Seattle Sounders 2-0 Rochester Rhinos Leonetti (S) 72' (Jason Farrell) Leonetti (S) 84' (Niall Thompson)
Rochester: Bill Andracki (11' Rett Thompson), Yuri Smotrich, Rene Rivas, Fuseini Dauda, Gustavo Villagra (46' Leon Minnott), Yogi McKay, Tommy Tanner (79' Kofi Debrah), Henry Gutierrez, Hector Marinaro, Lenin Steenkamp, Doug Miller.
10' Seattle: N. Thompson (for tripping Tanner)
27' Rochester: Tanner (for hitting Daligcon with knee to the chest and cleat to the thigh)
53' Rochester: McKay (for tripping Hoggan from behind)
87' Seattle: N. Thompson (for something he said during an altercation with Rivas)
87' Rochester: Rivas (for attempting to elbow N. Thompson in the face, then pushing him)
87' Seattle: N. Thompson (second caution)
Shots: Seattle 13, Rochester 15
Saves: Seattle 9, Rochester 6
Corner Kicks: Seattle 4, Rochester 4
Offside: Seattle 0, Rochester 3
Fouls: Seattle 13, Rochester 16
Referee: Arturo Angeles
Assistant Referees: Oscar Myre, Mohammed Zarrabi-Kashani
Mark Coker writes:
A well-deserved win for the lads in white. Clearly took the play to them in the first half. Things were a little dicey in the second half. I thought Rochester had the better of the play in the second. They OWNED the midfield.
Joey continued to earn his keep with the side, probably attracting some interest from the MLS in his play. Going to be an interesting close season--who's going to get offers to the first division? I figure Hahnemann, Webber, and James Dunn are going to get a long look. Not far behind would be Leonetti, Jason Farrell, Chance Fry and Jason Dunn.
Well, tonight we will bask in the enjoyment of another championship. Gotta give a lot of credit to the lads--lotta courage when the odds weren't in their favour. I definitely prefered this championship (surprise that it was) to last year's.
Cheers to all the lads for their fine work on the pitch this season and for bringing home the first back-to-back championship to the Pacific Northwest!
Rochester earned a couple of chances early. Lenin Steenkamp's long shot up the middle was easily caught by Hahnemann. Hector Marinaro was sprung free on the right for a shot from 15 yards away, but Hahnemann came out to make the leg save.
At 11' Jason Farrell's 30-yard quick shot up the middle was just wide left, and on the play Rochester goalkeeper Bill Andracki dove right, concentrating on the ball, and hit his face hard against the goal post (which has a square cross section), visibly deflecting the goal. Andracki immediately called for help, blood streaming down his face. He was taken by ambulance to Virginia Mason Hospital. He reportedly suffered three bad cuts to his forehead, lip, and chin plus a couple of broken teeth. Rett Thompson came on to replace Andracki.
Good opportunities were rare for the rest of the half. At 23', Rochester's Henry Gutierrez received a gift from Sounder defender James Dunn setting up a shot from the left side, but Hahnemann pushed the ball out for a corner kick.
At 11', Seattle's rookie Nate Daligcon curled a nice shot from the 18-yard line toward the far post, but Rett Thompson dove left to push the ball wide. Niall Thompson tried to get to the ball to cross it, but couldn't quite get a good angle on it and hit the side of the net.
Good shots were again rare early in the second half. At 54' Jason Dunn went out with a reinjured calf muscle, replaced by Doug Morrill.
Rochester forward Doug Miller took the first good shot of the half at 59', sending a 20-yarder just wide right.
At 72' Sounder midfielder Dick McCormick sent a pass out to Farrell at the right touch line. Farrell's cross was volleyed in by Leonetti seven yards out from the near post, putting Seattle up 1-0.
A few minutes later, Richard Groff joined some of us fans in section 5 for a short visit. He was smiling, this being his final match as A-League Commissioner. He seemed pleased with the turnout and atmosphere, pleased with the sunny weather, and pleased most of all that the match had produced at least one goal.
Seattle's 19 year old rookie Justin Stoddard came on at 83' and within a minute intercepted a pass to start an attack. Stoddard got the ball back just outside the top of the penalty area, dribbled inside the area, and instead of shooting rolled a pass towards the right corner flag. Niall Thompson took the pass and curled a cross towards the far post. Stoddard, Rochester defender Rene Rivas, and Rett Thompson all went up for the ball at the six yard line, but the ball cleared them all as they collided and all ended up on the ground. The cross was chested down by Leonetti at the corner of the goal area and shot into the open net to give the Sounders an insurance goal.
Two minutes later, Niall Thompson got loose on the left for a good shot, but Rett Thompson pushed the ball wide for a corner kick.
Three minutes from time, an altercation started near the halfway line when Rivas elbowed Niall Thompson in the face while challinging for the ball. The foul was whistled, but Thompson apparently said something to Rivas, as Rivas just missed Thompson's face with another elbow. The two exchanged more pleasantries, then Rivas pushed Thompson. By this time, the referee arrived to step between the pair and, apparently disapproving of Thompson's language, showed Thompson his second yellow card of the game, followed of course by the red. Then Rivas was cautioned as well.
