Two of Seattle’s brightest prospects rose to the challenge. Forward Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez headed home a free kick from Danny Leyva to keep Seattle’s hopes of progressing in the GA Cup Champions Division alive. Leyva’s curling service from the left side of the field beat the first line of defenders, drifting to the back post, and finding the head of the US Under-17 youth international with about seven minutes to go.
“In training we always train these set pieces. Me and our fullback Bryson [Hankins], we thought it was a good set piece [to run], a good time in the game,” Ocampo-Chavez told MLSsoccer.com.
The Sounders Under-17 side coped with a physically demanding Brazilian team, who are the defending champions, as the intensity of the match was accurately reflected by the referee showing six yellow cards.Throughout most of the game, Seattle matched Flamengo every step of the way, limiting chances in front of their goal while searching for opportunities of their own. Leyva nearly put Seattle in the lead before Ocampo-Chavez bagged the winner, but the opposing goalkeeper saved a free kick that looked destined for the upper 90.
WATCH VIDEO OF GOAL BELOW
The pressure of the situation – needing a result and the caliber of opponent – was the sort of challenge Leyva embraced, and knows how it can test and push him on the field.
“It’s really helpful for me, because as young players we need to compete against a lot of international teams,” he said after the game. “We have to see our level of competition against those players and see how we match up.”
Academy director Marc Nicholls, watching the game from the sideline, was extremely pleased with the result and how the team bounced back from the early loss.
“It was a perfect response from us,” he said. “Two really difficult games, in different ways. We really had to make sure we kept our emotions in check, play the way that we play. This morning I don’t think we played the way that we played, we got away from it a little bit and that was the disappointment. It just goes to show when you have a process when you believe in it, stick to it, you give yourself a chance. It was a good reward for us in that game.”