Seattle Sounders 3 - 0 Vancouver 86ers
Seattle Memorial Stadium, Seattle, WA
67 SEA - Howes
72 SEA - Nguyen (Sawatzky)
76 SEA - Tomlinson (R Utush)
Seattle: Bill May; Ali John Utush (Andrew Gregor 45), Kieran Barton, Scott Jenkins, Craig Waibel; Dick McCormick, Greg Howes, Sean Henderson (Rashid Utush 62), Viet Nguyen (Chris Farnsworth 86); Darren Sawatzky (Kei Kinoshita 86), Craig Tomlinson (Brian Wood 81).
Vancouver: Paul Shepherd; Jeff Skinner, Steve McCauley, Chris Franks; Geordie Lyall, Robert Hall (Tiarnan King 64), Paul Dailly, Rick Titus, Kevin Holness; Dave Morris (Blair Sturrock 70), Alfredo Valente (Joe Scigliano 81).
After a tame, scoreless first half, the Seattle Sounders exploded for three goals in nine minutes to dispatch the visiting Vancouver 86ers 3-0. Rookie Greg Howes scored the match winner in the 67th minute, his 3rd goal in 3 matches in 5 days. Viet Nguyen and Craig Tomlinson soon added insurance goals, their first goals as Sounders and Nguyen's first professional goal. Bill May earned his first shutout of the season in his third league start.
Unusual for these teams, there were just 21 fouls, split evenly, and no cards. Referee Oscar Myre did a fine job.
Each team was short a striker, as Vancouver's Jason Jordan and Seattle's Erik Storkson were injured. Vancouver had others on the injured list, including playmaker John Sulentic.
Goalkeepers Paul Shepherd and Bill May had to make just one save each in the first half, and they were saves their grandmothers could have made.
Vancouver took the offensive in the opening 5 minutes. Paul Dailly took the match's first shot, but Dick McCormick turned to make the butt block. Newcomer Rick Titus crossed nicely to the far post from the left side to an open Dave Morris, but May was there for the save.
In the 11th minute Tomlinson was just over the bar from the right with Seattle's first shot. Then nothing happened until the middle of the half when Howes won a ball in the center circle and fought off shoulder charges to carry up the middle and shoot from the arc, just missing the top left corner.
The first Vancouver foul was called at 32', just an indirect free kick for dangerous play. Vancouver had a chance from Morris, just wide with a 30-yarder up the middle. Titus crossed from the left flag to Alfredo Valente whose back was to goal, and his backwards shot over his shoulder missed the top left corner by a yard.
Seattle tried a couple of long shots. Darren Sawatzky was just over from the left side and Kieran Barton's 35-yarder to the top far corner didn't fool Shepherd.
Valente was served on the run for a shot from the left side, but he was well wide of the near post.
After a long series of passes between Seattle's backs and mids, Scott Jenkins tried a 40-yard prayer and missed.
Vancouver's first corner kick came in the 43rd minute and was sent right to May's hands.
Halftime: Seattle 0 - 0 Vancouver
Midfielder Andrew Gregor came on for sweeper AJ Utush to start the second half, changing Seattle from a 4-4-2 to a more offensive 3-5-2 arrangement, and Barton shifted to sweeper.
Vancouver threatened first in the second half when defender Steve McCauley headed wide from Valente's long free kick.
Then Seattle had all the chances for 15 minutes. Gregor's corner kick in the 50th bounced on the 6-yard line and went out untouched for a Vancouver throw-in. Speedster Tomlinson accelerated around his marker for a shot from the right, sent wide of the near post. Nguyen chipped a ball to the penalty spot and Howes touched it to Tomlinson, who chipped over the goalkeeper only to see the right post slap back the shot. Tomlinson returned the favor by flicking an air ball on for Howes, whose shot was saved by Shepherd.
Vancouver came close when Valente's worm-burner from the left went by a diving May but rolled just wide of the far post.
Sawatzky tried from 18 but was just over the bar.
Vancouver's Kevin Holness forced a save from 18, then Seattle suddenly struck.
67' Howes. A loose ball came to Howes, who fired inside the right post from the arc. Shepherd got a hand on the shot and the ball went up, hit the crossbar, hit the ground just net side of the goal line, bounced up into the crossbar again due to forward spin, hit the right post, and came back into the penalty area. Assistant referee Fred Mabbott raised his flag, then sprinted up the touch line, signalling that the ball had wholly crossed the goal line. Seattle 1-0.
A minute later Morris had a chance at an equalizer when he vollied a cross, but he was a yard wide of the top left corner.
72' Nguyen (Sawatzky). Nguyen won a ball in front of the visitors' bench on the left and sent a diagonal pass forward for Tomlinson, who couldn't quite reach it, and neither could Shepherd who slid out to the spot. Sawatzky chased down the unclaimed ball and from the bye line sent a diagonal pass back to the spot, where Nguyen ran onto it and finished inside the right post past a retreating Shepherd. Seattle 2-0.
Tomlinson was sprung 1v1 against Shepherd, who came out to block the shot, and a defender cleared the leftovers.
76' Tomlinson (R Utush). A through ball up the right line on a Seattle counterattack sprung substitute Rashid Utush, who was pulled back as he went by his marker 10 yards past the halfway line. Referee Myre made an excellent decision in using the advantage clause, and assistant Mabbott, a yard away from the blatant hold, did well to not tempt Myre with a raised and wiggling flag. The young and speedy Utush stayed ahead of his marker and dribbled into the penalty area, drawing Shepherd out. Utush's shot was blocked by Shepherd, but rolled square for the other Sounder speedster Tomlinson to finish from 8 yards. A Vancouver defender got a small piece of Tomlinson's shot with his foot, but not nearly enough to prevent the goal. Seattle 3-0.
Seattle had a couple of chances to add another goal. Sawatzky shot on goal from the right side, but into Shepherd's belly. A dropped pass gave Gregor a shot, deflected wide for a corner.
In the 86th minute Seattle, for the first time this season, sent on a reserve player from their PDL Seattle Sounders Select squad, and it was none other than 21-year-old Chris Farnsworth, son of Sounders co-owner Neil Farnsworth. Chris had played the full 90 for the Sounders Select in their 1-0 win over the Cascade Surge earlier in the day.
Final: Seattle 3 - 0 Vancouver
None (unusual for these teams!)
Referee: Oscar Myre; Asst Refs: Mike Fox, Fred Mabbott; 4th Official: