Teenaged debutant Michael Seaton shines in DC United friendly draw with Chivas de Guadalajara
WASHINGTON -- Michael Seaton emerged from the home locker room at RFK Stadium on Friday night with shiny white headphones wrapped around his neck and an even shinier smile on his face.
On a night when plenty of D.C. United's young players saw time on the pitch, the 17-year-old Homegrown forward stood out, providing an assist on Carlos Ruiz's goal in United's 1-1 draw with Mexican powerhouse Chivas de Guadalajara. The assist came on Seaton's first touch with the first team.
"I basically threw the defender off balance and I saw Carlos and just crossed it in as hard as I can and he had a great touch," Seaton said.
Seaton's assist, along with the minutes logged by newly-signed Homegrown midfielder Collin Martin, and the recently acquired Luis Silva and Jared Jeffrey were welcome breaths of fresh air for United.
"I just got in, so when I [assisted the goal], I was amazed," Seaton said. "Plus, I wanted to score so bad because I had a happy birthday shirt for my mom. But it's alright. And assist can work."
The 73rd-minute assist was a beauty, too. Seconds after Seaton subbed on, he made a run down the right flank and slid to beat a Chivas defender to the ball while delivering the cross to Ruiz just before reaching the end line. Ruiz duly deposited his shot into the far left corner to beat goalkeeper Luis Michel.
"He's a great kid. I'm happy for him," head coach Ben Olsen said of Seaton. "For the rest of the game, he's got a long way to go. But that play sums up why he's scoring goals. He has something about him. He doesn't have a lot of fear in his mind. He goes hard, he's competitive. He loves this team, so it's nice to see him come and contribute tonight for sure."
Seaton, who was born in Spanish Town, Jamaica, has spent this season with USL PRO side Richmond Kickers. He has four goals and one assist in 11 matches.
"If he can keep that confidence high, he can be a very effective player," United midfielder Chris Pontius said. "Obviously you see the athleticism. The sky's the limit for a kid like that."
Silva, who played a season of college soccer with Pontius at the University of California at Santa Barbara, is likewise considered to have a great deal of upside for United. Acquired on Tuesday in a trade with Toronto FC, he is expected to bring more creativity and possession into the D.C. attack. He started up top against Chivas.
"I thought Silva was just what we thought he was," Olsen said. "He's a guy that thinks differently than some of our players. He's technically sound, he's calm on the ball, I think he will help with our production in the offensive half. It was a friendly game, but you see his qualities."
The challenge, as Olsen pointed out, will be to find the best spot on the field for Silva -- who's repeatedly said he's an attacking midfielder -- within the mix of attackers he already has, including Pontius, Dwayne De Rosario and Nick DeLeon.
Interestingly, considering the strong performances of some of United's newest players, Olsen was more enamored of one of his veterans.
"Any goal right now is exciting to me, and Carlos's in particular," Olsen said. "He's worked hard and it hasn't been an easy road for any of us, so I'm happy he scored. In the second half, I thought he was pretty darn good."