Seattle Sounders 2 - 0 Team Sacramento
Renton Memorial Stadium, Renton, WA
10' SEA: Russell (Gaw)
33' SEA: Russell (Hattrup)
Seattle: Preston Burpo; Kieran Barton, Jason Annichero, Scott Jenkins, Craig Waibel; Shan Gaw, Sean Henderson, Oliver Heald, Alexander Nouri (Peter Hattrup 12); Viet Nguyen, Ian Russell.
Sacramento: Eric Landon; Darren Edge, Tim Maestretti (Adam Bruckner 77), Nate Nelson, Jason Gile; Art Temblador, Joaquin Valdez (Brian Willey 59), Kevin Mercado (Mike Galvin 64), Alejandro Cano; Eric Farfan, Dario Favian (Robbie Cohmanschi 46).
Ian Russell chipped two in over the goalkeeper to lead the Seattle Sounders to a 2-0 win over Team Sacramento, formerly called the Sacramento Geckos. Russell pleased his mother on her birthday. Sacramento was recently taken over by new ownership after financial problems, but their on-field performance was better than expected for a team in such a situation. Sacramento has lost every match this season, so the Sounders were heavily favored.
Randy Mann was still out with a hamstring injury, Mark Baena was out on paternity leave after reportedly becoming a father the previous day, and Erik Storkson sat out the match on suspension for his recent red card.
Of local interest was 24-year-old Sacramento defender Jason Gile, who went to high school at Redmond High.
Seattle rookie midfielder Shan Gaw forced a turnover in the Sacramento back line that turned into a through ball for Viet Nguyen, but goalkeeper Eric Landon got there almost at the same time as Nguyen to block the match's first good shot over the touch line for a throw-in.
10' Russell (Gaw). Gaw got the ball with a bit of time in the left side of the penalty area and sent a high, looping cross that seemed like it would give the defense plenty of time, but the ball came down to Russell unmarked 15 yards out from the far post and he chipped nicely over Landon and into the net for the match's first goal.
A minute later Russell was again unmarked at the same spot and had a chance from Scott Jenkins' cross from the left touch line, but Russell sent this one over the bar.
19-year-old midfielder Alexander Nouri, on loan from Germany's Werder Bremen and playing in his second match for the Sounders, was chopped down from behind in the 12th minute and had to be carried off, replaced by player/coach Peter Hattrup. Preliminary word from the locker room was that Nouri will be okay.
At 13' Sacramento captain Alejandro Cano earned Sacramento's first shot from 15 yards, set up by a short cross, but he missed the top right corner by a yard or two.
Up for a Seattle free kick, Sounder defender Jason Annicchero tried to beat the onrushing Landon with a header but missed the somewhat open goal. Seattle was holding the run of the play midway in the first half. After the Sounders offense worked the ball around just outside the penalty area, Sean Henderson tried from the 18 and just missed the top far corner. From Oliver Heald's corner kick, Craig Waibel headed wide. The previous match, Waibel had headed a corner kick in for a goal. Henderson beat a couple of players up the middle for a low shot but sent it wide.
33' Russell (Hattrup). Hattrup sent a diagonal ball from the left touch line past the defense, springing Russell. Russell saw Landon coming out and chipped over the keeper, the ball having a delightfully long hang time before dropping in perfectly just under the center of the cross bar. Russell had calibrated his boots nicely before this match!
The rest of the half saw but one good chance, for Sacramento, when Gile's cross gave Dario Fabian a shot from 20 yards. Fabian's attempt to chip Preston Burpo fooled nobody and Burpo comfortably caught the ball over his head.
Halftime: Seattle 2 - 0 Sacramento
The second half produced few chances at first. Sacramento's Art Temblador tested Burpo with a long shot, but Burpo easily saved. Russell got a bit of a chance from Gaw's cross, but couldn't get all of his head on the ball.
At 57' Seattle had three quick shots. First Henderson's shot from the right was deflected just wide. Heald's corner kick was headed on goal by Waibel but blocked away by Landon. The put-back shot was wide of goal.
Sacramento's Eric Farfan got a chance from a loose ball in the left side of the area but missed when he had time to take better aim.
From a loose ball in Sacramento's end at 67', Henderson got a 20-yard shot up the middle that was just wide of the left post. A minute later, he had an even better chance with a waist-high cross from Hattrup just ten yards out from goal. Henderson volleyed the cross on goal, but Landon made a reaction save and the rebound was cleared away by the defense. Annicchero came up for a Hattrup throw-in from the right side and put a shot at the near post, but Landon dove to block and the rebound was again cleared from danger.
A 20-yard Sacramento free kick in the 80th was struck hard on goal but blocked wide by Burpo. The resulting corner kick was cleared but shot back in by Darren Edge, just missing the top near corner.
Seattle had several chances in the last ten minutes for third goal. Gaw's cross from the right on a counterattack gave Russell a low shot from inside the penalty area, but Landon dove for a good save. A Seattle free kick was weakly cleared and Jenkins volleyed the ball on goal but saw it saved by Landon above his head. Russell's shot from 12 yards was pushed wide of the near post by a diving Landon, once again denying Russell a hat trick. With a minute left Gaw's through ball put Russell free for another chip attempt, driven just over the bar. The last chance came with 20 seconds left when Waibel's cross was headed just over by Annicchero.
Seattle had outshot Sacramento 15-4 in the second half, but the scoreboard never budged.
Final: Seattle 2 - 0 Sacramento
Shots: SEA 23, SAC 7
Saves: Burpo 3, Landon 9
Fouls: SEA 10, SAC 13
Offsides: SEA 2, SAC 1
Corner kicks: SEA 4, SAC 2
80' Heald (SEA) cautioned for tripping Cano
86' Barton (SEA) cautioned for a foul at the corner of the penalty area
88' Cano (SAC) cautioned for encroachment during a free kick
Referee: Kevin Boisen