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   2005 Aug 26

Seattle Sounders  2 - 2  Puerto Rico Islanders
Qwest Field, Seattle, WA

Seattle: Preston Burpo; Taylor Graham, Billy Sleeth (Jake Sagare 78'), Ryan Edwards, Zach Scott; Kevin Sakuda, CJ Klaas (Chad Brown 78'), Leighton O'Brien, Andrew Gregor; Brent Whitfield (Welton 65'), Roger Levesque. Substitutes not used: James Ward, Scott Jenkins, Ben Somoza, Gabe Sturm.

Puerto Rico: Dan Kennedy; Chris Gores, Marco Velez, Caleb Norkus, Alexis Rivera (Luis Zuleta 78'); Johanes Maliza, Noah Delgado, Petter Villegas (Isaias Bardales 90'), Sebastian Rozental (Dante Poli 89'); Corey Woolfolk (Drew McAthy 56'), Mauricio Salles (Isaac Nieves 86'). Substitute not used: Andrew Gomez.

Goals:
11' SEA - Sakuda (Whitfield)

34' PR - Salles (PK)
36' SEA - Whitfield (Levesque)
88' PR - Salles


Additional match reports: King County Journal, Seattle Times, Seattle P-I, Sounders.

Match report by Ron Stickney:

This story is getting old. For the fourth consecutive match, the Seattle Sounders gave up points by conceding a late goal and failing to score in the second half, settling for a 2-2 draw with the visiting Puerto Rico Islanders. Seattle goals by Kevin Sakuda and Brent Whitfield were each answered by goals from Mauricio Salles, the first from a penalty kick that probably shouldn't have been awarded. The draw was the league-leading 11th for the Sounders.

Serving a suspension for this match was Puerto Rico midfielder Alejandro Gonzalez.

The Sounders end the month of August winless, with four draws and a loss.

First Half

First to come close to a goal was Seattle's Andrew Gregor. In the 9th minute Roger Levesque served Gregor on the left for a 15-yard shot on goal, but right to goalkeeper Dan Kennedy's feet. A minute later Leighton O'Brien was fouled at the top of the arc and Gregor's free kick curled just over the top left corner.

11' Sakuda (Whitfield). Carrying the ball up the middle, Sakuda passed ahead to Whitfield, who was centered on the offside line 20 yards from goal. Whitfield hesitated, then rolled a forward pass into the path of Sakuda, who had continued his run. Sakuda was alone against Kennedy, and the shot went low past Kennedy. Islanders appealed for an offside call against Whitfield, but the video showed that Noah Delgado kept Whitfield onside by a couple of feet. 1-0 Seattle.

In the 14th Seattle nearly went two goals ahead when O'Brien's corner kick went to the far post for a header on goal by Ryan Edwards, and Delgado cleared it from the goal plane with his arm. It should have been a penalty kick and a red card to Delgado, but referee Jennifer Bennett didn't call it. The video clearly showed Delgado deliberately using his arm to prevent a goal.

Puerto Rico's Caleb Norkus gave Preston Burpo his first save, sending a 25-yard shot right to Burpo.

In the 26th for Seattle, Whitfield on the right fed a ball into CJ Klaas' path for a shot from 10 yards, and Kennedy pushed it wide of the far post. O'Brien's corner kick went off Kennedy's fingertips to the far post, but Alexis Rivera was there to clear it out for another corner.

Puerto Rico came close in the 31st when Sebastian Rozental's low shot was slowed by a collapsing Burpo, then cleared by Edwards. Delgado powered a put-back shot on goal past Burpo and Edwards at the post was again forced into a skillful clearance.

34' Salles (PK). On a Puerto Rico corner kick, a questionable penalty kick was awarded when Levesque and Norkus tangled and both went down running away from goal in the penalty area. Video showed that the ball was over the top of both players, and the contact was incidental. The call was a gift from referee Bennett to Puerto Rico, and Salles just beat Burpo with a PK placed perfectly to the lower right corner. 1-1.

