2005 Sep 4

Atlanta Silverbacks  1 - 2  Seattle Sounders
James Hallford Stadium, Atlanta, GA

Atlanta: Joe Barton; Zachary Peoples, Joseph Afful, Ron Plute, Antonio de la Torre; David Hayes, Ivailo Ilarianov (Kris Stone 53'), Andres Murriagui (Machel Millwood 53'), Alex Pineda-Chacón; Fabian Dawkins, Rodrigo Ríos.

Seattle: Preston Burpo; Taylor Graham, Billy Sleeth, Ryan Edwards, Zach Scott (Chad Brown 86'); Kevin Sakuda, CJ Klaas (Scott Jenkins 79'), Andrew Gregor, Jake Sagare; James Ward (Leighton O'Brien 14'), Welton.

40' SEA - O'Brien (Gregor)

54' ATL - Stone (Dawkins)
63' SEA - Levesque (Scott)

Match report from the Sounders:

Roger Levesque's team-leading sixth goal of the season broke the tie and propelled the Seattle Sounders into the United Soccer league First Division playoffs with a 2-1 win over the Atlanta Silverbacks before 1,469 at James Hallford Stadium.

The game didn't start well for the Sounders as referee Andy Green would not allow Leighton O'Brien to start the match without proper photo identification. O'Brien is on loan to the Sounders from Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer.

While O'Brien's I.D. was being retrieved from the team's hotel, Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer inserted back-up goalkeeper James Ward into the starting lineup as a forward. Ward played the first 14 minutes before O'Brien's credentials arrived and he was inserted into the match.

Just before halftime O'Brien used a header shot to put the Sounders on the board. C.J. Klaas whipped a ball right-to-left across the 18-yard box to an unmarked Andrew Gregor. Gregor quickly sent the ball back across to O'Brien who raced in to head the ball over Silverbacks keeper Joe Barton in the 40th minute. It was the second straight game in which O'Brien scored just before halftime.

For the fourth straight game Seattle could not make the early goal hold up. Atlanta tied it at 1-1 on Kris Stone's goal in the 54th minute, knocking the ball past Sounders 'keeper Preston Burpo at the left post off an assist from Fabian Dawkins.

Both teams stayed on the attack looking for the go-ahead goal. Levesque got the match winner in the 63rd minute. After Taylor Graham blasted a shot off Barton at the left post, the ball ricocheted out to Zach Scott. Scott sent the ball over to Levesque who, kneeling 12-yards up from the Silverbacks goal, dipped down to head it in past Barton.

The Sounders were not out of the woods yet as Atlanta quickly went on the counter attack. When Burpo came off his line to try to parry away a crossing pass, he got caught up in traffic leaving the Seattle goal open. Fortunately Ryan Edwards jumped in behind Burpo and was in position to clear away a Silverbacks scoring opportunity. It was Atlanta's last serious scoring threat.

Match report from the Silverbacks:

The Atlanta Silverbacks crashed to a 2-1 loss against the Seattle Sounders in their last-ever appearance at James Hallford Stadium, a result that seriously dents their playoff hopes.

Leighton O’Brien, declared ineligible at the start of the game, headed the Sounders into a 40th minute lead. Kris Stone then equalized in the 54th minute with his first goal of the season, pouncing on Fabian Dawkins’ near-post cross. However, Roger Levesque’s 63rd minute diving header secured his team’s first win in seven games.

Still with 30 points in the USL First Division, eighth-placed Atlanta, with no home games left, are now in a must-win scenario for the remaining two fixtures while depending on others to falter. Seattle, with 41 points, are primed for the postseason.

An unusual mixup caused a delayed kickoff, as Seattle’s O’Brien could not produce the required photo identification, in this instance his league registration, during the referees’ pre-game inspection. Backup goalkeeper James Ward played in attack for the opening 14 minutes until O’Brien was declared eligible. But what the forward lacked in his wallet he made up for in front of goal. On the overlap, the former MLS player, drifting off the defense’s radar, headed Andrew Gregor’s whipped cross past Joe Barton from six yards.

Stone brought life back to fleeting playoff hopes with a 54th minute equalizer. Dawkins, usually the scorer, added his fourth assist of the year with a low-range cross, which his fellow Jamaican buried at the near post.

But just as Atlanta’s attack seemed to find its rhythm, Seattle’s Levesque struck the winner nine minutes later. Zach Scott reached a cleared ball to fire a cross into the box, where Levesque, from about 16 yards, dived to send a low header squirming beyond the goalkeeper’s reach.

          Atlanta  Seattle
Shots:       3        13
Saves:       3         1
Corners:     6         5
Fouls:      15        12
Offsides:    3         1

44' SEA - Gregor cautioned
85' SEA - Burpo cautioned
89' SEA - Brown cautioned

Referees: Andy Green; Joe Ellis, Mark Cleland; Alex Oliver

Attendance: 1,469