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MATCH RECAP: 5 things to know from Wednesday’s preseason friendly vs. Portland Timbers in Tucson

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The 2022 season is underway!

On Wednesday night, the Seattle Sounders played to a scoreless draw against the Portland Timbers at Kino North Stadium on a clear and chilly night in Tucson.

The match featured the first time we’ve seen a handful of Sounders in action, including Designated Player signing Albert Rusnák and Homegrown Player Dylan Teves. The chances were there, the defense was strong, and there is plenty to be excited about after the season debut. Let’s get into it!

The first 60 minutes featured a starter-heavy lineup in a 4-2-3-1 formation. The only non-First Team players were the outside backs, with Tacoma Defiance’s Joe Hafferty and Randy Mendoza playing alongside Yeimar and AB Cissoko in the back.

The next 30 minutes shifted to a 5-4-1 formation that was anchored by First Teamers Will Bruin, Sam Adeniran, and Stefan Cleveland. That group mostly featured recent SuperDraft selections, and Sounders Academy/Tacoma Defiance players.

There wasn’t a goal on the scoresheet to show for it, but Léo Chú looked dangerous in his hour on the pitch. Owning the left flank, Chú had a knack for getting in good positions and finding Raúl Ruidíaz, who had multiple shot attempts in the first half. There were at least two instances where he burst past a one-on-one defender and sent a dangerous cross near goal. On another occasion, Chú, Ruidíaz, and Rusnák combined for a string of passes that leaves us all excited about their potential on the pitch together. The running nickname for this phenomenon is the “ChuRuRu” — spread the word.

In a move showcasing their ability to play all over the pitch, Kelyn Rowe and Albert Rusnák linked up in the central midfield behind a line of three attacking midfielders. We know Rowe’s versatility based on his efforts from last year, and that Rusnák tended to play in an attacking position with Real Salt Lake. Playing a bit further back in this match didn’t lessen their effectiveness as both were very involved, particularly Rusnák, in leading counterattacks.

Just like we saw often in 2021, having Stefan Frei or Stefan Cleveland (or in tonight’s case — both) is a very good thing. Portland didn’t have too many chances in a match that favored possession towards Seattle, but when they did, the last line of defense was there to halt any chances. In a season that features competitive matches in less than one month with Concacaf Champions League, a healthy and confident goalkeeping crew is a great way to start the campaign.

Regardless of the preseason nature of the match, it was still a professional setting with fans in the stands and two rivals on the pitch. It was great exposure for young First Team players like Sam Adeniran, who had several shot attempts in his 30 minutes on the field. Sota Kitahara, who is under contract with Tacoma Defiance, was a noticeable offensive presence in the midfield, while Tacoma Defiance’s Jackson Ragen anchored a backline alongside 2022 SuperDraft selection Achille Robin.





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Midfielder Celeste Boureille departs Thorns FC

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Celeste Boureille has informed Thorns FC of her impending move to a European-based club, the club confirmed today, with an announcement regarding her next destination expected in the near future

Boureille, 27, was out of contract with the Thorns after the 2021 National Women’s Soccer League season and had announced her departure from the team on Monday via social media.

She joined the Thorns as an undrafted free agent before the 2016 season and went on to make 66 regular-season appearances with the club over her six seasons. She was part of NWSL Shield winning teams in 2016 and 2021 and was member of the Thorns’ NWSL Championship team in 2017.

“My time as a Thorn has been an amazingly rewarding experience and I have loved every second of it,” Boureille said on Twitter. “Thank you to the entire Portland organization for giving me this unforgettable opportunity since day one as a Pro.”





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Charlotte FC eye more DPs beyond “special player” Karol Świderski

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Krneta assured that more additions are on the way, too, particularly of the DP variety (as many as two more). Ecuador international midfielder Jordy Alcívar is currently a Young DP, though that classification could change come roster compliance day.

“We’re looking for more,” Krneta said. “There will be more DPs, we have options and this is why we build the club and the roster in a way that we can cherry-pick, if you like, at the end of the roster-building who we want. … These very good players, it’s not easy to get these players over the line. There’s always an issue or two. But hopefully soon we’ll add one or two more players.”

As key signings are finalized, Świderski is relishing the opportunity – and natural pressure – that awaits him in Charlotte.

“America, this was my dream also,” Świderski said. “I’m so happy to be here.”





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