Vancouver 86ers 5 - 0 Seattle
Swangard Stadium, Burnaby, BC
28 VAN - Valente (Tilley)
31 VAN - Valente (Tilley)
37 VAN - Dailly (Valente)
38 VAN - Tilley (Holness)
49 VAN - Tilley (PK)
Vancouver: Paul Shepherd (Didar Sandhu 39); Rick Titus, Geordie Lyall, Chris Franks (Rob Hall 67); Paul Dailly, Kevin Holness, Carmen D'Onofrio (Tiarnan King 46), John Sulentic, Steve Kindel; Alfredo Valente (Jason Jordan 67), Darren Tilley.
Seattle: Bill May; Bernie James (Tim Steidten 47), Ali John Utush (Craig Tomlinson 80), Craig Waibel, Kieran Barton; Scott Jenkins, Dick McCormick, Andrew Gregor, Viet Nguyen (Sean Henderson 57); Greg Howes, Darren Sawatzky.
After winning their previous nine matches, the Seattle Sounders lost 5-0 away to the Vancouver 86ers in the final match of the A-League regular season. The match was a tuneup before the playoffs for both teams, as Seattle and Vancouver were already locked into the 2nd and 5th seeds, respectively, in the Western Conference bracket. Alfredo Valente and Darren Tilley were the big guns for the 86ers, with Valente scoring the first two goals and assisting for Paul Dailly on the third. Tilley assisted on Valente's two goals and then scored the final pair.
Bernie James made what is expected to be his final start before announcing his retirement, and the Sounders defense was leaky with the stranger in the lineup. James hadn't started a match since July 1.
The Sounders and the Sixers met seven times in the 2000 regular season, with Seattle taking the series 4-1-2 (W-D-L). If they meet in the playoffs, it would have to be for the conference championship.
Vancouver dominated the first half from the kickoff. Valente had a couple of early chances, a header from a cross that was easily saved by Bill May and a shot from the right that May collapsed on.
Seattle's first good chance came at 20' with Darren Sawatzky on the left putting a pass in front of Greg Howes, who was running up the middle loosely marked. Goalkeeper Paul Shepherd came out to bother Howes, who put a left-footed shot to Shepherd's right but couldn't bend it on goal.
28' Valente (Tilley). James misplayed a ball in the left side of the penalty area and let Tilley win the ball with time to pick his option. Tilley rolled a diagonal drop to a wide open Valente, who put a low shot past May from 12 yards as May guessed the wrong way. Vancouver 1-0.
31' Valente (Tilley). Tilley put a diagonal forward pass in front of an open Valente on the left. May came out and slid down, but Valente put the shot over May and into the far side netting. Vancouver 2-0.
A minute later, Scott Jenkins got off a shot from a cross and the ball was deflected just wide of the near post by a defender. The resulting corner kick was allowed to bounce two yards in front of the far post but neither of the nearby Sounders got a touch on it.
37' Dailly (Valente). Tilley got the ball from a Sounders turnover in their defensive end. Tilley again found Valente open on the left side, and Valente had time to roll a cross for Dailly's run up the middle. Dailly bent his 20-yard shot into the lower left corner and May was late to react, screened by a couple of Sounders defenders. Vancouver 3-0.
38' Tilley (Holness). Just a minute later Kevin Holness got around Jenkins on the right and dropped a diagonal ball for Tilley near the spot, and Tilley back-heeled the ball inside the far post, fooling May. Vancouver 4-0.
Didar Sandhu replaced Shepherd in Vancouver's goal in the 39th minute, with Shepherd reportedly suffering from the flu.
The final minute of the half saw a good chance for each side. Valente dropped a diagonal pass for Tilley, who tried for the top far corner and the ball settled on top of the net. For Seattle, Howes squeezed between two defenders on a forward run just to the left of goal. Howes was sandwiched and fell, but referee Mauricio Navarro wouldn't award a penalty kick.
Halftime: Vancouver 4 - 0 Seattle
Tim Steidten came on for James in the 47th minute.
49' Tilley (PK). Valente received the ball from John Sulentic just inside the penalty area and as Valente turned he was tripped by Kieran Barton. Tilley put the penalty kick low to the right while May dove the other way. Up until this one, May and Preston Burpo had saved all penalty kicks taken against the Sounders this season (four saved PKs for Burpo and one for May). Vancouver 5-0.
Seattle had chances the rest of the way, but couldn't find the net. Sawatzky got around the defense on the right side and was a yard wide of the far post from 15. Andrew Gregor smoked a 20-yard shot from left center, but Sandhu held onto it. Jenkins headed just wide of the far post from a corner kick play. Sawatzky got in on the right for a great chance from 12 yards, but Sandhu blocked the shot wide with his leg.
With 10 minutes left, referee Navarro stopped the match for a few minutes to let the air clear from the red smoke bombs lit apparently by the Southside Sixers in the beer court behind the goal.
At 87' Howes had one more chance to claim the league's golden boot award outright when Sawatzky's throw-in was touched through to Howes, but his blast from 10 yards was knocked across the goal mouth by Sandhu's arm and Sean Henderson's attempted header from the rebound glanced just wide of the far post.
After a long, quiet period, Vancouver had a couple of chances in the final two minutes. Jason Jordan's shot from the arc was a yard wide of the near post, then Sulentic's blast from a semi-cleared cross was just over the bar.
Steidten had the final chance but his shot/cross from 15 yards on the right was snared by Sandhu.
Final: Vancouver 5 - 0 Seattle
Referee: Mauricio Navarro.