Match Recap – Sounders U-23s, June 17
Lane United FC surrendered a two-goal advantage to draw 3-3 with the Seattle Sounders FC U-23 on Sunday afternoon in Sumner, Washington. The Sounders opened the scoring through Jamael Cox in the 23rd minute but by midway through the second half Lane United had responded with three unanswered goals. The Reds appeared to be on cruise control until, but out of nothing, Niklas Brodacki clawed a scrappy goal back for the home side in the 85th minute and then three minutes later disaster struck when Eddie Na won a penalty in a challenge with the Reds’ Jon Stadler, who was subsequently sent off for his remonstrations.
Seattle enjoyed the first decent spell of pressure for either team around the 15th minute, with Hayden Criollo and Leeroy Maguraushe—the latter twice—getting good chances to shoot at R.J. Noll’s goal within the space of three minutes, with LUFC starter Paul Kruse having failed his pre-game fitness test with a thigh strain. That pressure subsided until the 23rd minute, when the Seattle fullback Jamael Cox opened the scoring with a brilliant solo effort, albeit one straight from a Lane United corner kick. At the back post from that corner, he managed to nick possession after an LUFC communications breakdown and simply never looked back, breezing past two Lane United players in the open field and charging into a three-on-two situation at the attacking end. His two Seattle teammates made smart runs off the ball to give the last two Reds defenders an impossible choice of who to mark, and when they backed away from Cox one step too far, he let fly from 20 yards and buried his left-footed shot into the bottom right corner.
There was little in the way of response from Lane United for the next quarter of an hour, but finally in the 38th minute they produced their best chance of the game when Anthony Macchione crossed low and hard from the right for Sam Engle crashing the six-yard box. He turned his glancing shot on target but was denied by a brilliant save from former Red Ben Willis in the Sounders’ goal. But a minute later, Lane United would kick the door down, with Sergio Diaz clipping a clever ball over the top for Macchione to run onto. Willis, so soon after his exceptional save, made the decision to race out to cut down the striker’s angles, but Macchione had a third option and sublimely lobbed ball over Willis and into the vacated net from just outside the penalty area. A minute after that, Seattle’s Santiago Patino almost restored the advantage with a wicked half-volley from 25 yards that brought a sprawling low save out of Noll. Lane United then finished the first half on the front foot with a spell of pressure but the teams went into the break tied at one apiece.
Seattle threatened briefly at the start of the second half, but for the next 20 minutes the momentum was with Lane United, and they made the most of it through two well-worked goals. The first came in the 58th minute after a sustained period of goalmouth pressure resulted in multiple corner kicks for the Reds; on one of those, Sergio Diaz aired a tantalizing delivery to the back post for an uncontested Sam Engle to head back over Willis with Maguraushe’s despairing attempt at a goal-line clearance hitting the roof of his own net. With Seattle failing to mount much of a response, Lane United went two up in the 71st minute when an interception by the Reds’ back line found Nick Moon near the center circle. Moon turned and unerringly picked out halftime substitute forward Gloire Amanda, who had already peeled out to the right channel for a run in behind the floundering Seattle back line. With all the time in the world to shoot and the Sounders defenders failing to catch him, the Oregon State forward placed a low shot underneath Willis’ right hand from the right side of the penalty box.
Seattle’s spirit was so visibly lackluster in the ensuing fifteen minutes that it was unclear where the inspiration to get back into the match would come from. But in the 85th minute, their substitute #10 Hugo Delhommelle curled a nicely weighted ball just over the heads of the Lane United center-halves and another substitute, Brodacki, steamed into the space between the back line and an onrushing R.J. Noll to get the faintest of touches on the ball, which bounced awkwardly into an empty net. Seattle were immediately re-energized by the surprise development and went in search of an equalizer, which came after Stadler was judged to have tripped Na in the box. Stadler clearly felt Na had instigated the contact after pushing the ball by him, and something the Reds defender said to the referee, Christian Clerc, as the penalty kick was being lined up resulted in a red card being shown. The influential Delhommelle slotted the penalty to the bottom right corner, having sent Noll the wrong way.
“I’m certainly disappointed with the manner in which the final minutes unfolded. We needed to be much more professional in our approach to closing this game out. We made two silly mistakes that ultimately cost us vital points in this incredibly competitive division.” said head coach John Galas. “I’m equally disappointed in the sending off of our captain Jon Stadler. He’ll miss a crucial match against the Highlanders this Friday night, and his sending off puts us in a difficult spot” That difficulty is amplified by center-halves Connor Ramlo having picked up an injury early in the match and Julius Fohr having returned to Germany to spend time with his ailing grandmother.
Even as Seattle frantically pressed for a winner through five minutes of stoppage time against the undermanned Reds, and the Reds trying desperately to undo the four-minute catastrophe, no clear-cut chances materialized for either side. The match finished 3-3, the Reds’ second consecutive match ending with that scoreline and a load of late drama.