South Whidbey Revolution begins spring league with a win over Seattle Pumas | U-13 Soccer

The South Whidbey Revolution soccer team pounced on the Pumas in their home opener of the Puget Sound Premier Spring League and beat the Seattle U-13 team 5-2.

The Revolution was ignited early in the first half as Bryce Auburn scored the opening goal off a header from an Andy Zisette corner kick.

The South Whidbey squad scored its second goal on a well-placed through pass from Davin Kesler to Oliver Saunsaucie, who was streaking down an open left wing.

South Whidbey coach Terry Swanson said the team played a control game throughout much of the first half, with the Revolution focusing on one- and two-touch passing and maintaining possession.

South Whidbey took a 3-0 lead when Kai Da Rosa scored a late goal on a breakaway, the result of a well-timed through pass between two Seattle defenders by Saunsauncie.

The Pumas challenged the Revolution early in the second half when they scored two quick unanswered goals.

The Revolution was revived, however, when forward Jeffrey Meier scored on a hard header from a crossed chip from Da Rosa. Meier then added a second goal on a penetrating run set up by a Saunsauncie through pass to ice the score at 5-2.

Coach Swanson said Parker Buchanan, Jordan Henriot and Tom Swanson played strong defense, and worked well in transition with the Revolution midfielders Kameron Donohoe, Lucas Leiberman and Quinn Hassrick. Donald Gambill and Cole Zink backed up starting goalkeeper Charley Stelling, as well as playing their regular positions on defense and midfield. Defender Anders Bergquist did not play in the game because of illness.

“Overall, our team played well in this game,” Swanson said. “We are using a new 4-3-3 formation (four defenders, three midfielders and three forwards) instead of 4-4-2, and the boys adjusted very well for their first game.”

The South Whidbey team is adjusting to the new formation well, though there were a few missteps in the opener.

“We gave up a couple easy goals because of miscommunications between players playing new positions together, but overall the new system appears to be working, especially in opening up our offense to our outside forwards and supporting midfielders,” Swanson noted.

“In the old 4-4-2 system, we felt we were relying too much on the striker position for offense, and our outside midfielders were having to cover too much of the field, playing both offensive and defensive roles. In this new formation, our outside forwards can act as strikers, putting more pressure on the opposing defense. Outside midfielders can overlap converging forwards to widen the field and spread the defense,” he explained. “I was pleased to see four different players involved in the scoring, and excited by the two header goals, which has been a weakness in our game that we have been focusing on in practice.”

The Revolution is using the Puget Sound Premier Spring League to improve on the team’s possession play and ball control.

“All of our players receive equal playing time during the games,” Swanson added. “If we have a two-goal lead, the boys must play a control game and are only permitted to score additional goals by crossed headers or volleys.”

At the end of the spring league, the South Whidbey team will have an opportunity to play in a Washington state cup event sponsored by US-Club soccer.

The Revolution plays its next game at 11 a.m. today against Kajumulo Tembo-95, a club in the Seattle Soccer Association, at the Langley Road soccer complex.

“This game should present a major challenge for us, as the U-14 players will be one to two years older than our players,” Swanson said. “They will most likely be stronger and faster than our players, and we will have to play our best soccer to compensate for the difference in physical development.”

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