New Orleans Storm 1 - 4 Seattle Sounders
Zephyr Field, Metairie, LA
28' NO: Adjanohoun (Veselka)
58' SEA: Russell (Barton)
63' SEA: Baena (Russell)
69' SEA: Baena
78' SEA: Baena (Storkson)
New Orleans: Stephen Hoogerwerf; Craig Gaunt (Jeff Samples 11), Eric Descombes, Robert Mikulski, Mark Allen (Ricardo Alcerro 69); Jason Russell, Cojy Adjanohoun, Stoner Tadlock, Andy Guastaferro; Chris Veselka, Patrick Beech.
Seattle: Preston Burpo; Bernie James (Erik Storkson 45), Jason
Annicchero, Randy Mann; Kieran Barton, Scott Jenkins (Craig Waibel 41),
Sean Henderson, Oliver Heald, Ralph Robertson; Ian Russell, Mark Baena.
The match featured the old and the new. On the pitch for New Orleans were Patrick Beech and Stoner Tadlock, who played for the Sounders last season. Seeing their first A-League action for the Sounders were Oliver Heald (Vancouver 86ers last season), whose visa finally cleared, and Sean Henderson (Colorado Rapids last season), who signed on this week.
Scott Jenkins, recovering from a broken foot, returned to the lineup but was knocked out of the match, literally, late in the first half when, from behind, New Orleans' Mark Allen slammed his forehead into the back of Jenkins' head. Play was stopped for 5 minutes while first Allen, then Jenkins, gradually regained their legs. Coach Neil Megson, who entered the field as the closest Seattle had to a trainer, was visibly upset that Allen was not disciplined for the sloppy and harmful challenge. Both players were seen in the second half with their heads bandaged.
A word of praise is in order for Chris Hester, who has gotten quite expert at calling the action for the radio broadcasts. Hester's fine work was hampered, though, by a sloppy production job, painfully rough at the beginning and end of the tape-delayed broadcast. The first minute on the air played the live feed of the final minute of play, spoiling the ending for the listeners who would have rather heard the match blinded to the final score.
Seattle generated the first good shot in the 6th minute when Henderson passed forward for Russell, who passed on ahead for Baena, whose shot was blocked by the defense. But about all the threats the Sounders would produce for nearly the entire balance of the half would be a few passes that Baena would almost get to first, but not quite.
New Orleans' first shot was a long free kick in the 13th minute, sent well wide. But the Storm would soon attack with more danger. Chris Veselka fed Beech for a 1 v 1 chance against goalkeeper Preston Burpo, and Beech's volley from the bounce was kicked away by Burpo with his leg. From a cross a few minutes later, Beech's 15-yard volley was saved by Burpo, as was the put-back shot from the rebound by Adjanohoun.
28' Adjanohoun (Veselka). New Orleans soon were on the board as Veselka crossed into the path of the charging Adjanohoun, who headed the ball past Burpo. NO 1 - 0 SEA.
3 minutes later Adjanohoun nearly had another when his 20-yarder through traffic beat Burpo, but Heald was there to clear the ball and prevent the goal.
At 41' Jenkins was taken out by the above-mentioned, nasty foul by Allen. Jenkins was done for the match, now hurting literally from head to toe, and Craig Waibel entered.
With 2 minutes left, Jason Russell had a couple of good chances for New Orleans. First he was set loose down the touch line and turned goalward for a shot as Burpo came out from his line, but the shot was just wide. Then J. Russell saw a promising shot hit the crossbar, with Bernie James clearing the rebound from danger.
With a minute left, Seattle finally mustered a good attack when Kieran Barton sent a long ball to Heald for a shot from inside the penalty area that was well saved by Stephen Hoogerwerf.
Halftime: New Orleans 1 - 0 Seattle
From the first-half action, and considering the heat and humidity, a comeback by the Sounders didn't seem the more likely outcome. But come back they did. Forward Erik Storkson came on for sweeper Bernie James to strengthen the attack. Early in the half the Sounders got a rare indirect free kick from just 7 yards out after Storkson was kicked in the head, or nearly kicked, while attempting to head the ball. The free-kick play produced a strong shot that was rejected by Hoogerwerf's chest, then Henderson's put-back of the rebound was deflected away by the wall.
Minutes later, the dirt portion of the pitch (a baseball infield) put too much bounce on Russell's chip over the defense, allowing Hoogerwerf to grab a ball that had Storkson's name on it.
58' Russell (Barton). Barton's throw-in took a high bounce on the dirt, bouncing over the crowd in the area and giving Russell an easy tap-in with the keeper astray. NO 1 - 1 SEA.
New Orleans soon had a couple of chances to regain the lead. Beech's cross/shot was punched clear by Burpo for a save. J. Russell hit the crossbar again with a 30-yard shot, with the rebound hitting Burpo's head and bouncing away.
63' Baena (Russell). Seattle soon had the lead. Storkson fed to Baena for a shot that was weakly taken and cleared, but Baena did better when Russell sent the ball back in, finishing with a header. NO 1 - 2 SEA.
69' Baena. On the restart after Ricardo Alcerro came on for the bandaged Allen, New Orleans fell asleep as a long ball from maybe Waibel (the announcer wasn't sure who) put Baena in alone against the keeper. Hoogerwerf saved Baena's first shot, but Baena put away the rebound. NO 1 - 3 SEA.
78' