MLS Soccer

Sounders 2 debuts with 4-2 win over defending USL champion Sacramento Republic FC

Sounders 2 was created to get players game minutes in a competitive atmosphere.

Mission accomplished, the new club said Saturday, after debuting with a 4-2 win over defending USL champion Sacramento Republic FC before a crowd of 2,951 at Starfire Stadium.

“It was a great crowd; it turned out to be a great day,” coach Ezra Hendrickson said. “It was a good way to start. We knew they were the defending champions coming in. They had the better of things in the first half, but we went in at halftime and tweaked some things.”

The first goal in S2 history went into the books in the 49th minute, a soft chip by Andy Craven after a pass into the box by Damion Lowe.

“It was an incredible game and start to a professional career,” Craven said. “I don’t think anybody could ask for more. I was so excited.”

Sacramento answered in the 64th minute when Justin Braun beat the defense in front of the net and equalized with authority, 1-1.

S2 took the match over from there with three consecutive goals. Sam Garza restored Seattle’s lead in the 70th minute, fighting past a defender in the box for the goal. Newly signed Pablo Rossi provided breathing room in the 76th minute with a free kick directly into the net. Then Sounders FC’s top SuperDraft pick Cristian Roldan finished with a score off a break in the 89th minute.

Sacramento’s Ocravio Guzman scored in stoppage time to set the final score.

Sounders 2 was formed in October as a bridge between the Sounders FC Academy and the MLS Sounders. Its purpose is to get young or little-used players in a more competitive situation than what existed in the old MLS Reserve League.

That was the case in Tukwila, as chanting, flag-waving supporters from both the Sounders and the Republic added to the atmosphere. The stadium itself also had a new look for the occasion with three sections of plastic chair-back seating added to the main grandstand.

“It’s like being in a mini CenturyLink,” Garza said. “What an amazing atmosphere. Best fans in America, hands down.”

S2’s inaugural starting lineup included goalkeeper Charlie Lyon; defenders Oneil Fisher, Jimmy Ockford, Damion Lowe and Dylan Remick; midfielders Victor Mansaray, Amadou Sanyang, Giuliano Frano and Aaron Kovar; and forwards Rossi and Craven.

S2 returns to Starfire Stadium on March 29 when Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 visits at 4 p.m.