Seattle Sounders 3 - 0 Bay Area Seals
Seattle Memorial Stadium, Seattle, WA
This match doubled as an A-League match and a US Open Cup qualifier.
14 SEA - Sawatzky (Nguyen)
39 SEA - Sawatzky (Nguyen)
82 SEA - Howes (Storkson)
Seattle: Preston Burpo; Ali John Utush, Kieran Barton, Scott Jenkins (Craig Tomlinson 85), Craig Waibel; Sean Henderson, Dick McCormick, Andrew Gregor (Kei Kinoshita 87), Viet Nguyen (Greg Howes 75); Darren Sawatzky, Erik Storkson.
Bay Area: Greg Connell; Troy Dayak (Matt Kitkpatrick 65), Angelo Sablo, Tim Martin, Jason Clark; Dean Dodds, Jeff Baicher, Ryan Edwards (Carlos Campos 87), Rick Villa (Kevin Eagleston 46); Kevin Jeffrey, Marquis White (Steve Chirgwin 62).
The Seattle Sounders blanked the Bay Area Seals 3-0 to please the fans in the second home match of the season. After being named A-League Player of the Week, Darren Sawatzky notched a fine pair of goals, both set up nicely by Viet Nguyen. Coach Neil Megson deserves credit for putting Sawatzky up front and Nguyen in the midfield, rather than vice versa. Rookie Greg Howes came on as a substitute and scored his first professional goal to seal the Seals.
Preston Burpo played a fine match to earn the shutout for Seattle. Bay Area goalkeeper Greg Connell made nine saves, many nice ones, as about 75% of Seattle's shots were on goal.
Scott Jenkins earned an early yellow card when he took out the legs of ex-Sounder Ryan Edwards in the 4th minute. Edwards had played with Jenkins for the University of Washington and in 1998 for the Sounders.
Andrew Gregor tried the first shot from 35 yards 6 minutes in and was wide left.
14' Sawatzky (Nguyen). Nguyen beat his marker near the right touch line and sent a crisp, diagonal pass to Sawatzky, just goalside of the arc. Sawatzky quickly hit a low shot that caught the base of the left post and bounded into the side netting behind the right post.
Seattle kept pressuring the goal for the next several minutes. Kieran Barton saw an opening and fired a 35-yard rocket to the far post, well-saved by goalkeeper Greg Connell, and the ball trickled over the line for a corner. Gregor's shot from the cleared corner kick was deflected to Dick McCormick, who fired too high. Gregor's 15-yarder from the left was blocked by Connell. Sawatzky carried the ball into the penalty area and passed square for another shot by Gregor, but Connell caught the low shot.
In the 30th, Gregor earned his fifth card in five matches, a yellow this time. Gregor will sit out the June 2 match at Bay Area because of his red card in the May 21 match against Bay Area.
The Seals then went on the attack. Rick Villa's long shot from the left side forced a good save by Preston Burpo at the bottom far corner. Marquis White shot from closer on the right and forced a diving save by Burpo to stop a ball aimed at the far post.
39' Sawatzky (Nguyen). Barton put a nice pass in front of Nguyen up the right touch line. On the run, Nguyen curled a perfect cross around his marker and onto the head of Sawatzky, who was on a near-post run. Sawatzky headed home from 6 yards to put the Sounders up 2-0. Over the past two matches, both against Bay Area, this made four consecutive Sounders goals that were scored by Sawatzky and assisted by Nguyen.
In added time, White got loose in the left side of the penalty area for a Bay Area shot, but he sent it over the bar.
Halftime: Seattle 2 - 0 Bay Area
The second half opened with chances for Sawatzky to earn a hat trick. Gregor back-heeled a pass in the left side of the area and Sawatzky just missed the far post. McCormick carried the ball up the middle and dished off to Sawatzky on the right, whose shot was pushed wide of the far post by a diving Connell. Nguyen's cross from the right side gave Sawatzky another near-post chance, but Connell blocked Sawatzky's shot, then deflected Erik Storkson's shot from the rebound over the bar for a corner kick. Craig Waibel's header from Nguyen's corner kick was blocked by the defender manning the far post.
Sawatzky was sprung on the right for another shot, parried at the near post by Connell. Sawatzky got the rebound and crossed square to Sean Henderson, whose 8-yard shot forced a reaction save by Connell, and a defender cleared the rebound from danger.
Midway in the half the Seals found some offense. Edwards headed a cross on goal but Burpo was there for the catch. On a free kick play from the arc, the ball was rolled a yard for substitute Steve Chirgwin, but the wall deflected the shot.
82 Howes (Storkson). A Jenkins throw-in was laid off by Storkson for substitute Howes 25 yards from goal. The rookie carried the ball straight ahead, muscling off shoulder charges by two defenders to break through to the left corner of the goal area. Howes then sent a low shot past the onrushing Connell and inside the far post for the comfortable 3-0 lead. It was the first goal of Howes' professional career.
One last good shot was taken in added time by Seals substitute Carlos Campos, who was wide right from 25 yards.
Final: Seattle 3 - 0 Bay Area