A few more minutes of playing time and the final whistle blew, and Seattle had successfully defended the A-League title. A lot of joyous fans streamed onto the field to join the Sounders players, who looked even more joyous. Interviews were going on here and there, the trophy was presented somewhere, but I was in the crowd near the locker room where the Sounders were tossing their jerseys into the crowd. Then Hahnemann's gloves were tossed. Shoes were tossed. The staff brought out boxes of Sounders T shirts and miniballs and they were tossed out. Then players started wandering out of the locker room with bottles of champagne in hand, drenching each other and spraying the crowd. The players thoroughly enjoyed the moment, and the hundreds of fans who lingered were pleased to share the moment with the players.
SOUNDERS REPEAT AS CHAMPIONS
Leonetti Leads Charge With 2 Goals
SEATTLE- Under a gorgeous blue sky and before the largest Sounder home crowd in more than two years, the defending A-League champion Seattle Sounders rode forward Joey Leonetti's two late second-half goals to claim their second consecutive A-League title, defeating the Rochester Rhinos 2-0 on Sunday at Memorial Stadium before 7,027 noisy fans. Leonetti's heroics earned him the Championship's Most Valuable player award.
With the gritty 2-0 victory over the expansion Rhinos, the Sounders became the first Northwest professional sports franchise to repeat as champions since the Seattle Totems hockey team repeated in 1967-68.
Seattle's game-winner came at 71:20 when winger Jason Farrell sent a cross from the right flank to the streaking Jeoy Leonetti who punched in a hard shot into the back of the Rhinos' net from four yards out. The assist was Farrell's third of the playoffs.
Leonetti's second goal, twelve minutes later, came after Sounder forward Niall Thompson arched a high cross from the right touch-line into the center of the box forcing keeper Rett Thompson to leave his line. Thompson could not control the ball. Loose in the box, Sounder defender Justin Stoddard bobbled the ball to an onrushing Leonetti who first settled the ball from six-yards out and then calmly pounded the insurance goal into the far corner. For the second time in the game, Leonetti ignited the crowd into an electric frenzy. It was Leonetti's seventh goal of the season, three of them game-winners.
The Sounders, winners of three of the first four matches versus the Rhinos, shut out the Rhinos for the third straight time in Seattle. Going into the match, professional soccer clubs from Rochester were a dismal 0-7 in Seattle dating back to the 1974 NASL season. Seattle peaked at the right time, having won nine of their past eleven games coming into the championship final. The title marked the second consecutive season in which the Sounders claimed the championship at their home, artificially turfed, field.
Seattle's stalwart keeper, Marcus Hahnemann, kept the first half clean with a great foot save from a one-on-one six-yard blast from Hector Marinaro. He stopped five Rochester shots on the day while recording his third shutout in the playoffs and fourteenth on the season.
Rochester's defense was dealt a serious blow when keeper Bill Andracki, attempting to push wide a Jason Farrell 30-yard blast, was taken from the field via ambulance after he dived face-first into his right post. After a twelve-minute on-field delay, Andracki was taken to a nearby hospital. Later reports indicate he suffered a broken nose, two-chipped teeth and needed 76 stitches to heal cuts on his face. Reserve keeper Rett Thompson, who logged only 19 minutes of playing time this season, replaced Andracki. Thompson made four saves against the Sounders.
Seattle outshot Rochester 14-11.
In a physically bruising match, each team was whistled for 17 fouls. The Rhinos received three cautions and the Sounders' Niall Thompson was sent off in the 87th minute after receiving his second yellow card.
Seattle and Rochester both reached the one-game final after upsetting their higher seeded opponents in their semifinal contests. The Sounders defeated the Colorado Foxes two games to one in their semifinal series and the Rhinos upset the regular season champion Montreal Impact two games to one as well. With the exception of the championship final, the away team won every match in the playoffs.
Rhinos Host Rapids in U.S. Open Cup Semifinal Match on Saturday
Although their first, successful A-League season, is complete, the expansion Rhinos have yet another big match at Frontier Field. This Saturday evening, October 12 (kick-off at 4:30 pm PT) the Rhinos host Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids in a semifinal match of the 1996 U.S. Open Cup tournament. More than 8,500 tickets have already been purchased.
Rochester advanced to the semifinal round after surprising MLS's Tampa Bay Mutiny 4-3 in a thrilling double-overtime victory played at Frontier on September 6. In the other half of the semifinal draw, MLS's Dallas Burn and D.C. United will face off. As D.C. United is still alive in MLS's playoffs, a date is yet to be determined.
The Rhinos will miss their top keeper Bill Andracki who is recovering from a serious facial injury suffered in the A-League final against Seattle. The rest of the Rhino team will remain intact. Rochester's many indoor players will report to their respective clubs following Saturday's U.S. Open Cup semifinal match.