2007 Sep 23

Playoffs, semifinals, leg 2:
Seattle Sounders 0 - 1 Puerto Rico Islanders
Series extra time: Seattle 1 - 1 Puerto Rico
Series aggregate: Seattle 3 - 3 Puerto Rico
Kicks from the penalty mark: Seattle 4 - 2 Puerto Rico

Starfire Sports Complex, Tukwila, WA

Seattle: Chris Eylander; Taylor Graham, Zach Scott, Noah Merl, Kevin Sakuda (Adam West 102'); Kenji Treschuk, Leighton O'Brien, Josh Gardner (Greg Howes 67'), Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar; Roger Levesque (Andre Schmid 113'), Sebastien Le Toux (Jake Besagno 116'). Substitutes not used: Ben Dragavon, Gabe Sturm, Craig Tomlinson.

Puerto Rico: Josh Saunders; Marco Velez, John Krause (Mauricio Segovia 115'), Jay Needham (Greg Simmonds 105'); Lars Lyssand, David Johnson (Victor Herrera 73'), Edwin Miranda, Alexis Rivera (Alberto Delgado 55'); Willie Sims (Noah Delgado 69'), Fabrice Noel, Tai Atieno. Substitutes not used: Michael Behonick, Raphael Ortiz.

80' PR: A Delgado (N Delgado)
100' SEA: Howes (Levesque)
117' PR: Herrera

Additional match reports: Sounders, GOALSeattle.com, Seattle P-I, Seattle Times.
Photos: GOALSeattle.com.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

With the Seattle Sounders holding a 2-1 lead in the semifinal series over the Puerto Rico Islanders, The Islanders fought back gamely for a road win to send the series to extra time. A late goal from Puerto Rico's Alberto Delgado gave them a 1-0 win at full time, necessitating 30 minutes of series extra time. Greg Howes scored in the first extra time period to put the Sounders back up on aggregate, but they could not hold the lead as Victor Herrera scored late to make it 1-1 in extra time and 3-3 on aggregate.

The series was decided with kicks from the penalty mark. Seattle goalkeeper Chris Eylander made two saves while Seattle converted all attempts to win kicks from the mark 4-2. The Sounders advance to the Championship Match and will host it on Saturday, September 29, at Starfire Sports Complex, televised live on Fox Soccer Channel.

Sitting out the match due to red cards in leg one were Seattle sweeper Danny Jackson and Puerto Rico midfielder Jano Gonzalez.

First Half

Puerto Rico came out of the starting gate pressing hard for the first 8 minutes, and Seattle's defense held up well, allowing just one shot by Willie Sims that was pressured wide of the far post.

The match got physical in the 8th minute when Tai Atieno elbowed Kenji Treschuk in the face at the touch line. Referee Richard Sanchez dealt with it by giving yellow cards to Atieno and also to Sims, who was guilty of a push in the crowd that gathered around the floored Treschuk. After those cards, play was fair for the rest of the match.

Seattle's first shot came at 14' when Roger Levesque in the penalty area dropped a pass for Leighton O'Brien at the top of the arc, but the shot was yards too high.

In the 21st minute for Seattle, Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar's cross was inadvertently head-flicked at the top far corner by the nearby defender, and Josh Saunders went full stretch to make a one-handed save.

Eylander came well out of goal to clear a ball at 24', so Fabrice Noel put it back on goal from the halfway line, but Eylander got back home for the save.

Seattle had a couple of good chances at 37'. Josh Gardner's shot/cross from the left went off a defender's head and flashed across the goal mouth and out for a corner. Taylor Graham headed the resulting corner kick down hard only to see it bounce a yard over the top near corner.

Then it was Puerto Rico's turn with 5 minutes left in the half. A shot from 20 yards was deflected by a defender just wide of the post. Sims got open for a shot and rolled it through the goal area, missing the far post by a half yard. Then Sims from 20 yards missed the lower far corner by a foot. Finally, Atieno's shot from 25 was deflected towards the left post, but Eylander got there for a save.

Final chance of the half was Seattle's, as Sebastien Le Toux fed Levesque for a turn and shoot in the arc, but he missed 2 yards wide.

Halftime: Seattle 0 - 0 Puerto Rico

Seattle looked best at the start of the second half. Gardner took a cross on the left and earned a shot from a steep angle, aimed top shelf, but Saunders got a hand on it to pop it up. At 56' it was Kevin Sakuda with a shot from about the same place, and Saunders touched it over the bar for a corner.

Puerto Rico's first shot of the half came at 60' when Atieno got the ball on the doorstep of the goal, but Eylander slid out nicely to stuff the shot and the rebound went wide for a corner. At 70' a long free kick was headed down to give Noel a 15-yard shot, but he sent it 2 yards too high.

At 75', Seattle was allowed advantage on a play that gave Alcaraz-Cuellar a shot from the right, and he missed the top far corner by a yard. At 80' Levesque got free for a shot on a Seattle attack but he rolled it too easily to Saunders.

80' PR: A Delgado (N Delgado). On a counterattack, Noah Delgado got the ball on the right with space to set up a cross. The cross went square about 4 yards from the goal line, and Alberto Delgado outraced the defense to it for a tap-in. 1-0 Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico had a couple of good chances at 90', first Atieno turning past Graham for a 20-yard shot that missed a yard wide, then Noel winning a ball sent near goal for a close shot, but he also missed by a yard.

Fulltime: Seattle 0 - 1 Puerto Rico

Series Extra Time

100' SEA: Howes (Levesque). The only shot in the first 15-minute period of extra time was a beauty. Levesque was served the ball by Treschuk in the left side of the penalty area and he made the turn, but had to slide as he crossed the ball from the end line near goal. The diagonal drop pass was met by Howes on the far-post run 8 yards out, and he beat Saunders with a shot inside the opposite post. 1-1.

Seattle's Le Toux was sprung from the halfway line and outraced his marker for a shot from the 18 that hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced down just in front of the goal line. An inch lower and it would have been in.

117' PR: Herrera. After denying Puerto Rico a shot for almost all of the 30 minutes of extra time, the Sounders suffered a defensive lapse on a free kick play. The 35-yard free kick from the right side landed about 6 yards out from the near post and bounced into the center of the goal untouched. 2-1 Puerto Rico.

Extra Time: Seattle 1 - 1 Puerto Rico

Series Aggregate: Seattle 3 - 3 Puerto Rico

Kicks from the Penalty Mark

With the semifinal series level at 3-3, the series was settled with kicks from the penalty mark. The difference was Seattle goalkeeper Eylander, who saved Puerto Rico's first and fourth attempts. Seattle converted all of their attempts to win the kicks from the mark 4-2. The Sounders advance to the USL First Division Championship Match and will host it on Saturday, September 29, at Starfire Sports Complex.

Seattle               Puerto Rico
Howes - 1             Atieno - 0 (saved)
O'Brien - 1           Simmonds - 1
Alcaraz-Cuellar - 1   Herrera - 1
Schmid - 1            Lyssand - 0 (saved)

          Seattle   Puerto Rico
Shots:       14        18
Saves:        6         5
Corners:      3         4
Fouls:       13        16
Offsides:     2         3

9' PR: Sims cautioned
9' PR: Atieno cautioned
81' PR: A Delgado cautioned for taking his shirt off in a goal celebration
101' SEA: Howes cautioned for grabbing a USA flag and running through the stands in a goal celebration

Referees: Richard Sanchez; Mark Matthews, Jeff Hosking; Cory Dean

Attendance: 3,107