Photo courtesy Charis Wilson / Seattle Sounders FC 2
TUKWILA, Wash. – Seattle Sounders FC 2 rallied from an early second-half deficit to earn a 2-1 victory against the Portland Timbers 2 on Sunday afternoon at Starfire Stadium. Seattle pressed early, and almost took the lead in the 12th minute when Henry Wingo broke forward off a T2 corner and was denied by Portland goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh. The T2 goalkeeper was sharp again in the 28th minute as Zach Mathers turned his defender beautifully and fired a low shot to the right corner, only for McIntosh to turn it wide for a corner. McIntosh made another big save early in the second half, and it proved valuable as Villyan Bijev picked out the right corner with a shot from 20 yards to give T2 the lead in the 51st minute. Wingo sent a big chance high three minutes later for S2, but the hosts struck twice in three minutes to gain the lead as Seyi Adekoya and Mathers both struck to make it 2-1 with 25 minutes to go. Seattle goalkeeper Tyler Miller made a good save to deny Jeremy Ebobisse from the top of the penalty area soon after, and then came up with a massive stop to deny Bijev from the penalty spot with 12 minutes to go, which served to preserve all three points for Seattle.
51’ – POR – Villyan Bijev (Victor Arboleda)
64’ – SEA – Seyi Adekoya (Brian Nana-Sinkam)
66’ – SEA – Zach Mathers (Henry Wingo)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Seattle looked by far the more dangerous side throughout the first half, and didn’t have the lead thanks to another sterling display by Timbers 2 goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh. The former U.S. U20 international made two outstanding saves to deny Henry Wingo on a breakway, and Zach Mathers after a tremendous turn to create space. McIntosh’s performance kept his side in the game long enough for a piece of individual brilliance by Villyan Bijev to give T2 the lead, and while the lead didn’t hold, McIntosh will again leave the game with head held high.
2. When S2 finally broke the dam, it did so to outstanding effect. Seyi Adekoye’s first goal as a professional after his speed left T2’s defense for dead was an illustration of why the Sounders brass is so high on the former Academy standout, who signed as a Homegrown Player this offseason. Mathers was then rewarded with the simplest of finishes after another piece of good play by Henry Wingo to give S2 the lead just two minutes later.
3. Portland was handed a golden chance to level the score and have the chance at its first point of the season when Victor Arboleda was brought down by S2 goalkeeper Tyler Miller, but Miller more than made up for his mistake with a fine save on Villyan Bijev’s spot kick that proved to be decisive. The moment was symbolic of prior contests between the two clubs, with the series tilting now 8-1-0 in regular-season play in favor of S2. With three consecutive defeats to start the season, T2 needs a turnaround, and fast.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Henry Wingo, Seattle Sounders FC 2 – Wingo put in a strong performance, looking sharp all over the field as he completed 83 percent of his passes and recorded the assist on Zach Mathers’ game-winning goal.
Seattle Sounders FC 2 at Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 – April 8, 6 p.m. ET, McLeod Athletic Park
Portland Timbers 2 vs. Orange County SC – April 8, 10 p.m. ET, Providence Park