Seattle Sounders 1 - 0 San Diego Flash
Memorial Stadium, Seattle
Storkson (S) 71
Sea: Dusty Hudock; David Hoggan, Scott Jenkins, Jason Annicchero, Brandon Prideaux; Kei Kinoshita, Paul Gelvezon, Stoner Tadlock, Fabian Davis; Kevin Lamey (67 Erik Storkson), Patrick Beech.
SD: Joe Cannon; Carlos Cruz Trejo, Michael N'Doumbe, Jimmy Conrad; Jerome Watson, Kevin Legg, Eric Chaisongkram (78 Jimmy Wang), Wes Wade, Nathan Hetherington, Antonio Farace; Brad Smith (46 Antonio Robles).
David Hoggan played sweeper for Seattle in place of Bernie James, who began serving a 3-game suspension for head-butting Domenic Mobilio in the last Sea-Van match. It was nice to see the mobility and dribbling skills in the back, leading to better possession play.
San Diego nearly caught the Sounders asleep in the first minute when Wade got a good shot from the arc on a throw-in play, but he hit Sounder defender Jenkins near the spot and the ball rebounded harmlessly away.
In just the fourth minute, Annicchero continued Friday's proliferation of yellow cards when for reasons known only to him, he knocked a San Diego player down just outside the penalty area as Seattle started an attack. He did this right in front of referee Mohammed Zharabbi-Kashani. Prideaux would get cautioned a bit later for using his elbow when challenging for the ball. And Jenkins would get a yellow card, after two in the last game, 3 minutes from time, making a total of eight cards collected by Seattle's back four in the past three games.
Newcomer Lamey, who scored in his first game as a Sounder two days earlier, got an early chance after Davis intercepted a pass in the San Diego back line. Lamey's blast from the right was just over the top near corner. But Lamey's first shot would be his last decent shot of the game.
Beech, the other Jamaican forward, showed his skills on the half-hour when he made room between three defenders to get a shot from the arc, sent a yard over the bar. Then with his back to the goal, Beech chipped the ball over his head, turned around his marker to recover the ball, juked another pair of defenders, and fired a 25-yard blast at the top right corner. Cannon did well to leap and parry the ball out for a corner. On a Seattle counter, Prideaux sent a diagonal pass forward to give Beech a shot on the run. Cannon anticipated and came 15 yards out to deflect the shot just wide of the goal.
Halftime: Seattle 0 - 0 Orange County
San Diego earned the first shots of the second half. Robles, on at the half for Smith, had his cross from the left deflected, but right to Hetherington, whose header on goal was aimed right into Hudock's bread basket.
Seattle would commit an embarrassing 34 fouls, to just 14 by San Diego, and one of them led to a wonderfully taken 30-yard free kick by Farace that corkscrewed just wide of the far post. Farace would later put a 32-yard free kick on goal for Hudock to catch at the bar.
Seattle's first chance of the half came from a corner kick. Tadlock's header off the corner kick was blocked, but fell to the 18 for Davis to run on to, but Davis shot a yard too high. On the next Seattle corner, a Flash defender inadvertently volleyed the corner kick sharply at the far post. Wade was at home at the post to volley away and prevent the own goal.
71' Storkson (Gelvezon). Just four minutes after coming on for Lamey, Storkson tallied the game's lone goal. Gelvezon beat a man to cross to the near post from the left corner. Keeper Cannon came out after the ball, but the cross bent away from him and down and just before he could grab it, Storkson met the ball with his foot and softly chipped it past Cannon and inside the far post.
The game got very emotional the rest of the way. Robles was cautioned for taking out Kinoshita's legs. San Diego pressured, but Seattle's defense held well. The last good chance for the Flash came at 79' when Farace dribbled up the middle and fed Legg for a shot from the spot, but Legg sent it over the bar when he might have kept it down.
Jenkins, who will sit out next game due to a pair of yellows in Friday's game, almost escaped without a card but picked one up three minutes from time. A frustrated Farace got one before the restart for barking at the referee.
The final whistle signaled the welcome end of the Sounders' four-game losing streak and their first home win in three attempts. The Sounders now have a long break in action, with a friendly at the Spokane Shadow May 30 before resuming A-League action at home June 6 against their rivals from a couple of years ago, the Montreal Impact.
Final: Seattle 1 - 0 Orange County
Shots: Sea 10, SD 11
Saves: Hudock 4, Cannon 2
Corners: Sea 6, SD 0
Fouls: Sea 34, SD 14
Offside: Sea 2, SD 3
4 Annicchero (S) cautioned
13 Prideaux (S) cautioned
72 Robles (SD) cautioned
87 Jenkins (S) cautioned, Farace (SD) cautioned
Referee: Mohammed Zharabbi-Kashani
Attendance: 2,373 paid attendance (estimated < 1,000 actually there)