36' Whitfield (Levesque). Seattle soon replied with a goal. Levesque won a ball in the air, heading it to Whitfield, whose volley from just inside the top left corner of the penalty area looped perfectly over Kennedy and kissed the bar on the way in to the far side. Kennedy was caught flat-footed on the play. 2-1 Seattle.

The remainder of the half saw one more chance for Seattle, a 35-yard free kick on the right side, bent in by Gregor, missing the top near corner by a yard. Seattle had clearly out-played the Islanders in the half, but a questionable PK had the Islanders just one back.

Halftime: Seattle 2-1 Puerto Rico

The second half was much different, with the Islanders outshooting the Sounders 13-5. For 22 minutes, it was totally Puerto Rico's game. It started quickly, with Petter Villegas getting open on a counterattack within a minute after the kickoff, but he sent his shot yards wide. The next minute Salles came closer with a 20-yarder, but still missed by a couple. Then ex-Sounder Marco Velez toyed with the Emerald City Supporters when he needed to send a ball into touch near the group and deliberately shot the ball at the supporters.

Puerto Rico started getting the shots on goal in the 60th. Delgado was first, earning an 18-yard shot but sending it right to Burpo. Villegas tried from wide right, and Burpo was there for a save. Then Villegas from the right crossed for an 18-yard shot by Delgado, nicely targeted at the lower near corner, and Burpo made the save of the match, diving sideways to push it wide for a corner. A long Islanders free kick found sweeper Chris Gores open at the far post, but he couldn't angle the header down. In the 67th Salles was sprung around the left corner and Burpo made another nice save, sliding out to block the 15-yard shot.

Seattle finally earned their first shot of the half at 68'. Just on as a substitute, Welton made it to the bye line and dropped a diagonal ball to an open Levesque at the spot, but Levesque's shot went right to Kennedy on the goal line.

74' Salle. In the 73rd, Salle tried a 30-yard shot up the middle and bent it a yard too high. But the next minute from 30 yards he hit it perfectly, bending it around the diving Burpo and inside the far post. 2-2 was the score, and the Islanders had outshot the Sounders 10-1 thus far in the second half.

Two minutes later Puerto Rico came close again, as Delgado sent a 20-yard shot nicely at the lower near corner, and Burpo got down for another skillful save.

Seattle's second shot of the half was a good opportunity for Welton, served on the right side by Gregor at 83', but Welton missed the lower far corner by a yard. Seattle should have gotten the go-ahead goal in the 87th when substitute Chad Brown broke through a disorganized Puerto Rico defense for a 12-yard shot right in front of an open goal with Kennedy drawn out. But Brown tried to blast it when accuracy was more important, and the shot hit the underside of the crossbar, rebounding to the floor a foot to the wrong side of the goal line.

Puerto Rico had their chance to win it in the 88th when substitute Drew McAthy fired a hard, low shot from 15 yards on the left, and Burpo made a tough block save, the rebound going to his defense to be put out for a corner kick.

Four minutes of added time gave Seattle a golden opportunity when Kennedy came way wide of goal to clear the ball and sent it right to Sakuda. With the goal completely untended, Sakuda trapped the ball 35 yards from goal and shot on goal, but the shot lacked velocity and Kennedy was able to run down the bouncing shot.

Final: Seattle 2-2 Puerto Rico

It was a rather awful job done by referee Jennifer Bennett. Besides gifting the visitors with an undeserved PK and failing to give Seattle a PK that was deserved, she frustrated the players a few times by stopping play after a seemingly fine restart. Bennett seemed like a newbie to this level of soccer, and she probably didn't get a good report from the assessor.

Statistics:
          Seattle  Puerto Rico
Shots:      13        19
Saves:       8         5
Corners:     4         5
Fouls:       9        12
Offsides:    3         7

Misconduct:
38' PR - Gores cautioned for tripping Whitfield at the touch line, a tactical foul
43' PR - Rivera cautioned for a late, cleats-first challenge into Klaas' ankle
49' PR - Maliza cautioned for sliding under Scott

Referees: Jennifer Bennett; Kevin O'Daniel, Mark Matthews; Bryan Reich

Attendance: 3,527