The Seattle Sounders FC Academy U-16 squad suffered a disappointing 3-0 defeat to the Vancouver Whitecaps in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy national quarterfinals..
Though the scoreline suggests a dominant performance by the Canadians, Seattle generated the better chances in the first 45 minutes. In fact, center back Sakari Carter, who scored four goals from set pieces in his previous 11 appearances, rattled the crossbar with a powerful header just one minute before Vancouver’s first goal.
Hoping to convert the possession into goals, the Rave Green pushed numbers forward in search of the opener. Possessing plenty of pace on the wings, Vancouver drew first blood in the 26th minute with a speedy counterattacking sequence capped off by a long-distance goal by Alessandro Hojabrpour.
Leading scorer Jose Hernandez doubled the lead in the 43rd minute, tapping in a low cross at the back post. Vancouver put home an opportunistic third tally just two minutes later. Goalkeeper Sam Fowler did well to pull off a full-extension save in the bottom left corner, but Whitecaps forward Jefferson Alade was quickest to react and pounced on the rebound.
Seattle had an opportunity to pull one back in the 65th minute when the referee awarded a penalty kick for a foul inside the box on Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez. Unfortunately, Vancouver’s goalkeeper produced a stunning save on the ensuing spot kick, as well as several other smart stops in the second half, earning the shutout and securing a spot in the semifinals.
Despite the result in the final match, the 2016-17 season was a resounding success for the U-16s. From integrating younger players to winning their group at the USSDA Playoffs, the campaign saw the Academy take massive steps forward in terms of developing elite players for the professional ranks.