In their second meeting here at Starfire, the Sounders U23 beat Washington Crossfire 1-0. It was set out to be a close and competitive game from the beginning; there were only 3 points separating the teams in league standings.
From the first whistle to the last, the game was physical and multiple cards were handed out. There is no doubt that this was a rivalry game.
The first piece of action came from Sounder’s forward, Steve Mohn. A couple of really well put together wall passes gave Mohn the space he needed to rip off a clean shot. Crossfire keeper, Ian Clark, came up with a nice save to stop the shot. Crossfire’s forward, Hamza Haddadi, created his own goal scoring opportunity later in the first half. He beat the Sounders defender with his footwork and then got off a shot from just inside the 18 yard-box, but the Sounders keeper had a solid save to keep the score level.
The first half was a battle, but neither team could put the ball in the net. The half ended 0-0.
In the second half, Sounders began to dominate possession. They really showed team chemistry in their attacks going forward. In the 66th minute, defender Michael Uyehara, brought the ball out of the back with a burst of speed. He linked up with his midfielders and then forward with a long, streaking, Yedlin-like run up the sideline. Crossfire’s Ian Clark came out of goal bravely to stop the goal scoring opportunity.
Although Sounders held most of the possession, when Crossfire did attack it was extremely explosive. Some of their counter-attacks took only seconds to make it to the Sounders own 18 yard-box.
In the 84th minute there was a hard foul just outside the box and a free kick was awarded to the Sounders. Aaron Kover stepped up and hit in a beautiful curler over the wall, but Clark had an even better save to push the ball over the bar.
A few minutes later in the 88th minute, Crossfire’s Nick James drilled a knuckle ball from just outside the Sounder’s 18 yard-box that dipped just after going over the crossbar.
In stoppage time the Sounders finally found their winning goal. A Sounders defender hit long ball out of the back that ultimately resulted in an own goal for Crossfire. There was a miscommunication between the defender and the goalie and the ball was accidentally headed over the top of goalie, Ian Clark, as he was coming out to get it.
Nothing should be taken away from the Sounders tonight, they deserved the win. They worked hard, pressured Crossfire defense consistently, and ultimately came out with a W. Also nothing should be taken away from Crossfire, they had their opportunities as well, just could not convert any of them for a goal.
Find more team info on the Sounders U23 website.