Seattle Sounders 1 - 2 Milwaukee
Memorial Stadium, Seattle
10 SEA - Howes
34 MIL - Lavrinenko
90 MIL - Loftin (Takawira)
Seattle: Preston Burpo; Ali John Utush, Craig Waibel, Kieran Barton (Erik Storkson 74), Scott Jenkins, Sean Henderson; Andrew Gregor, Viet Nguyen; Craig Tomlinson (JP Capodanno 51), Greg Howes, Darren Sawatzky.
Milwaukee: Dan Popik; Josh Timbers, Alen Soso, Josh Provan, Chris Jahr, Steve Bernal; Jason Willan, Yuri Lavrinenko (Jason Russell 74), Brian Loftin; Todd Dusosky (Nate Houser 63), Digital Takawira.
The Seattle Sounders suffered a season-ending 2-1 loss to the Milwaukee Rampage in the second round of the playoffs. Milwaukee had won the first leg of the home-and-away series by the same score. The Sounders had plenty of chances, outshooting the Rampage 27-14, but rookie Greg Howes scored the only goal for Seattle. Milwaukee erased Seattle's early lead with a first-half shot by Yuri Lavrinenko, then sealed Seattle's fate with a 90th-minute goal by Brian Loftin.
Milwaukee advance to the Western Conference round to face their arch rivals, the Minnesota Thunder.
For Seattle, Dick McCormick and Tim Steidten sat out the match after being injured in the first match of the series. Preston Burpo got the start in goal for the first time since June 21.
Seattle had all the shots for the first 18 minutes. Kieran Barton intercepted a Milwaukee pass and fed to Howes on the right, whose first-touch forward pass put Darren Sawatzky free on the right. From 15 yards, Sawatzky put a shot over the advancing Dan Popik and saw the shot hit the top of the crossbar and go out.
10' Howes. Howes stole the ball on Milwaukee's back line, nodded the ball goalward, and ran onto it ahead of the defenders. He volleyed the first bounce in from 15 yards, blasting the shot past Popik, who was guarding the near post. Seattle 1-0.
Andrew Gregor had the first of his many shots when Sean Henderson dummied a diagonally dropped pass from Sawatzky and Gregor, on a run up the middle, shot a yard high.
Milwaukee's first shot nearly resulted in a goal. Josh Provan's free kick from 20 yards up the left touch line hit the far post near the top and rebounded in front of goal. A Milwaukee attacker headed the rebound at goal and Scott Jenkins and Craig Waibel combined to clear the ball from the goal plane. Milwaukee's next chance came from a quick shot up the middle from 35 yards by Josh Timbers, comfortably caught at the top right corner by Burpo.
Seattle nearly scored a minute later when a dropped ball was fired up the middle into the base of the right post from 20 yards by Viet Nguyen, and the ball came right back to give Gregor a shot from the same place, and he hit the same post in the same spot. This time the rebound was cleared out by a defender for a corner kick.
34' Lavrinenko. A cleared ball went to Lavrinenko 25 yards out in the middle, and he fired a hard shot up the middle that was deflected by a defender, causing Burpo to get caught leaning the wrong way. 1-1.
Gregor had two more chances near the end of the first half. From a throw-in play, Gregor just missed the top left corner with a bender from 35 yards. Howes rolled a cross from the left side to give Gregor a great chance 12 yards out from the near post, but he skied the shot with plenty of goal available.
Halftime: Seattle 1 - 1 Milwaukee
Seattle outshot Milwaukee 16-6 in the second half, but none of the Sounders could finish. From a free kick play, Jenkins nodded a drop for Nguyen, who sent a 20-yarder through traffic but right to Popik.
A Milwaukee free kick was knocked sideways by the wall and Loftin's put-back just missed the bottom far corner.
Howes' 35-yard free kick for Seattle was easily saved by Popik.
Chris Jahr headed a Milwaukee free kick on goal but right to Burpo.
From the 65th minute until injury time, Seattle had all the good shots. AJ Utush tried from 35 yards and was just wide right. Howes carried the ball around the defense on the right for a shot, but Popik dropped to block at the near post and a defender cleared the rebound. Howes worked along the 18-yard line to get free for a hard shot at goal, but Popik leaped to push the ball just over the bar. From the resulting corner kick, Jenkins fired inches over the bar.
Seattle continued the pressure in the final 10 minutes. Gregor forced a save from 25 yards, then from a busted corner kick play he was two yards high from 20. Erik Storkson, seeing his first action since an injury early in the season, headed a ball for JP Capodanno, who had come on for the injured Craig Tomlinson, and Capodanno shot a yard wide of the top far corner.
90' Loftin (Takawira). With Seattle sending numbers forward, a counterattack saw Digital Takawira pass to Loftin, who moved past a defender and blasted a shot past Burpo from 20 yards to net the insurance goal. Milwaukee 2-1.
Final: Seattle 1 - 2 Milwaukee
Referee: Kari Seitz; Asst. Refs: Mohammed Zarrabi-Kashani, Mac Pinski; 4th Official: Mike Fox.