The Sideline

Friday, August 26, 2016 This Week's Paper
Sounders U23s battle back to draw with Crossfire

Fighting back from a one-goal deficit most of the game, the Sounders U23s were able to pull out a 3-3 draw against the Washington Crossfire on Sunday night at Redmond High School to remain alone in fourth place in the league standings.

The Sounders were in a 1-0 hole early, as Crossfire midfielder Matthew Sarett avoided a tackle at the left side of the box and drove a shot into the right netting past Sounders keeper Zac Lubin. The Sounders then went on the attack, getting several good looks but no finish. They equaled the score in the 37th minute when Aodhan Quinn slipped a ball through on the left side to Aaron Kovar, who outraced the defense and sent a beautiful ball in front of goal to Luis Esteves, who drove it in.

But the Crossfire took the lead right back three minutes later when James Moberg was hacked in the box and converted the penalty kick. The Sounders had a golden opportunity in the 42nd minute when Esteves sent a chip to a wide open Sean Okoli on the right side, but Okoli’s low shot flew just left of goal. Okoli laid off another opportunity to Quinn three minutes later at the top of the box, but Quinn’s shot sailed just wide as well.

But the Sounders equalized again four minutes into the second half, as Kovar moved around a defender on the left side and chipped a ball into the box, where defender Mark Lee was waiting to head it in. But the momentum was short lived again, as the Crossfire’s Sean Russell scored from the right side in the 51st minute after outracing the Sounders’ defense.

The Sounders created several opportunities in controlling possession for much of the next 30 minutes, but were unable to strike. It was a couple of substitutes that combined for another equalizer in the 82nd minute, as Maximiliano Estrada sent a nice pass to Eric Stevenson in the middle of the pitch, and Stevenson drilled a low shot past Crossfire keeper Mike Arguello from 30 yards out.

The win gives the Sounders 14 points in league contests with four matches to go, as they sit three points ahead of the Crossfire in a battle for the last playoff spot. The Sounders will travel to take on North Sound at Edmonds-Woodway High School on July 4 at 4 p.m.

Tacoma Rainiers