Sounders 1-0 Win Over Whitecaps Forged in Tacoma

Seven of 14 players that took the field refined their craft in City of Destiny

When the Seattle Sounders stole their victory from the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night, they did it powered by Tacoma Defiance. The 1-0 win can be attributed to the men who call Cheney Stadium home.

This is not another Justin Dhillon story, nor a Danny Leyva story, nor an Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez story.

All three appeared in the win. All three started their 2019 seasons with Tacoma Defiance. All three are now on MLS contracts, partially due to their performances with Tacoma in the last season and half.

But the tale of Tacoma’s influence goes deeper than just those three.

Of the fourteen players that took the pitch for the Sounders, a total of seven have played USL matches with Tacoma. Henry Wingo just dominated a former Serie A left back. Tacoma helped refine that talent. Wingo’s three key passes in the win should remind Defiance fans of his 23 key passes over the past two seasons of USL action. Henry tallied 1402 minutes from 2018 to the present. He’s split those nearly evenly between right back and right mid.

Player Minutes w/ Tacoma Goals Key Passes
Wingo 1402 4 23
Dhillon 902 6 5
Leyva 555 0 6
Ocampo-Chavez 513 0 2
Bwana 314 0 14
Abdul-Salaam 279 0 6
Nouhou 162 0 2


This is their story interwoven with the story of Tacoma.

Handwalla Bwana had two key passes and two shots in the win. He played merely 10 minutes. Defiance fans understand the way he changes games. Bwana tallies a key pass every 22 minutes in USL play.

Saad Abdul-Salaam is a centerback capable of playing right back. Last season he was also splitting time between the USL and MLS. This year, his spot appearances kept him fresh for when Sounders needed the bodies.

Nouhou, the electric left back, dipped down to USL once each of the last two years. His USL to MLS path started before the Tacoma project, but it is still a defining part of his career. With two other left backs on their roster he may get spot time with Defiance in the latter parts of 2019.

Tacoma is part of these men. It is part of the Seattle Sounders.

There are another 18 young men that call Cheney Stadium home that look at Dhillon, Leyva, and Ocampo-Chavez and know that path is there for them. They know that five players on the current Sounders roster started their Seattle careers with the USL team. They know that eleven players earned the call to an MLS deal from S2/Defiance to Seattle.

Daley, Burke-Gilroy, Hopeau, Rogers, and the rest of Tacoma Defiance know this – as long as they are #DefiantlyTacoma they can earn their shot.

Tacoma forges people. It gets into you and adds a dash of ambition, removes  doubt, and creates a community of believers who know that 2019’s callups aren’t going to be limited to the three that earned a win on Saturday night.

Defiantly Tacoma

Next match at Rio Grande Valley FC on July 6 (5:30 p.m. / ESPN+)

Next home match is our Pride match on July 24 versus Las Vegas Lights FC (7:00 p.m. / Party Deck tickets available)