Sumner, Wash. – TACOMA, Wash. – On a beautiful Tuesday night in Sumner the Sounders U-23 cruised to a 5-1 victory over Southern California club Doxa Italia in the first round of the U.S. Open Cup. They were led by forward David Geno’s four first half goals.
A raucous crowd of nearly 500 were treated to an onslaught of Sounders U-23 first half goals as the chances came quickly and often.
Head Coach and GM, Darren Sawatzky said, “Soccer’s a player’s game. A young guy from Tennessee (Geno) came out and said ‘This is why I want to be in Seattle.’ At the end of the day I think a lot of kids want an opportunity to showcase themselves in front of MLS coaches, and with Sigi and some of the staff here tonight it’s always good for them to get seen.”
In the 13th minute the Sounders U-23 got on the board first. Darwin Jones connected with a through ball into the box, took a look up at the goal, and sent a perfectly placed left footed shot toward the far post. The ball hit off the inside of the post and in for the early 1-0 lead.
Sounders U-23 goal keeper Zac Lubin was tested shortly after with a nice looking shot with power from Doxa midfielder Kyle Holland. Lubin was up for the challenge and sent the shot away, which was then cleared away from danger by the Sounders U-23 defense.
In the 19th minute Aodhan Quinn calmly walked a ball into the left side of the box. He sent a low driving ball toward the back post where a sprinting Mauricio DeLeon had timed his run perfectly. Doxa Italia goal keeper Justin Commins came up with a huge save considering the point blank range of DeLeon’s shot, but Geno was there to follow up. With the ball bouncing up into his body, Geno got himself into position, and side-volleyed it into the top of the net for his first goal and a 2-0 Sounders U-23 lead.
The Sounders U-23 got on the board for a third goal when Jones broke free in the box again in the 36th minute. He spotted his man Geno making a run in front of the goal and sent a precise pass toward the forward’s feet. Geno calmly placed his shot past the Doxa Italia keeper for the 3-0 lead.
Then the Sounders U-23 started to pour on the offense as Geno stuck another one in the net for his hat trick. This time, right-midfielder DeLeon sent a seeking ball into the box. With his back to the goal and on the run, Geno flicked the ball up and over his defender. The ball continued to sail and found its way over the keeper, just under the bar to extend the lead to 4-0.
By halftime the Sounders U-23 had extended their lead to 5-0 thanks to yet another Geno goal. Geno got onto the end of a through ball just outside the top of the box, beat the last Doxa Italia defender, and then slid his shot into the back of the net for his fourth goal of the half.
It was clear in the second half that the Sounders U-23 were focused on keeping possession of the ball as the pace slowed. They managed five shots on goal as opposed to the blistering 11 of the first half.
Then, the Doxa Italia side got on the board in the 68th minute off of a free kick just outside the Sounders U-23 box. Doxa took the free kick quickly catching the Sounders U-23 defense off guard. Doxa leading scorer Bryan Byrne snuck behind the defense and stuck his shot into the net, eliminating the shut out. However, despite a few more chances down the stretch, Doxa Italia could not overcome the deficit.
Sounders U-23 return to the action for a busy week on May 16 and May 19 in Premier Development League play. The Sounders head on the road to face the Portland Timbers U-23 on Thursday for an 11am match and then head up to Victoria for a Sunday afternoon contest.
In addition, with the victory on Tuesday, the Sounders U-23 advance for their first ever appearance in the second round of the U.S. Open Cup. They will travel across the country to take on the Charlotte Eagles of the USL Pro league on May 21st.
Darren Sawatzky, said following the win, "The Open Cup is an exciting competition for these players. It gives them a chance to showcase their ability against professional players and we are looking forward to Tuesday’s game in Charlotte."
For more news and all things Sounders U-23, visit SoundersU23.com, follow us on Twitter: @SoundersU23, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.
SEA - Darwin Jones 13’
SEA - David Geno 19’
SEA - David Geno (Darwin Jones) 36’
SEA - David Geno (Mauricio DeLeon) 38’
SEA - David Geno 45’
DOX - Bryan Byrne 68’
Sounders FC U-23 - Zac Lubin, Michael Uyehara, Mark Lee, Chris Brundage, Lucas Baldwin, David Geno (Ian Lange 45), Aodhan Quinn (Michael Gallagher 59), Darwin Jones (Michael Harris 73), Mauricio DeLeon, Steve Mohn, Adam West.
Substitutes Not Used: Ben Dragavon, Abdul Aman, Michael David, Miles Byass.
TOTAL SHOTS: 16; FOULS: 12; OFFSIDE: 3; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 4.
Doxa Italia - Justin Commins, Justin Valashinas, Ryan Purtell, Joe Cartlidge, Nissa Hatifie (Eddie Pinto 45), Devin Toohey, Steve Chirgwin (Sean Lockhart 64), Greg Piechota, Kyle Holland, Bryan Byrne, Ryan Taylor (Ilia Nazarov 64).
Substitutes Not Used: Devin Shrade, Ricky Figuerod, Richie Million, Matt Urton.
TOTAL SHOTS: 5; FOULS: 5; OFFSIDE: 0; CORNER KICKS: 0; SAVES: 4.
Sounders FC U-23: Michael Uyehara (caution) 71’
Doxa Italia: Sean Lockhart (caution) 72’
Doxa Italia: Joe Carlidge (caution) 89’
Referee: Katja Koroleva
Referee’s Assistants: Baboucarr Jallow, Ray Moffit Jr.
4th Official: Timon Berry
Time of Game: 7:00 p.m. PST