VANCOUVER 2 - 2 SEATTLE Seattle wins shootout. Valentine (V) 7' (1st) Fry (S) 19' (1st) Medved (S) 30' (2nd) Dailly (V) 46' (2nd) Attendance: 5,055This match report comes courtesy of Ken Butler:
This was one of those games where the goals didn't seem to have much to do with the play, and until very late, it looked as if some kind of injustice would be done.
The first real chance for either team was the 86ers' opening goal. Some good tackling back got the ball to Dailly on the right, and his lob into the centre found Valentine battling with the last defender and the keeper. Valentine bravely stuck a foot in, and was rewarded as the ball went into the net. This was a dream start for the 86ers, but the player-coach, who had been hurt scoring the goal, lasted only five more minutes before going down again and having to leave the game. Valentine is often a steadying influence in the 86er midfield, and the team seemed to miss him, as the Sounders started to take over.
When the Sounders came forward, we saw an awful lot of Fry and Hattrup against Knezevic and Rattee, with no other defenders in sight. It was no surprise that the visitors created chances. Megson found himself alone seven yards out after a corner, but headed right at Dolan. Then a big escape for the home team: Fry had space on the edge of the box, and passed to Hattrup on the left in even more space. Hattrup's shot beat Dolan, but not a flying Rattee, who got back to clear off the line. The reprieve was brief, however. Hoggan found Fry again with time on the edge of the box, this time more centrally positioned, and the Seattle forward sidestepped a defender before picking the corner of the net.
The first half continued in the same vein, with the visitors having most of the play and looking ready to score again. A Fry near post header was deflected away for a corner; Webber's firm shot after a cleared corner didn't get through; Hattrup's trickery down the left forced Norman into fouling him and being cautioned; and Megson headed wide from the near post after a corner. The 86ers had only two chances during this period: not long after the goal, a long kick by Dolan was headed on by Reed to Sibiya, whose first-time volley was wide -- but, in first-half injury time, they nearly took the lead back. After a throw-in on the right, Reed took the ball on the edge of the box on the right, turned, and shot about a foot too high.
As it was, the 86ers were undoubtedly happy with 1-1 at the break. The second half, though, was a quite different story. It began with a pair of 86er changes: late in the first half, Dolan had gone down with what seemed to be some kind of muscle strain, and he did not reappear for the second half, being replaced by Shepherd, making his home debut. Forward Nash replaced midfielder Dodd, to provide three up front. Whether the Sounders had been told to play more defensively or not I don't know, but they certainly sat back and allowed the 86ers, who were winning a lot more of the ball in midfield, to come at them, while the Sounders were restricted to rare forays into the Vancouver half. Good chances were few, though, the best two coming around the hour mark. Rattee, coming forward, played a through ball to Reed down the inside-right channel, and Reed's shot was well saved by Hahnemann's legs. Then Nash, working down the left, shot from just outside the box, and Hahnemann gave up a big, high rebound which was eventually scrambled out for a corner. After this, Dailly made a couple of chances, first swinging in a cross from the right which Hahnemann took at full stretch, and then making space for a shot which was comfortably saved. There were a few worries at the other end -- Farrell's long run was stopped in the end by Knezevic, and Fry tried a speculative overhead shot which Shepherd had only to watch as it dropped over the bar. There was nothing to suggest a Seattle goal, though, until the 75th minute. Some spaces opened up in the 86er defence, and Medved ran dangerously into one of them. He seemed to have lost his way, though, until finally making room for a shot which effectively found the far corner of the net. A lead that would have been deserved in the first half, but scarcely seemed so now.
The 86ers threw everything forward, giving a chance to debutant Kusch, a big, strapping forward (whose parents were sitting right behind me), who played a decent physical game but showed that he has things to learn at this level. Dailly, playing down the right wing, had a hand in much of the best play, though the best chance had nothing to do with him: a Norman free kick was met by Sibiya, whose flick-on eluded everybody and rolled a couple of yards wide. (Sibiya worked hard up front tonight, and had a good game, holding up and passing the ball intelligently.) Then, after the game had moved into injury time and both Fry and Hattrup had got forward dangerously, Sibiya held the ball up on the right and found Dailly, about 20 yards out. Dailly spotted Hahnemann off his line and hit a vicious dipping shot, which went over the keeper, hit the back stanchion of the net and came out again before anybody realised what had happened.
Considering that it was rather a game of two halves, a draw was a fair result, and for the 86ers to take a point off the league leaders was a reasonable achievement. Seattle gained themselves a second point by winning the shootout (I made sure to boo loudly when the shootout was announced!) -- details for those who care (which, I hope, is "nobody"...):
Seattle (3) Vancouver (0) Hattrup x (off post) Nash x Megson o Oliviero x (off bar) Medved o Dailly x Fry o
Vancouver: Dolan (Shepherd 45); Norman, McKinty, Knezevic, Rattee; Dodd
(Nash 45), Dailly, Oliviero, Valentine (Macey 10); Reed (Kusch 68), Sibiya.
Seattle: Hahnemann; Webber, Morrill, Megson, James Dunn; Medved, Farrell, Rizi, Hoggan; Fry, Hattrup.