Few outside the Portland city limits were as aversely affected by Seattle’s four-goal romp against the Timbers on Sunday afternoon than Tristan Bowen and Sean Okoli.
Bowen made 22 appearances and 15 starts for Chivas USA last season, while fellow forward Okoli represented the Sounders at this year’s MLS homegrown player game during All-Star week.
But both Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey returned to the scoresheet Sunday. Chad Barrett has scored four goals in Seattle’s past four games, and Kenny Cooper netted a pair of goals and dished out two assists in the team’s U.S. Open Cup semifinal win.
There are only so many minutes to go around in the Sounders’ attacking line.
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“Whether they’re starting or subbing, they’re getting the job done,” Bowen said. “The guys in front of me are scoring goals, and it’s hard to argue with that.”
Bowen and Okoli can only make do with the limited opportunities they’ve been given, and both did so in Seattle’s 5-1 reserve-game victory over Arizona United on Monday at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.
Okoli scored twice while also helping set up the opening Sounder goal, spinning between a pair of United defenders before Bowen’s low cross found its way to Lamar Neagle for a tap-in.
Bowen, for his part, grew into the game as it progressed.
His crosses were wayward for the first 20 minutes or so, with one sailing over Cooper’s head at the back post. But that assist to Neagle marked a turning point, and his linking play with Andy Rose led to Okoli’s second goal.
Bowen got his ultimate reward just minutes into the second half, finishing with the outside of his boot to run the score to 4-0.
“It’s just kind of getting the flow back,” Bowen said.
“You lose a good amount of it, but it’s mental focus more than anything else — just being prepared and continually working hard, even if you haven’t been called on too much in the regular season.”
Though no time is a good time to re-aggravate an adductor tendon injury, Dylan Remick’s timing was especially inauspicious.
The 23-year-old defender hasn’t played for the Sounders since their 3-0 defeat to Los Angeles, missing the entirety of their five-games-in-two-weeks spell and its many opportunities to make an impression.
Remick did, however, play 30 minutes of Monday’s reserve match and said his status is improving daily.
“It was good to be out there and build that fitness, build that confidence back up,” Remick said. “I didn’t feel restricted at all or hurt at all.”
Seattle’s 4-2 victory at Providence Park was the Sounders’ largest at the home of their rivals during the MLS era.
It was also the 201st of Sigi Schmid’s MLS coaching career, and he put its significance in perspective after the match.
“This one’s near the top,” Schmid said. “This one’s definitely near the top. It’s a good feeling just because of everything that’s been going on.
“We went through a five-game stretch beginning (against) Houston where we played five games in 14 days. Correct me if I’m wrong, but in that stretch we went 3-1-1.”