Seattle Sounders 4 - 0 Bay Area Seals
Memorial Stadium, Seattle
16 SEA - Nguyen (Gregor)
23 SEA - Gregor (Howes)
24 SEA - Gregor (AJ Utush)
80 SEA - Tomlinson
Seattle: Bill May; Ali John Utush (Craig Tomlinson 43), Scott Jenkins (Brian Wood 64), Kieran Barton, Craig Waibel; Sean Henderson (Rashid Utush 26), Dick McCormick, Andrew Gregor; Viet Nguyen (Kei Kinoshita 83), Greg Howes, Darren Sawatzky (Bernie James 58).
Bay Area: Greg Connell; Troy Dayak, Tim Martin (Jason Clark 46), Angelo Sablo, Simon Weiss; Jeremy Sweet, Jeff Baicher, Ryan Edwards (Steve Chirgwin 83), Marquis White; Aman Kebreab (Kevin Eagleston 77), Kevin Jeffrey.
In a stretch of 8 minutes, Andrew Gregor set up the match winner and added two insurance goals to lead the Seattle Sounders to a 4-0 home win over the Bay Area Seals. Viet Nguyen claimed the match-winning goal, putting a sitter in the net after Seals goalkeeper Greg Connell couldn't hold onto Gregor's free kick. Craig Tomlinson used speed to win a ball and score Seattle's final goal.
Seattle goalkeeper Bill May made several diving saves to earn the shutout. He did well to stop Jeff Baicher's penalty kick late in the first half. With four PK stops by Burpo, Seattle goalkeepers have now saved all five PK attempts this year by opponents.
Seattle defender Craig Waibel tested goalkeeper Connell early when he headed Darren Sawatzky's throw-in on goal, but Connell was equal to the task in spite of a low sun in his eyes.
16' Nguyen (Gregor). Dick McCormick was pulled down at the arc when Greg Howes fed McCormick with a short pass. Gregor took the free kick and fired a low shot on goal. Connell dove forward to make the save, but couldn't hold on and the ball popped out in front of Connell. Nguyen was first to the sitter and slammed it into the back of the net for the early 1-0 Seattle lead.
Seattle defender Scott Jenkins volleyed high from a free kick pass but he was judged to have fouled to get open. Gregor tried a surprise shot from 30 yards and bent it at the far post, but Connell leaped sideways to push the shot wide for a corner kick.
23' Gregor (Howes). Howes beat a defender in the air to head a ball up the middle, over the defense. Gregor stepped forward, beating the offside trap to go 1v1 against Connell. Gregor put a low shot past Connell and into the lower right corner for the 2-0 lead.
24' Gregor (AJ Utush). AJ Utush saw Gregor open on the left and sent him a long, diagonal pass. Gregor was unmarked and found himself again with just Connell to beat. Gregor drove a shot just over Connell and inside the far post. Connell got a touch on the ball, but not enough to change its fate.
Bay Area had most of the chances the rest of the half. Aman Kebreab got in close on the right but was wide of the near post from a steep angle. A flicked-on throw-in gave Kebreab a chance with a header, but May was there for his first save.
In the 40th minute, a Bay Area attack gave Marquis White the ball in the left side of the penalty area. His shot was deflected by AJ Utush and knocked down by May for a save. The rebound went back to White near the bye line. May came out and slid down trying for the ball, but White pushed the ball around May. Contact was made and White went down, apparently tripped by May. Referee Sandy Hunt whistled and pointed to the spot. The penalty kick was delayed as AJ Utush was helped off the pitch, having rolled his foot and sprained his ankle when he tried to block White's first shot.
Jeff Baicher took the PK and aimed it at the top left corner. May leaped right and rejected the PK. Kieran Barton was first to the rebound and cleared it over the end line for a corner kick. Forward Craig Tomlinson entered for the injured AJ Utush, who was helped off at halftime with his left ankle wrapped in ice.
Halftime: Seattle 3 - 0 Bay Area
Early in the second half, Kevin Jeffrey dished a pass to Kebreab on the right, open for a 15-yard shot that he blasted low at the far post. May dove and pushed the shot sideways for a fine save, and Nguyen cleared the loose ball.
Bay Area defender Troy Dayak was spotted elbowing Rashid Utush in the head just before a Seattle free kick. Utush was down for a minute holding his head. While a red card could have been justified, Hunt showed leniency and cautioned Dayak.
Bay Area had all the good chances in the middle of the second half. A 25-yard shot was rocketed at the top far corner and got by May only to hit the crossbar and deflect down, hitting the ground a foot in front of the goal line. May made another diving, one-handed save of Kebreab's 12-yard shot from the right, and Waibel cleared the rebound for a corner. Ex-Sounder Ryan Edwards tried from 25 yards, but May watched the ball wide. Edwards leaped high to head a 30-yard Baicher free kick on goal, with May trying but failing to punch the ball away from Edwards' head. The shot went over May but came down on top of the crossbar.
20 minutes from time Bay Area had a flurry of close-in shots but came up empty. A cross was headed down and saved by May, but a defender near the goal line had to head the loose ball wide of goal for a corner kick. The corner kick led to a three more close shots, including a header saved by May, a shot blocked by a defender, and finally Baicher's 12-yarder sent just wide.
At 74' Seattle coach Neil Megson was complaining about a goal kick vs. corner kick call near Bay Area's goal, and he was expelled by Hunt for the way he worded the complaint.
With little else developing for Seattle, Gregor tried to put a 50-yard free kick on goal but missed the top right corner.
80' Tomlinson. Substitute Brian Wood sent a ball forward in the air for Rashid Utush, who pressured Dayak into heading the ball back for another defender. However, the speedster Tomlinson zoomed in to win the ball and was in alone against Connell, who came out to cut down the angle. Tomlinson faked right and pushed the ball left past the collapsing Connell, then Tomlinson finished into the abandoned net. 4-0 Seattle.
Bay Area substitute Jason Clark tried to head over May to the top far corner, but May retreated in time to push the ball wide and then claim it. Bernie James, who had come on for Darren Sawatzky with 30 minutes left, blocked a 20-yard shot at the halfway point, then later he slid in to stuff Dayak's shot from a free kick that was rolled square a few yards.
In the final minute Rashid Utush appeared to have a chance from the right side with just Connell to beat, but Jeremy Sweet ran over Utush from behind, just outside of the penalty area, and Sweet was cautioned for the unfair challenge. Gregor's free kick from the 18 was deflected just over the bar for a corner kick, and the whistle signalled full time before the corner kick could be taken.
Final: Seattle 4 - 0 Bay Area
Referee: Sandra Hunt; Asst Refs: Kevin Boisen, Jim Kokenos; 4th Official: Mark Matthews