Seattle Sounders 0-0 Impact de Montreal (Montreal wins shootout)
Cautions: Seattle - 34' Crook (for taking down Doliscat near the touch line);
Montreal - 57' Devos (for hitting Leonetti hard and late from behind).
Offside: Seattle 0, Montreal 1
Fouls: Seattle 19, Montreal 13
Corner Kicks: Seattle 7, Montreal 1
Shots: Seattle 15, Montreal 7
Saves: Hahnemann 2, Ceccarelli 6
A primary feature of this match was some of the most dismal officiating this side of Oscar Meyer. Apparently the A-League officials have decided that the forearm push and the shirt pull are integral and accepted parts of teams' defensive scheme. I've not seen an official lately that's seen fit to call it.
I think it's time that Megson pulled himself out of a match and took a good hard look at this team. IT AIN'T WORKING! Too much of the attack is focused on Leonetti being the lone runner up front, with the defense or midfield smacking the ball upfield while Leonetti tries to hold the ball against two or three defenders while the other guys come up to support.
Those who impressed: Chewy, Morrill, Webber (nobody beats him in the air), McCormick. Those who didn't: Crook (really off night), Leonetti.
It's starting to get a little anxious. We're now looking at a sub-500 team that isn't scoring. I'd hoped for third place in the standings and then a good run in the playoffs. I'm not sure we're worth of third. Thankfully we managed a few victorys BCC (Before Chance's Catastrophe)--that might be what gets us in the playoffs. Oh and did I mention: Shootouts are no way to decide a match. Nobody deserved to win this one, but nobody deserved to lose either.
Seattle's player/coach Neil Megson moved people around for this game, putting himself back at sweeper where he played the previous two years. Doug Morrill moved up to central midfield, and the Jasons switched places with Farrell at forward and Dunn at midfield, same as in the first half of the Sounders' first 1996 league match. Joey Leonetti also played as a forward.
With no shots in the first 13 minutes, Seattle defender James Dunn finally broke the ice, overlapping on the right to blast a shot from inside the penalty area and force keeper Paolo Ceccarelli to push the ball out for a corner. On the corner kick play, Leonetti's low 20-yard shot was just wide right. Shortly thereafter, Rudy Doliscat took Montreal's first shot, headed wide right. Montreal would get only one other shot the first half, a free kick sent over the bar.
Seattle had a couple more good chances in the first half. At 22' Farrell beat a couple of defenders and sent in a promising cross to the far post, but Ceccarelli snared it just before Leonetti could get his head on it. From Dick McCormick's corner kick, Farrell skied at the far post to beat Ceccarelli to the ball, but Farrell's header was slapped back by the crossbar. Wade Webber got to the rebound but shot it well over the bar.
Near the end of the half, Farrell was hit hard from behind by Montreal's Jason Devos as Farrell headed a cross at the top of the area. Both players were down on the ground a few minutes holding their heads. On the resulting free kick play, Jason Dunn's low shot was blocked by the wall.
The scoreboard operator let the clock run down to zero, at which point the horn sounded (this has never happened at a Sounders game before, at least not one I've attended). For some inexplicable reason, the referee ended play then, even though Farrell and Devos had been attended to for three minutes after banging heads earlier. Maybe this referee was confused from doing MLS or USISL games!
In the second half, Montreal's Lloyd Barker had two good chances. At 52' his header was on its way into the upper right corner, but Hahnemann dove to push it out for Montreal's only corner kick of the game. At 77' on a free kick play, Barker ended up with a 6-yard shot from the left, which Hahnemann closed down for a chest save.
For Seattle, Farrell dribbled into the area and beat a defender for a shot, but Ceccarelli went down for the save. Tom Bialek earned the game's best chance when he broke free for a shot at the top center of the goal area. Ceccarelli stayed near his line and got a hand on the shot, which was aimed at the top left corner. Farrell's close-in shot on the rebound was blocked and bounced back toward the right side. Bialek got there first for a shot from six yards, but a Montreal defender got between the ball and the goal line just in time to block Bialek's hard shot.
McCormick's low shot from a 30-yard free kick play went through the onrushing wall unscathed, but was gobbled up by Ceccarelli. At 74' Bialek took a short pass inside the area on the left, turned quickly and fired, but hit the wrong side of the net.
The referee only allowed 30 seconds of injury time in the second half, again in spite of the fact that a trainer had been on the field a few minutes tending to an injured player. After the nil-nil draw, Montreal shot first in the shootout and won it:
Montreal Seattle ------------ ------------ DeSantis 0 (wide left) Farrell 0 (over the bar) Doliscat 1 Bialek 1 Barker 0 (wide right) Megson 0 (saved) Romanello 1 Zanin 0 (wide left) Diotte 0 (saved) McCormick 1 (perfect chip) ------------ ------------ Devos 1 Crook 0 (saved)