Seattle Sounders 9 - 0 Albuquerque Geckos
Memorial Stadium, Seattle
15' SEA: Hoggan
26' SEA: Storkson
30' SEA: Baena
38' SEA: Storkson
40' SEA: Beech
51' SEA: Prideaux
64' SEA: Beech
82' SEA: Baena
89' SEA: Baena
SEA: Dusty Hudock (45' Preston Burpo); Bernie James, Jason Annicchero, Randy Mann; Scott Jenkins (59' Paul Gelvezon), David Hoggan (73' Neil Megson), Brandon Prideaux (59' Kei Kinoshita), Dick McCormick; Mark Baena, Patrick Beech, Erik Storkson (54' Ian Russell).
ALB: Brian Huskisson; Jake Truty, Billy Thiebaut, Todd Jackson, Colin Cheshire; Brad Moore, David Baca, Abel Uribe, Rod Underwood; Todd Oborne, Luis Labastida.
The Seattle Sounders took target practice against the Albuquerque Geckos, finishing the home schedule with a 9-0 win. Albuquerque are one of several A-League sides that have run into financial difficulties. They have cut many of their more highly paid (in other words, more talented) players. The Geckos were D3 Pro League Champions last year, but flopped as a Division II side this year.
David Hoggan, who recently announced that he will retire after this season, scored the first and match-winning goal. The A-League's leading scorer, Mark Baena, got the last goal a minute before time to complete a hat trick. Dick McCormick was in a generous mood, dishing out five assists to his teammates.
The first ten minutes foreshadowed the match, producing five good scoring opportunities for the Sounders. Hoggan curled a ball over the defense for Baena, whose shot sailed over the near corner. Patrick Beech's 20-yarder was saved by Brian Huskisson. Jason Annicchero headed a corner kick over the bar. Erik Storkson chipped over the defense for Baena, who just missed the near post. Baena worked hard on the right to cross to the far post, where Beech headed just over the opposite corner.
The Geckos managed a couple of early long shots, and long shots would be about all that the Seattle defense would allow them.
15' Hoggan (Mann). Hoggan's 35-yard shot up the middle caught Huskisson by surprise as he stood flat-footed and watched the shot enter the lower right corner for the 1-0 Seattle lead.
The post nearly took out an Albuquerque defender the next minute. Baena was sprung on the left and Huskisson parried his shot up and toward the far post. With Beech following up on the shot, the Geckos' Billy Thiebaut got there first and rose to head the ball wide. As Thiebaut did so, Beech charged him, knocking him into the post, which caught him on the chest and side of the head. After being tended to, Thiebaut resumed his position on the pitch and seemed to have survived the collision okay. Beech probably deserved a yellow card, but not even a foul was called.
26' Storkson (McCormick). McCormick's long cross over the defense was met by Storkson's head at the far corner of the goal area, firing the ball back across the goal to the far corner. This started a flood of goals for the Sounders.
30' Baena (McCormick). After a pass from McCormick, Baena's worm burner from 25 yards on the left hit the far corner for a 3-0 lead.
38' Storkson (Annicchero). Annicchero's throw-in was flicked on goal by Storkson, catching Huskisson off his line. Huskisson got a hand on the ball but couldn't keep it out of the goal.
40' Beech (Storkson). Storkson's pass sprung Beech, who used a feint to get by Huskisson and before burying the shot from an acute angle on the left.
Halftime: Seattle 5 - 0 Albuquerque
Goalkeeper Preston Burpo came on at the half for Dusty Hudock. Later on, Seattle would use all remaining substitutes with rookie Ian Russell, Paul Gelvezon, Kei Kinoshita and Coach Neil Megson entering.
51' Prideaux (McCormick). Brandon Prideaux, Seattle Pitch's recommendation for A-League Rookie of the Year, really created this goal all by himself. He used a couple of stutter-step feints to advance the ball to the edge of the penalty area, then rocketed a shot just inside the far post to put Seattle up 6-0.
Taking Albuquerque's only shot from inside the penalty area, David Baca's sideways volley from a nice cross just missed the far post on a bounce.
Prideaux's rolling cross from the right bye line gave Baena an excellent chance from 8 yards, but he sent the ball over the cross bar. Hoggan's shot from Baena's cross was deflected just wide, then from the corner kick play Kinoshita's blast was also deflected just wide.
64' Beech (McCormick). McCormick's corner kick sailed over the fingertips of Huskisson at the near post, allowing Beech to head the ball in from right in front of the goal.
Beech nearly earned a hat trick when he hit the inside of the left post with a shot up the middle. Kinoshita gathered the rebound in the right corner and crossed to give Beech a chance at a header, but he couldn't reach all of the ball and sent it over the bar.
82' Baena (McCormick). McCormick dribbled the ball up the middle and sent a through ball for Baena, who settled it and bent an outside-of-the-foot shot around Huskisson and into the back of the net.
89' Baena (Beech). Baena was sprung by Beech on the right and beat Huskisson with a low shot to the far corner, giving Baena a hat trick and Seattle a final margin of 9-nil.
Final: Seattle 9 - 0 Albuquerque
Three road matches finish the regular season, at San Francisco bay, California and Vancouver. The Sounders are arranging a bus trip for the Vancouver match on Labor Day. Call the Sounders office for details at 800-796-KICK.
There will likely be at least one more match in Seattle this season, as the Sounders have qualified for the playoffs and look in form to secure home field advantage for the first round.
Shots: SEA 33, ALB 10
Saves: Hudock 1, Burpo 1; Huskisson 6
Corners: SEA 9, ALB 1
Fouls: SEA 14, ALB 6
Offside: SEA 3, ALB 0
45' Moore (ALB) cautioned for tripping Hoggan
78' Annicchero (SEA) cautioned for holding
Referee: Carrie Seitz