Seattle Sounders FC U-23s 4, Lane United FC 0
Lane United hit the low point of their inaugural season with a 4-0 loss to a fresh Seattle Sounders FC U23 team in Sumner, WA. Still clearly suffering the effects of the mentally and physically draining match against Washington Crossfire 48 hours earlier, the Reds were only able to keep the scoreline even for the first 10 minutes, when the Seattle fullback Clement Simonin avoided detection at the back post and headed the ball back across the face of goal for Niko Hansen to score from six yards. In the ensuing ten minutes, Christian Dietrich on the left and the new acquisition Johnny Chronopolous on the right were able to make some inroads on the wings that led to Lane United’s best chances of the match. Chronopolous twice won free kicks that led to ultimately fruitless scrambles in the box, and Vizcaino crashed a header against the crossbar around the 20th minute after a foray from Dietrich had led to a corner. Lane United would not get any closer than that for the rest of the game.
At halftime, still clinging onto a 1-0 deficit, Galas elected to substitute some of his main weapons, all of whom had played 90 minutes against the Crossfire on Wednesday and will be absolutely essential to a good result against the Victoria Highlanders on Sunday. Brenden Anderson, Pancho Vizcaino, and Martin Lukaschik came out, with the relatively untested Matt Arbogast and Joseph Bolous coming in along with the regular substitute Daley Stevens. It meant, crucially, that the back line only had one regular starter (Casey Phillips) in his normal position, with Dirk van der Velde moved in to center back from his normal fullback role, where he has played exclusively this season. Again, the defense lasted ten minutes of the half before being split open by slick passing down the left wing; the end result was Jamael Cox gliding in uncontested at Matt Bersano, who had to stay tight to his near post and was helpless when Cox pulled it back to Jordan Morris to pass into an empty net.
Lane United still looked up for the fight, but a dubious penalty call four minutes later effectively ended the game. Joseph Bolous got called for climbing over Hansen on an aerial challenge, even though the forward was not making an attempt to play the ball and not even moving towards it. Bazja drilled the penalty low and to the right. Four minutes later, Seattle got their fourth when Mark Lee chased down a ball played back to Bersano and slide-tackled it cleanly from him, then got up and passed the ball into the vacated net. Half-chances came and went for both teams afterward, but each team used its full complement of six substitutes and played essentially with the hand-brake on for the final 20 minutes.
“We played well enough to beat the Crossfire on Wednesday and dropped points,” head coach John Galas said after the game. “We spent a lot of energy in that match chasing those points and it came back to haunt us tonight, because we never really got out of the gate. It was a combination of tired legs and a lack of competitive fire. We will regroup and get after it on Sunday. We have the best fans in the league and want to reward them with a solid performance on Sunday against a very good team in the Victoria Highlanders.” That game is at 6:00 p.m., and will see a Highlanders team also in the midst of a tough road trip; they will play the Portland Timbers U-23s in Portland less than 24 hours before kicking off against Lane United.