2008 Jun 7

Seattle Sounders  3 - 1  Minnesota Thunder
Starfire Sports Complex, Tukwila, WA

Seattle: Chris Eylander; Taylor Graham, Zach Scott, Kevin Sakuda; Danny Jackson, Adam West, Leighton O'Brien (Andre Schmid 82'), John Fishbaugher, Josh Gardner; Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar, Sebastien Le Toux (Craig Tomlinson 83'). Substitutes not used: Ben Dragavon, Roger Levesque.

Minnesota: Nicolas Platter; Kevin Friedland, Andres Arango, Jonathan Greenfield, Brian Kallman (Kevin Taylor 79'); Leo Gibson, Andrew Barron, Ricardo Sanchez (Aaron Paye 59'), Stephen deRoux (Alen Marcina 59'); Luchi Gonzalez (Melvin Tarley 71'), Frederico Moojen. Substitutes not used: Matt Van Oekel, Jeremiah Bass, Tighe Dombrowski.

Goals:
55' SEA: Alcaraz-Cuellar
75' SEA: O'Brien (PK)
78' SEA: Le Toux

90' MIN: Marcina (Paye)


Additional match reports: Thunder, Seattle Times.


Match report from the Sounders:

After getting knocked off his feet for much of the game, Sebastien Le Toux had a hand in all three goals that helped knock off the Minnesota Thunder. LeToux was taken down on a run into the box that led to a Leighton O'Brien penalty kick in the 75th minute, then scored a goal himself 2 minutes later as the Seattle Sounders beat the Thunder at Starfire Sports Complex on Saturday night, 3-1.

"I got a lot of time on the ground it's just part of the game," said LeToux, who came into the postgame interview area with his shirt torn in two places, with ice on his right knee and on his right ankle. "But it got to be too much tonight. I don't know why today -- it was just like that."

The Sounders, who came home from their recent three-game road trip to the Southeast with just two of a possible nine points, climbed into a third-place tie with Portland in the United Soccer Leagues First Division standings. Seattle boosted their record to 4-2-5 with 17 points. The Timbers, who fell 3-1 at Vancouver on Saturday, are 4-4-5 with 17.

Seattle got the job done with a patchwork lineup in front of 2,390 fans. Starting defender Kenji Treschuk was out serving a one-game suspension for a red card he received in last Sunday's 0-0 tie at Miami. Starting forward Roger Levesque, while available to play, sat the whole 90 minutes with an ankle injury. Noah Merl (groin) and Jason Cascio (ankle) also were out.

"It was patchwork in the sense that we're dinged up," Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said. "But if you look at our starting 11, it's a pretty good starting 11."

"It's a challenge for us -- that's how we have to look at it," said Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar, who put Seattle on the board in the 55th minute when he drilled the rebound of a LeToux shot into a wide-open net. "We have to get healthy and have to start hitting our stride, and I hope tonight was the beginning of that."

The Sounders dominated the punchless Thunder with a 15-6 advantage in shots. Minnesota was just seconds away from being shut out for the third straight time when Alen Marcina scored on a breakaway during second-half stoppage time. Until then, the Thunder had gone 320 minutes since their last goal.

After a scoreless first half, the Sounders got on the board at the 54:26 mark. Le Toux took the initial shot from 12 yards away in the right side of the penalty area. Thunder goalkeeper Nic Platter slapped it way, but the rebound went across the goal to Alcaraz-Cuellar on the left side. Positioned right on top of Platter's front porch and with Platter still out of the goal, Cuellar sent it into a wide-open net for his first goal of the season.

The Sounders were still clinging to that 1-0 lead when Le Toux made a run into the left side of the box. He was taken down hard by Thunder defender Andres Arango, who was called for the foul and given a yellow card on the play. Referee Ian Anderson immediately pointed to the penalty spot, and O'Brien drove the ensuing PK into back right corner at 74:58.

Just 2:34 later, LeToux made it 3-0. Josh Gardner started the play on a corner kick from the right quadrant. The ball was knocked around at the far post, it landed at LeToux's feet, and he sent it hard into the back right corner for his team-leading fifth goal.

The Sounders had two near-misses during the first half.

In the 18th minute, O'Brien, back in action after missing the three-game road trip to the Southeast with a groin injury, took a free kick from just over the midfield line on the left wing side. Thunder goalkeeper Platter came out of his net to pull it down, but the ball floated behind him, and Seattle's Zach Scott went up for the header. It was on the way into the net until Minnesota defender Kevin Friedland headed it off the line.

Early in the 38th minute, Gardner sent a corner kick from the right wing side went high toward the far post. Sounders defender Taylor Graham, named to last week's USL First Division Team of the Week for getting the equalizing goal in Seattle's 1-1 tie at Puerto Rico on May 30, rose for a header that flew just wide of the left post.

Minnesota actually had a ball into the net late in the seventh minute, but the offside flag went up even before the shot was taken.

The only other solid opportunity all night for the Thunder came right as the clock clicked to the 28th minute when Freddy Moojen's header from just inside the top of the penalty area straight in front of the net was slapped away from the right post by Sounders goalkeeper Chris Eylander. The ensuing Minnesota corner kick was cleared away without a shot.

The Sounders don't return to league play until June 20 when they play host to the Miami FC Blues at 7 p.m. at Starfire. But Seattle begins U.S. Open Cup play on Tuesday in Phoenix against the Arizona Sahuaros of the U.S. Adult Soccer Association.

On Thursday, Juventus Primavera, the reserve side of the famous Italian Serie A club, comes to Starfire for an exhibition game at 7 p.m.

QUICK KICKS -- Minnesota's last-minute goal spoiled what would have been Eylanders's sixth shutout of the season The Sounders remained undefeated at home, pushing their record to 2-0-2. Minnesota fell to 1-3-2 on the road.

Statistics:
          Seattle   Minnesota
Shots:       15         6
Saves:        1         4
Corners:      8         3
Fouls:        9        19
Offsides:     4         5

Misconduct:
22' MIN: Gonzalez cautioned
32' MIN: Kallman cautioned
39' SEA: O'Brien cautioned
75' MIN: Arango cautioned
86' MIN: Tarley cautioned
90' SEA: Scott cautioned

Referees: Ian Anderson; Scott Groce, Jeremy Hanson; Cory Dean

Attendance: 2,390