2007 Apr 21

Vancouver Whitecaps  1 - 0  Seattle Sounders
Swangard Stadium, Burnaby, BC

Vancouver: Tony Caig; Steve Klein, Adrian Cann, Steve Kindel, Narcisse Tchoumi; Jeff Clarke, Martin Nash, Alfredo Valente (Dave Morris 64'), Dave Testo (Graham Smith 78'); Eduardo Sebrango (Joey Gjertsen 82'), Joel Bailey (Jason McLaughlin 64'). Substitutes not used: Jared Montz, Srdjan Djekanovic.

Seattle: Chris Eylander; Danny Jackson, Noah Merl (Jake Besagno 81'), Zach Scott, Adam West; Kevin Sakuda, Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar, Santa Maria Rivera (Nate Boyden 71'), Leighton O'Brien; Josh Gardner, Andre Schmid. Substitutes not used: Ben Dragavon, Gabe Sturm, Nate Knox, Kenji Treschuk.

Goals:
55' VAN: Sebrango (Valente)


Additional match reports: The Province, Whitecaps.


Match report from the Sounders:

The Seattle Sounders kicked off their 2007 regular season Saturday night, losing one to nil in Swangard Stadium against the defending USL First Division Champion Vancouver Whitecaps.

The Whitecaps hoisted the 2006 championship cup before the match and started eight players who featured in the championship match against Rochester.

Whitecaps forward Eduardo Sebrango took the first clear shot on goal for either side as he found himself with space behind Sounders rookie Left back Adam West and called on Chris Eylander to make a good opening save.

The Sounders found some room to work offensively with West overlapping with Santa Maria Rivera down the left side of the field. The early efforts resulted in two set pieces which the Sounders failed to capitalize on.

After the early match jitters passed, the Sounders squad began to stroke the ball around the pitch, impressively linking together a starting 11 that featured four players not with the team in 2006.

In the 38th minute Sounders new forward Andre Schmid earned a free kick in a dangerous spot about 30 yards in front of goal. Leighton OíBrienís shot glanced off the wall ad over the cross bar setting up another set piece that the Sounders failed to turn into a scoring opportunity.

Vancouver took control for a brief spell before the half, during which Martin Nash sent a cross onto the head of Alfredo Valente forcing Eylander into a second quality save of the evening.

The Sounders came into half-time still searching for the final ball to unlock the defending championís defense and reap the rewards of their first half domination of possession.

Nash took the Whitecaps first shot of he match from 30 yards out forcing Eylander into another solid save. Less than a minute later, it was the Sounders keeper charging down Nash once more to prevent the scoring opportunity and keep the score level at zero.

The Sounders brought the action right back to the other end of the field as the pace of the match picked up. Rivera came within inches of picking out defender Zach Scottís head in the box with a driven cross from his left foot. Only the slightest of margins allowed the Vancouver defender to clear the danger.

The Whitecaps drew first blood in the 55th with a Sebrando header picked up from a Valente cross.

It was the result of a quick succession of passes across the mouth of the Sounders goal. Eylander did everything he could to shut down Valente, who found himself alone on the back post after a Steve Kindel cross snuck across the six yard box. Sebrango threw his head at the bouncing ball after it deflected off of the Sounders keeper scrambling it into the back of the net.

After gaining the advantage Whitecaps manager Bob Lilley choose to debut new forward Jason McLaughlin in place of Bailey and replace Valente with Dave Morris.

Nate Boyden came in for the Sounders replacing Rivera as the Sounders regained their composure ad began to push forward with some urgency. Newcomer Josh Gardner was pushed to the left side of the midfield and began to create some excitement, but still the Seattle squad failed to create anything of quality in the offensive third of the field.

OíBrien found himself seemingly alone in the 18 yard box in the 71st minute, but a superb defensive effort by Kindel foiled his effort to set up a shot. Seconds later Adrian Cann handled the ball in the penalty area, but the center official deemed the touch accidental and refrained from rewarding the spot kick.

Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzerís like for like substitution in the 81st minute put Jake Besagno into the match for Noah Merl. A minute later Lilley countered by inserting the 2006 USL First Division MVP Joey Gjertsen into the match.

The Sounders offense was dominated by Gardner as the clock wound closer to the 90 minute mark. The former LA Galaxy manís relentless runs at the Vancouver defenders were eventually rewarded when he found some space for a shot in the 87th minute, but Whitecaps Keeper Tony Caig produced a fine save.

Seattle urgently worked through three minutes of stoppage time, but were unable to produce an equalizer giving the defending champs three points, much to the delight of the 4,948 fans in attendance.

Danny Jackson and crew made their way over to the far side of the field after the match, where they saluted the two dozen or so traveling supporters who waved their blue and green flags tirelessly through the match.

Statistics:
         Vancouver   Seattle
Shots:        9         7
Saves:        1         5
Corners:      1         7
Fouls:       12        13
Offsides:     5         3

Misconduct:
10' SEA: Rivera cautioned

Referees: Dominic Scali; Simon Fearn, Kevin Duliba; Paul Ward

Attendance: 4,948