By CHARLIE CORR – firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Seattle Sounders FC 2’s first USL season was a bit of a whirlwind. Ezra Hendrickson’s side had a top-notch campaign at its home pitch of Starfire Stadium, but also struggled on the road. Ultimately, Seattle did just enough to clinch a spot in the 2015 USL Playoffs, which for a first-year club with many moving pieces was a success. Hendrickson will have a challenge incorporating a number of new pieces to the mix for 2016, especially with several former S2 players moving their way into first-team club.
Head Coach: Ezra Hendrickson
Stadium: Starfire Sports Complex
2015 results: 13-12-3
2015 postseason: 2-0 loss vs. Colorado Springs in West Quarterfinals
Goalkeeper: As of March 22, Seattle has not announced its goalkeeping corps.
Defense: Because S2 has not officially unveiled much of its defense, the one certainty in this group is defender Michael Nelson, who was selected in the fourth round of the 2016 MLS SuperDraft. Nelson hails from Old Dominion.
Midfield: Amadou Sanyang heads into the 2016 season as the most significant midfield holdover. He logged 1,558 minutes in 20 games last season. Carlos Patino also appeared in three matches last season. The rest of the group has undergone a big revision. Emir Alihodzic and Zach Mathers, who were selected during the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, were added to the roster. Alihodzic played for the University of Nebraska-Omaha and Mathers played for Duke.
Forward: Myron Samuel had 45 minutes of fame last season with S2. The halftime sub scored two goals and added an assist during a victory against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, earning USL Player of the Week honors. However, Samuel suffered a foot injury and that lone August appearance abruptly ended his season. Anticipation will certainly be in the air as Samuel prepares for his first full campaign with S2 in 2016. In terms of other attacking options, the USL side could regain the services of the likes of St. Vincent and the Grenadines international Oalex Anderson, who signed with the first time during the offseason but could be an S2 option to add to his four-goal total from last year.
Strengths: It is a small sampling, but Samuel’s one-half performance last season might make him one of the more exciting elements to look forward to within a vastly different group. A number of questions are still on the horizon for S2; Samuel could turn into the offensive juggernaut that supporters will gravitate toward.
Weaknesses: S2’s road woes and home dominance were evident from start to finish during the 2015 campaign. With massive turnover and a youthful squad, it could be a challenge for Hendrickson’s side to buck that road trend. If not for that difficulty away from Starfire, Seattle would have qualified early for last year’s USL Playoffs. The good thing working for S2 this season is that they play seven of their first eight games at home. On the flip side, their schedule includes the final four matches of the regular season away from Starfire.
Key number: 11 – Seattle led the Western Conference with 11 home victories at Starfire Stadium last year, and was second to only 2015 USL champions the Rochester Rhinos (12) league-wide.
Noteworthy matchups: Late May to mid-June is chockful of Cascadia clashes, with Seattle playing three of its four matches against Pacific Northwest rivals. It includes a May 26 road match against the Portland Timbers 2 at Providence Park, a home game against Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 on June 9 at Starfire, and a T2 rematch on June 14 at Merlo Field.
Coach’s view: “We have some new players in. It was a big turnover from last year. We only kept three or four signed guys from last year, so it’ll be some new guys out there for the fans to see. We think we’ve brought in some good players and we’re going to continue from what we started last year and build on that.” – Ezra Hendrickson
Current roster (updated: March 22, 2016):
Goalkeepers: (No official announcements)
Defenders: Michael Nelson
Midfielders: Emir Alihodzic, Zach Mathers, Carlos Patino, Amadou Sanyang, Jordan Schweitzer
Forwards: Myron Samuel