Seattle Sounders 2 - 1 Orange County Zodiac
Memorial Stadium, Seattle
A-League Playoffs, 1st Round (single match)
22' OC: Soto
63' SEA: Hattrup
76' SEA: McCormick
SEA: Dusty Hudock; Bernie James, Randy Mann, Ryan Edwards; Scott Jenkins, David Hoggan, Brandon Prideaux, Dick McCormick; Mark Baena (58' Ian Russell), Patrick Beech (53' Peter Hattrup), Erik Storkson.
OC: Mike Littman; Shawn Saunders, Peter Lak, Brian Engesser, Orlando Perez (71' Ricky Rodriguez); Mario Sanchez (80' Mike Matson), Brad Wilson, Ken Hesse, Eddie Soto (83' Gustavo Leal); PJ Polowski, Steve Patterson.
In four previous matches this season, a single goal provided the difference each time, with the Seattle Sounders and the Orange County Zodiac each winning twice. This match continued the trend with an evenly played match won by the Sounders two goals to one. Orange County took the halftime lead when Eddie Soto beat Dusty Hudock with a low shot to the far post. Seattle's only two substitutions made the difference in the second half. Veteran Peter Hattrup came on to score the tying goal, set up by Erik Storkson's pass right in front of the goal. Rookie Ian Russell entered and earned a penalty kick, converted by Dick McCormick for the match winner.
Regular defender Jason Annicchero sat out the match, serving the latter half of a 2-match suspension for accumulating a second batch of yellow cards.
Orange County had a couple of early shots, then on their third and last shot of the half they took the lead.
22' Soto (Paterson). Steve Patterson fed a long through-ball to Eddie Soto on the right. Soto got by his marker, then beat Hudock with a low shot to the far post.
Seattle outshot Orange County 8-3 in the half, but couldn't finish. Scott Jenkins took a shot at the upper far corner with his back to the goal, but Mike Littman backpedaled to make the save. David Hoggan shot directly from a couple of free kicks, sending one into Littman's belly and another just over the bar. Storkson headed strongly from Prideaux's forward pass, but sent the ball a yard too high. Ryan Edwards headed McCormick's free kick from the left corner just wide.
Halftime: Seattle 0 - 1 Orange County
McCormick gave Storkson a good chance for an unpressured header, but he headed weakly and wide.
Orange County forward PJ Polowski was put through for a good chance at an insurance goal, but Hudock got his hands on the volleyed shot and deflected it just over the bar for the save of the match. Orange County continued the pressure when Patterson won a loose ball at the 18 and shot just wide of the far post. A long cross in the air gave Patterson a chance for a header with only Hudock to beat, but the shot went wide of the goal. Patterson's cross from the right side to the left gave Polowski a chance, sent just wide of the far post.
63' Hattrup (Storkson). Just when it seemed like Seattle was struggling, Hoggan initiated a successful attack when he eluded a couple of defenders on the left and crossed to Randy Mann in the middle, 20 yards from goal. Mann's shot was blocked by a defender, but the rebound went right to Storkson with his back to the goal 8 yards out from the right post. Storkson made the best pass with his foot that I have ever seen, first-timing the ball sideways to a wide-open Hattrup, who sent a low shot past Littman's legs. 1-1 and spirits soared.
76' McCormick. Rookie Ian Russell, on for Baena, went after a ball served into the Orange County penalty area and was pulled down by Shawn Saunders. Referee Mohammed Sagakhaneh didn't hesitate to whistle and point to the spot. McCormick converted the penalty kick with a shot low to his left side and the Sounders were on top 2-1. McCormick had also scored the winning goal when Seattle won by the same score the previous time these teams met.
Seattle's defense held off the Orange County attack for the final 15 minutes, yielding just one good chance when the Zodiac took a free kick 25 yards out, but the wall stopped that shot.
Final: Seattle 2 - 1 Orange County
In the second round of the playoffs, the Sounders will play a home and away series with the Minnesota Thunder. Seattle will play at Minnesota September 18. Then Minnesota will play at Seattle on Sunday, September 20. The winner advances to the Western Conference final.
Shots: SEA 13, OC 10
Saves: Hudock 2, Littman 4
Corners: SEA 2, OC 3
Fouls: SEA 16, OC 17
Offside: SEA 1, OC 0
60' Patterson (OC) cautioned for a late foul on James
67' Hesse (OC) cautioned for pushing
73' Prideaux (SEA) cautioned for sliding under an opponent
Referee: Mohammed Sagakhaneh