Sean Morris celebrates his match winner (photo by Chris Coulter, SoundersPhotos.com)
Ventura, CA - After conceding a goal at the beginning of the 2nd half, the Sounders FC U-23 stormed back for a 2-1 win over FC Tucson in the Western Conference Semi-finals on Saturday night in California.
Goals from Darwin Jones and Sean Morris were enough to advance the Sounders U-23 to the Western Conference Championship at 5pm on Sunday afternoon.
The Sounders generated the best chances in the 1st half and held the run play. Beginning with a high level of pressure, Seattle was able to pick up possession high up the field and turn it into chances.
While it could be argued, which shot was the best chance for the Sounders in the 1st 45 minutes, the closest was off the foot of Darwin Jones. The explosive forward cut to the inside from the edge of the penalty area onto his right foot. Jones struck the ball with pace but it skimmed just over the top of the crossbar.
The Sounders also had a few good crossing opportunities that opened up shots from the top of the box, but couldn’t keep their shots on frame. The first half finished with the score board blank.
The 2nd half was complete different from the 1st half in terms of goals yielded from chances on net. It took less than two minutes for the 0-0 score line to vanish.
In the 47th minute, FC Tucson’s star forward, a former MLS talent, Donny Toia shot from left to right to find the bottom corner of the net. The former Real Salt Lake product beat Doug Herrick to give Tucson a 1-0 lead.
The Sounders didn’t take long to bounce back. Less than 10 minutes later, Darwin Jones scored to equalize the score at 1-1. The Sounders’ right back, DeAndre Yedlin, threw a long throw-in towards the front of the goal mouth and it was flicked on to the back post. Jones was there to jump and side-volley the ball into the net.
With momentum firmly in hand, the Sounders completed the comeback in the 64th minute. After a defensive mix up by Tucson, Aodhan Quinn found Sean Morris for the go-ahead goal.
Morris gave the Sounders the lead and despite chances for both teams in the final half hour, the score remained unchanged as the Sounders FC U-23 won 2-1.
The victory advances the Sounders U-23 to the Western Conference Championship on Sunday, June 22. The Sounders will play the host, Ventura County Fusion, for a spot in the PDL National Final Four. Ventura won their semi-final by a score of 1-0 over the Portland Timbers U-23. Ventura needed overtime to knock out the 2nd seed from the Northwest division.
The Western Conference Championship will kick off at 5pm from Ventura College in Ventura, California. Stay tuned on SoundersU23.com for coverage information on the match.