The Sounders suffered a reserve team match defeat to the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps tonight at Starfire with a final score of 2-1. Although the result was disappointing, the Sounders organization and fans can be excited since Steve Zakuani made a return to the pitch for a full 45 minutes. Zakuani’s familiar face was coupled with 5 players from the Sounders U-18 Academy team that got the call up for the match.
The teams traded possession and attacking opportunities in the first half, but Vancouver opened the scoring in the 26th minute when defender Carlyle Mitchell rose to head home a corner kick. The Sounders created dangerous chances but could not find the back of the net before halftime. The loss cannot be faulted to Sounders GK Andrew Weber as he made a slew of saves throughout the game including a 1 on 1 breakaway chance in the 59th minute. Despite his heroics, he was beaten once more in the 72nd minute off another set piece header by Mitchell—this time off a free kick. The lone Sounders goal came from the play of two academy players as midfielder Aaron Kovar got in behind the defense on the wing before placing a perfect cutback pass for forward Dom Dismuke to blast into the net in the 82nd minute. A late flurry of pressure from the Sounders came unrewarded as the final whistle blew.
The Sounders players could not hide some disappointment at the loss as they walked off the pitch, however, a healthy return of Zakuani combined with the successful play of some academy players must give all spectators a sense of hope for the future.