2002 Jun 25

US Open Cup, 2nd Round:
Utah Blitzz  1 - 2  Seattle Sounders
Cottonwood High School, Salt Lake City, UT

61' SEA - O'Brien (PK)
83' SEA - Foisie (Sawatzky)
89' UTA - Estrada (Gutierrez)



Match report from the Sounders:

The Seattle Sounders traveled to Utah on Tuesday and defeated the Utah Blitzz of the D3 Pro League 2-1 in Lamar Hunt US Open Cup action.

Leighton O’Brien, who has three goals and three assists in his last three games, scored the opening goal of the match in the 61st minute on a penalty kick, beating Utah goalkeeper Mike Littman from the spot. O'Brien, however, would not stay on the pitch to celebrate the victory, being sent to the showers early for receiving his second yellow card of the game and subsequent ejection four minutes later.

Sounders rookie and former Yakima Reds and University of Washington standout Greg Foisie added his first professional goal in the 83rd minute of the match to give the Sounders a 2-0 lead. Foisie, who entered the game at halftime, was set up on the play by A-League scoring leader Darren Sawatzky (seven goals and five assists for 19 points).

Utah’s lone goal came too late. Midfielder Jorge Estrada put the Blitzz on the board in the 89th minute on an assist from Alejandro Gutierrez to round out the scoring.

With the win, the Sounders advance to the third round of US Open Cup play. They will face the San Jose Earthquakes on July 17th at Seattle's Interbay Stadium. The Earthquakes feature US National Team/World Cup participants Landon Donovan and Jeff Agoos.

Match report from The Salt Lake Tribune:

The Utah Blitzz were dropped from the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup soccer tournament Tuesday night in a 2-1 loss to the Seattle Sounders at Cottonwood High.

The game -- which featured seven yellow cards, one red card and two disallowed goals -- almost gave the D3 Pro League Blitzz a home match against the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer.

"Yeah, it's discouraging, for sure," said Blitzz coach Chris Agnello. "We should have had a better shot at the win. I mean, we could count the clear shots we had on one hand."

The Sounders will advance in the all-professional U.S. soccer tournament and leave the Blitzz to resume their home schedule against Northern Nevada on July 5, after playing two games in California this weekend.

The victory also sends Sounders midfielder Leighton O'Brien, who scored the first goal of the match on a penalty kick in the 61st minute, to face his former team, the Quakes. The Sounders play in the A-League, one division lower than MLS and one notch higher than D3.

"It's something we looked forward to, and something we almost didn't have," said Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer. "It was a typical case of an underdog playing with nothing to lose, and the favorites coming in with too much confidence."

The Sounders were bigger, stronger and faster than the Blitzz and it showed in their physical play. Utah's defense managed to keep the Blitzz within one goal until a header by Greg Foisie in the 83rd minute put Seattle up 2-0.

The Blitzz increased their offensive pressure and Jorge Estrada scored on a cross by Alejandro Gutierrez in the 89th minute.

A stoppage-time goal by Kevin Noleen was called back after a foul was called.

"The officiating was a little suspect," Agnello said. He also shared words with Schmetzer at halftime about the physicality of the game.

"I expected a little more professionalism out of that team and its coach," Agnello added. "I was surprised the coach got caught up in the silly things that went on out on the pitch."

Match report from deseretnews.com:

The Utah Blitzz will just have to wait another year for a crack at a Major League Soccer team.

Going into Tuesday's U.S. Open Cup second round game with Seattle, the Blitzz knew a win would advance them into the third round, where Landon Donovan's San Jose Earthquakes would be waiting.

Before dancing with the defending MLS champions, first Utah had to get past the A-League's best team this year. That task was just too large as Seattle prevailed 2-1.

"On any given night, with a good fit squad, we could beat them," said Blitzz coach Chris Agnello.

Unfortunately for Utah, that night wasn't Tuesday.

The Blitzz were missing two defensive starters, and while Seattle didn't exactly expose the weakness with an inordinate amount of goals, it took advantage of Utah's thin backline.

"(This) game was lost Friday when we lost our captain in Arizona, and Saturday didn't do us any favors by losing our right back," said Agnello.

Surprisingly, with Adolfo Ovalle and Shawn Cassella on the bench nursing injuries, Utah's offense suffered more than anything. The reason the Blitzz seem poised to win another D3 Pro League championship this year is because of the dynamic midfield tandem of Sterling Wescott and Rich Breza. They're the perfect complement to each other.

Agnello was forced to abandon that combination and drop Breza into a defensive role against Seattle.

"Breza was doing a lot of extra work by himself," said Agnello.

Even with a makeshift lineup, the underdog Blitzz nearly pulled off the upset.

Utah knew what it was in for right away. In the 13th minute, defender Ryan Edwards plowed through midfielder Matt Broadhead on a crunching tackle. The ref pulled out a yellow card, which infuriated the Blitzz who believed the tackle warranted a red card.

The game's aggressive style and pace had been defined.

The scoreless first-half produced numerous nasty challenges and fouls, but for the most part the referee maintained control of the game.

It began to get out of hand in the 60th minute when the ref awarded Seattle a penalty kick for a questionable foul in the box. Leighton O'Brien easily buried the kick.

"The officiating was a little suspect," said Agnello. "We've had him before, and we've complained to the league about him, but what are you going to do."

The questionable calls seemed to go both ways. In the 65th minute, O'Brien received his second yellow card for a deadball altercation with Utah's Alejandro Gutierrez and was ejected.

Now the Blitzz were really licking their chops. With a one-man advantage this was their chance to play some attacking soccer. Instead, the chances became even more difficult to create against Seattle.

"We should've been in a better position to convert on our opportunities, but really we needed to give ourselves more chances," said Agnello.

Seattle substitute Greg Foisie tacked on what proved to be a much needed insurance goal in the 83rd minute. Utah's Jorge Estrada made it 2-1 in the waning minutes, but there wasn't enough time to get any quality shots at the equalizer.

          Utah  Seattle