2010 Mar 6

Sounders and Whitecaps defenses rule the day

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


Vancouver: Jay Nolly; Takashi Hirano, Nelson Akwari (Wesley Charles 69'), Chris Williams (Wes Knight 63'), Greg Janicki; Ansu Toure (Blake Wagner 56'), Martin Nash, Nizar Khalfan (Justin Moose 46'), Ricardo Sanchez (Philippe Davies 74'); Dever Orgill (Zourab Tsiskaridze 69'), Cornelius Stewart (Alex Semenets 35', Randy Edwini-Bonsu 74').

Seattle: Kasey Keller; Leo Gonzalez (Tyson Wahl 72'), Tyrone Marshall, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (Jeff Parke 72'), James Riley (Zach Scott 86'); Steve Zakuani (Michael Fucito 62'), Osvaldo Alonso (Stephen King 78'), Nathan Sturgis (Peter Vagenas 78'), Sanna Nyassi (David Estrada 62'); Freddie Ljungberg (Kevin Souter 83'), Fredy Montero (Michael Seamon 83').

Match report from Ron Stickney:

The defenses ruled the day as neither the host Vancouver Whitecaps (USSF D2) nor the visiting Seattle Sounders FC could find the net, at least not without the offside flag up.

Each side managed only two shots in the first half and three in the second. Kasey Keller for Seattle and Jay Nolly for Vancouver went the full 90 to earn shutouts.

While the attacking was lacking, the day was brilliant, cloudless and warmest of the year in both Vancouver and Seattle.

As happens in preseason matches, both sides substituted liberally. Vancouver brought on eight subs and Seattle produced nine.

Seattle's early chances were flagged offside. Twice Steve Zakuani was flagged offside, probably incorrectly from our vantage point near the offside line. Zakuani headed Sanna Nyassi's cross into the net at 15', but this time the offside flag seemed correct.

A few minutes before Zakuani's goal was called back, Vancouver saw a dangerous cross by Cornelius Stewart intercepted by Keller way out from his line, and the first shot of the match, by Nizar Khalfan, went well wide of goal.

Keller got a talking-to at 18' after repeatedly stomping the turf flat to take a goal kick.

Zakuani was finally judged onside at 21' to fire from 15 yards on the left, but Nolly made it to the near post to parry the hard shot wide, conceding a corner.

At 28' Freddie Ljungberg was visibly upset when incorrectly flagged offside on a timed run.

The first foul committed by Seattle did not get whistled until 37', and the Sounders committed only three fouls in the match. Vancouver committed ten fouls, still a low number. The players seemed to want to enter their seasons unscathed.

Vancouver's best chance of the match came at 38' when Khalfan's cross gave Dever Orgill a great chance from 15 yards, but he shot low to Keller's feet.

At 45' Ljungberg was put through with only Nolly to beat, but the shot rolled a half yard wide of the far post.

Halftime: Vancouver 0 - 0 Seattle

After entering at intermission for the Whitecaps, Justim Moose earned the first shot of the second half, sent well over the bar from 20 yards.

At 58' Seattle's Nyassi came closest in the match, hitting the top of the crossbar at the far corner with a quick shot from distance on the right.

A minute later Vancouver had a free kick from just wide of the top right corner of the penalty area, and Ricardo Sanchez' hard shot was saved overhead by Keller.

The next half hour produced nothing except a continuous flow of substitutions.

The final minute plus added time saw Seattle rookie Mike Fucito provide the only spark of brilliance in the final half hour. First he got to a ball served into the penalty area and laid it off to Stephen King in the middle, but King's shot went right into a defender. Then Fucito was sprung into the middle and could have shot, but he again laid it off, this time a bit behind King, and Vancouver's defense just managed to break chances by King and Michael Seamon.

          VAN  SEA
Shots:      5    5
Saves:      2    2
Corners:    1    6
Fouls:     10    3
Offsides:   8    7

9' VAN: Stewart cautioned for a late challenge on Sturgis
60' VAN: Hirano cautioned for a cleats-first slide into Nyassi

Referees: Stephen Depiero; Darren Clark, Kevin Duliba; Alain Ruch