Seattle Sounders 2 - 1 Orange County Zodiac
Memorial Stadium, Seattle
9' OC: Wilson
20' SEA: Baena
36' SEA: McCormick
SEA: Dusty Hudock; Bernie James, Jason Annicchero,
Randy Mann; Scott Jenkins, David Hoggan (88' Paul Gelvezon), Brandon Prideaux,
Dick McCormick; Mark Baena, Peter Hattrup (76' Fabian Davis), Erik Storkson
(81' Kei Kinoshita).
OC: Mike Littman; Shawn Saunders, Ken Hesse, Peter Lak, Brian Engesser; Orlando Perez, Mario Sanchez (53' Eddie Soto), Brad Wilson; Mike Matson (40' Ricky Rodriguez), Gustavo Leal, Steve Patterson.
The Seattle Sounders won an important battle for second place, defeating the Orange County Zodiac 2-1 behind goals from Mark Baena and Dick McCormick, both assisted by rookie Brandon Prideaux. Seattle are now tied with Orange County in points, with Seattle holding a match in hand as well as the better goal differential, if it comes down to that. Prideaux, who has played every minute this season, picked up another yellow card to put him over the limit. In a week he will have to sit out the following match, against California.
Patrick Beech did not suit up, having badly sprained his ankle a week ago against California.
Erik Storkson's best shot came early when he flicked David Hoggan's throw-in on goal and Mike Littman had to push the ball over the bar to keep it out. Peter Hattrup forced another early save by Littman when he shot McCormick's corner kick on goal.
9' Wilson (Matson). Orange County suddenly took the lead when Sounder sweeper Bernie James decided to let Mike Matson's long ball go to goalkeeper Dusty Hudock at the 18, but Brad Wilson got there first and chipped the ball past Hudock and into the goal on the first bounce.
Another McCormick corner produced a shot, this time a header by Storkson, who put it over the bar when he might have headed it down.
20' Baena (Prideaux). Prideaux's cross from the right was trapped by Baena at the 18-yard line under pressure. Baena beat his man, then beat Littman with a powerful shot inside the far post to level the score at 1-1.
Yet another McCormick corner produced a shot, this time a header by Annicchero at the top of the goal, caught by Littman. An nicely built attack put Baena through on the left and after drawing the keeper he dished the ball off to his right for Storkson, who tripped and wasted the good opportunity.
36' McCormick (Prideaux). Seattle's continued pressure earned them the 2-1 lead. Baena crossed a ball from the left side for Prideaux outside the far post. Prideaux said afterward that he tried to shoot and miskicked the ball, but it went across the goal mouth and McCormick met it with his head at the 6-yard line and fired it into the right side of the goal.
The Zodiac had a couple of chances late in the half. Mario Sanchez shot a cleared ball back up the middle and was just wide left. In the final minute Sanchez sent a nice cross from the right over the defense for Steve Patterson, wide open 12 yards out from the far post. Patterson headed on goal but Hudock was there to push the ball over the bar.
Halftime: Seattle 2 - 1 Orange County
Seattle opened the second half with more pressure on County's goal. A minute in, Hoggan had a chance with a free kick from 25 yards, but sent it over. Prideaux's 25-yarder to the far post had to be pushed wide and out by a diving Littman. Storkson chested down a Jenkins cross to give Hattrup a 25-yard shot up the middle, but Hattrup put it well over the goal. A minute later Hattrup was over the goal again from the same spot, this time on a free kick.
At 78' Storkson put the ball in the net, but was called offside on the play. Fabian Davis, on for Hattrup, advanced the ball up the middle and put himself through with a wall pass with McCormick. Littman used his foot to deflect Davis' shot wide.
With 6 minutes left the inevitable late pressure came from Orange County. Peter Lak headed Ken Hesse's cross on goal but Hudock made the save at the bar. Orlando Perez shot in a long cross but was flagged offside, the first offside call against the Zodiac all match.
The two previous matches between these sides were won by Orange County, both times from a goal in the 88th minute by Eddie Soto. This time, the Seattle defense held and the 2-1 halftime score became the final score.
Final: Seattle 2 - 1 Orange County
Seattle's final regular season match is Sunday, August 23, 2:00 vs. the financially floundering Albuquerque Geckos. Then three road matches finish the regular season, culminating with a Labor Day match at Vancouver. The Sounders are arranging a bus trip for the Vancouver match. Call the Sounders office for details at 800-796-KICK.
Shots: SEA 17, OC 11
Saves: Hudock 5, Littman 7
Corners: SEA 11, OC 3
Fouls: SEA 13, OC 18
Offside: SEA 6, OC 1
56' Prideaux (SEA) cautioned for taking Wilson's legs out from under him
66' Saunders (OC) cautioned for holding Baena
71' Engesser (OC) cautioned unsporting conduct
90' a coach (OC) sent off for something he said in the final minute
Referee: Sandy Hunt