A fantastic season for the Seattle Sounders U-17/18 squad ended on a beautiful summer evening at the Starfire Soccer Complex last Monday. Montreal’s Marco Dominguez scored a goal 33 minutes into the game, sparking momentum for the Impact’s 3-0 victory. Montreal (18-6-3) now advances this week to Carson, Calif. where they’ll play in the developmental league’s Final 4.
It was a tough loss for the Sounders, who had outscored previous opponents 16-1 during a recent three-game Academy playoffs in Indiana.
“I think we were pushing the pace a lot at the start, almost too much,” said Sounders goalie and Woodinville native Paul Christensen. “That’s not necessarily how we usually play. We are aggressive, but I thought we were almost overly aggressive, almost frantic. We didn’t look relaxed. I think we did pretty well in the first half, and overall we controlled the game pretty well. We had the ball most of the time. But if you can’t score, and the other team scores, it doesn’t do much good to have the ball.”
For most of the first half, the game remained scoreless. But the Dominguez goal was stunning in its suddenness, without the typical passing and set-up needed to get one past the goalie.
“We turned the ball over in a bad spot,” Christensen explained. “The sun was coming through right under the bleachers and it was in my eyes throughout most of the first half. That made it tough because I didn’t see it off the guy’s foot as well as I normally would. And it was that they caught us by surprise, because we didn’t think we would lose the ball there [just a few feet in front of the goal]. We just didn’t react to it very well. That’s what happens.”
Montreal’s Fabio Morelli went on to add a goal in the 53rd minute and Sam Duffek capped off the scoring with a goal in second-half stoppage time.
In the Sounders locker room, head coach Dick McCormick addressed the team, whose season concluded with a 20-5-6 record.
“He said we didn’t have our best game,” Christensen said. “He told us we had a good year. We did finish in the top eight in the nation, which is something to be proud of.”
Christensen will next enroll at the University of Portland where he will play goalie for the Pilots.
“Almost all the players on the [Sounders] team are going on to play in Division I college,” Christensen said. “So our coach was saying that this was just kind of a bump in the road. It is frustrating and a lot of the guys were sad that we couldn’t do better. But it’s a great group of guys, so I’m sure we will all move on. And I’m excited to see where everyone on the team goes in the future, because there’s a lot of talent on that team.”