Sounders U-23 1 - 0 F.V. Mariners (RECAP)

Darwin Jones scored the lone goal of another Sounders U-23 win (photo by Chris Coulter, SoundersPhotos.com)

Tacoma, WA – After a massive victory on Friday night against the Kitsap Pumas to put the Sounders U-23 in 1st place in the Northwest Division, they let their guard down on Sunday. Despite their lack of sharpness, the Sounders U23 were still able to earn three points. The Sounders scored 25 seconds into the 2nd half and were able to hold on to a 1-0 win.

The Sounders U-23 dominated the first 25 minutes of the afternoon, with the ball spending 80% of the play in the Sounders attacking half. The Sounders out-shot the Mariners 6-0 during that time, but the scored remained 0-0.

The best chance in the first half came in the 37th minute. A chipped ball over the top of the Fraser Valley defense released Darwin Jones. The fast forward found Aodhan Quinn trailing behind 15 yards from goal. Quinn went one on one with a defender in tight quarters and found enough space to release a low shot. The Mariners’ goalkeeper, Mark Village, made a kick save to hold the deadlock.

After a frustrating 1st half, the Sounders took only 25 seconds to score in the 2nd half. A long cross to the back post found the head of Mauricio De Leon. The Sounders’ wing headed the ball back on frame and hit the crossbar. The rebound fell to Darwin Jones, who smashed the ball off the hands of Village and into the goal.

The Sounders nearly added to the lead a minute later when Sean Morris timed a run to pick up a pass behind the Fraser Valley defense. The bouncing pass sat up for Morris to smash a volley, but Village made the save.

As substitutes were brought on in the last 15 minutes, the Sounders’ chances picked back up. Esteban Potenciano, Tyson Crim, and Facundo Dipascuale combined to set up a shot from the edge of the six yard box. Crim crossed low to Dipascuale, and the Argentina native had his point blank shot saved. The resulting corner kick nearly resulted in a goal. With the penalty box full of players, a low shot was sent to the back post, but was cleared off the line by a Canadian defender.

The Sounders had a late scare from a Fraser Valley free kick near half-field. The long diagonal pass floated all the way to the goal line where Sounders keeper, Doug Herrick, was waiting. With the sun in his eyes and a wind shifting the route of the ball, Herrick was only able to knock the ball down on his first attempt. The keeper’s reaction was quick though, and he scooped it up on his second attempt.

The Sounders 1-0 win gives them 33 points from 15 games played. They remain in 1st place and clinch a top 2 position towards the playoffs. As one of the two top teams from the regular season, they will host a playoff match to be played on the weekend of July 13-15. Date and times will be released soon on SoundersU23.com.

In addition to the playoff scenario, the win ensures that the Sounders U-23 will represent the NW Division in the 2013 Lamar Hunt - United States Open Cup. The club’s appearance in the US Open Cup will be the first in its history, dating back to 2006.

The final match of the regular season, and the Sounders’ chance to clinch the NW Division title is on Wednesday at 7:30pm. For tickets to Wednesday’s match visit SoundersU23.com. For live updates from the match follow us on twitter @SoundersU23.

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