit and watch your team play because you want to be out there so bad, so I was buzzing. In the warmups, I was so excited to play.”

Nelson was a fourth-round selection by the Sounders in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft in January and signed an S2 contract on March 9. Hendrickson was thrilled to have Nelson back in the lineup and was pleased with the youngster’s performance in his debut.

“He’s a very aggressive guy, and we needed someone like that tonight,” Hendrickson said. “We had no qualms about putting him in the starting lineup this week.”

After a five-match home stand to begin the season, S2 now hit the road as they travel to Rio Tinto Stadium for a clash with Real Monarchs SLC on April 26.

“We’re happy with the progress we’re making,” said Hendrickson. “If we play with this kind of mentality, whether it’s on the road or at home, we’ll be successful.”