2007 Apr 29
Puerto Rico Islanders 0 - 0 Seattle Sounders
Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium, Bayamón, PR
Puerto Rico: Josh Saunders; Jay Needham, Mime Ortiz, Jeremie Piette, Mauricio Segovia; Marco Velez, Jano Gonzalez, Petter Villegas (Noah Delgado 68'), Edwin Miranda (Alberto Delgado 60'); Victor Herrera (Melvin Tarley 77'), Alen Marcina. Substitutes not used: Terry Boss, Alexis Rivera, Gustavo Avila, Alberto Zapata.
Seattle: Chris Eylander; Danny Jackson, Noah Merl, Zach Scott, Adam West; Kevin Sakuda, Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar, Kenji Treschuk, Josh Gardner (Santa Maria Rivera 77'); Roger Levesque, Nate Knox (Andre Schmid 38'). Substitutes not used: Ben Dragavon, Jake Besagno, Nate Boyden.
Additional match reports: Islanders, endi.com (Spanish).
Match report from the Sounders:
The Sounders earned their first ever point in Puerto Rico on Sunday against the Islanders in a nil-nil draw in which they dominated the second half of the match and had a goal called back by a controversial offside flag.
The Sounders were in search of their first win of the season after narrow defeats at the hands of Vancouver and Miami on the road.
Head coach Brian Schmetzer made one change to the lineup that lost in Miami on Friday night choosing to use Kenji Treschuk on the right side of the midfield in place of Andre Schmid.
Puerto Rico dominated early possession in the swamp-like conditions at Juan Ramón Loubriel stadium, but the first half hour of the match produced little of note from either side apart from a sprawling save by Sounders keeper Chris Eylander in the 26th minute that denied a quality strike from Jano Gonzalez.
Sounders forward Nathan Knox was replaced in the 38th minute by former New York Red Bull reservist Andre Schmid. Knox had just returned to the line up Friday night after nursing a groin injury acquired in the preseason. The treacherous conditions did little to aid his recovery.
Moments before the half time whistle, the Islanders squandered another chance to take the lead as Alen Marcina launched a shot well over the bar after being left in a good position inside the 18 yard box.
After producing very little through the first 45 minutes in the offensive third of the field, the mid way point left the Sounders pondering what they could do differently in the second half to overcome not only the Puerto Rico defense, but also the deteriorating playing conditions.
Seattle quickly took the upper hand in the second half and put the ball in the back of the net in the 50th minute after Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar worked to the touchline on the right hand side of he 18 yard box and cut a cross back into the middle of the area where Roger Levesque headed it into the goal, only to have it waived off by a questionable offside ruling by the referee’s assistant.
At the hour mark, Levesque again created space for himself inside the 18 yard box and forced Islanders keeper Josh Saunders to come up with a quality save on his right footed effort sent bending towards the far post. Moments later it was Josh Gardner with a left footed effort that slid wide of the far post and preserved the nil, nil score line.
The conditions fueled the temper of mud covered players on both sides of the pitch as the officiating crew barely held control of the match at times.
Saunders, the former Portland Timbers keeper, put together a man of the match performance down the stretch to earn Puerto Rico the draw as their defense crumbled under wave upon wave of pressure from the Sounders going forward.
Schmid and second half substitute Santa Maria Rivera both had superb chances to put Seattle ahead, but they couldn’t find an answer to the Islanders red hot keeper. He was up to every challenge thrown at him, even as he screamed at his defenders between Sounders attacks.
Coach Schmetzer and crew will likely not be celebrating the result as they look to what could have been if they had figured out how to make the score line reflect their second half domination of the match.
Puerto Rico Seattle
Shots: 10 8
Saves: 4 4
Corners: 8 5
Fouls: 15 11
Offsides: 2 5
Referees: Tony Russo; Juan Perez, William Anderson; Antonio Lopez