A depleted lineup can sometimes mean losses, like the one the Seattle Sounders picked up on Saturday night against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
But it can also mean the development of the team’s depth. Forward Tristan Bowen reaped those benefits on Saturday at BC Place. He played his first minutes of the season, after being called on to match up with Vancouver’s speed. Replacing Lamar Neagle in the 55th minute, Bowen recorded one shot and one corner kick in his debut.
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid pointed to the 23-year-old forward’s agility as one skill that brought him into Saturday’s match.
“We wanted to get him on there because we figured his speed could maybe open something up for us,” Schmid said. “Unfortunately he never really got a chance to really run at somebody or use that speed. … I’m sure he’s frustrated that he didn’t get that opportunity to get somebody isolated one v. one.”
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Bowen might not have been able to get defenders isolated at the rate he would have liked, but he called his debut “decent.” Just four minutes after stepping onto the pitch, he launched a shot from about 10 yards out that was deflected by Vancouver defender Johnny Leveron and caught by goalkeeper David Ousted.
After that, he focused more on assisting.
“I put in about two good crosses and caused some havoc for the Whitecaps,” Bowen said. “But we weren’t able to convert any of those. … There’s a few things I think I can still do a little bit better to help the team.”
With several starters returning to the Sounders in the coming days, Bowen’s future minutes are not promised. Midfielders Osvaldo Alonso and Gonzalo Pineda will be back after their yellow card suspensions. Men’s national team members DeAndre Yedlin and Clint Dempsey are both expected back this week, and will play in Sunday’s match against Portland, according to Schmid.
But even with that uncertainty, Bowen is confident his skills speak for themselves.
“I think my speed’s as good as anyone’s in this league,” he said. “It’s just a matter of getting that final ball, that final shot on goal. I think when that comes, that’ll be something that sets me apart from the rest of the guys in the league. … It’s just something to build off of.”