A young Sounders 2 club with a large number of new faces will take the field for coach Ezra Hendrickson at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila on Saturda. As is common among USL teams, the Sounders have basically rebuilt their 2017 squad returning only a single player from the 2016 season. However, unlike the Monarchs who elected to rebuild by bringing in a number of USL veterans, the Sounders have followed the major of junior MLS squads by turning to their youth.
Tyler Miller, a 24-year-old goalkeeper, down from the parent club much like Lalo Fernandez for the Monarchs, is the old man among the regular starters. Samuel Rogers, a 17-year-old converted defensive midfielder has been the anchor in central defense partnering with Riley Grant and 19-year-old Rodrigue Ele. Brian Nana-Sinkam and 19-year-old Nouhou Tolo have each netted a goal while playing as fullbacks in the four man defensive line.
Regardless of how they are listed in the lineup, Sounders 2 play a five man midfield with Francisco Narbon and Ray Saan handling the defensive side and David Olsen, Zach Mathers and a changing list of other players pushing forward on offense.
Irvin Parra, the sole returning player from last year, has the most time as the sole striker although Seyi Adekoya and 18-year-old Felix Chenkam have started matches up top.
The Monarchs are healthy and should field their regular squad with the exception of Charlie Adams who is suspended for the match. As Adams has played all but six minutes of the previous four matches, it will be interesting to see who will be called upon to replace him and partner with Seba in the offensive midfield. It could be Minter or Brody moving off the wing, Karsten Hanlin finally getting some time on the field, or a player down from the parent squad.
Also entering their third season, the Sounders 2 qualified for the final playoff spot in 2015 with a 13-3-12 record before finishing out of the playoffs and below the Monarchs with a 9-8-13 record in 2016.
The Monarchs trail the Sounders 2 in their all time series 1-1-2 with both losses coming at Starfire while the draw and victory were at Rio Tinto.
What to watch for
With their five man midfield Seattle looks to jam up the midfield and look for counter-attack chances at the goal. Hendrickson has shown a tendency to substitute heavily on the offensive side to get fresh speedy legs on the pitch late. The Sounder will be content to allow the Monarchs the bulk of the possession as long as it remains outside of the attacking third.
The Monarchs will be attempting to find the net after their struggles last match and will need a good performance from whoever replaces Adams to deal with the five man midfield. Always good to follow up a less than satisfying match with a victory.
Real Monarchs: (4-2-3-1) Fernandez; Curinga, Moberg, Orozco, Lachowecki; Besler, Minter; Haber, Velasquez, Brody; Hoffman
Seattle Sounders 2 FC: (4-5-1): Miller; Nana-Sinkam, Rodgers, Ele, Tolo; Narbon, Saan, Olsen, Mathers, Hopeau; Parra
When: Saturday, April 22, 8:00pm MT
Where: Starfire Sports Stadium — Tukwila, WA
Weather: 56 degrees, Showers