S2 Drops Heartbreaker At Cheney Stadium Versus Fresno FC

Late Jemal Johnson strike in 82nd minute hands visitors three points, despite Rave Green putting seven shots on-target; John Hutchinson’s side returns to USL action on April 7 at Sacramento.

TACOMA, Wash. – Sounders FC 2 (1-2-0, 3 points) lost a heartbreaker inside the friendly confines of Cheney Stadium on Wednesday night, as visiting Fresno FC (1-1-1, 4 points) stole a late strike courtesy of midfielder Jemal Johnson in the 82nd minute of play. Throughout the night, it was S2 that bossed much of the contest, earning 61.9 percent of the match’s overall possession and registering seven shots on-goal to Fresno’s two attempts. Nevertheless, it was the visitors that grabbed all three points, moving S2’s record in its new home to 1-1-0 since completing the club’s recent move to Tacoma.

The hosts carved out a number of quality chances in the opening 45 minutes, but were unable to find the back of the net. Fresno nearly opened the scoring in the 13th minute, only to be denied on a one-on-one opportunity with Bryan Meredith by a perfectly-timed sliding challenge from Francisco Narbon inside the area. Striker Felix Chenkam nearly handed S2 a lead when he found himself alone with Fresno goalkeeper Kyle Reynish on a counterattack, but the Cameroonian pulled his shot wide of the near post.

There was more action after the break, with both sides exchanging shots on goal. After dribbling past the left-back, S2 midfielder Nick Hinds slipped a pass into the feet of David Olsen, but the midfielder was denied from point-blank range by Reynish. The visitors eventually broke the deadlock late in the second half, with Johnson heading home Zachary Ellis-Hayden’s cross from the right flank in the 82nd minute.

S2 pushed numbers forward throughout the final ten minutes in search of an equalizer. The best chances fell to Shandon Hopeau, as the Sounders Academy alum nearly pulled the hosts level with a long-range shot that crashed back off the crossbar, in addition to a close-range header that was saved by the goalkeeper.

The club returns USL play on Saturday, April 7 at Sacramento Republic FC (7:30 p.m. PT / USLsoccer.com). The Rave Green come home to Tacoma on Wednesday, April 11 for a showdown with Real Monarchs SLC. Kickoff for that contest slated for 7:00 p.m. PT (USLsoccer.com). Tickets for the match are available via WeRTacoma.com.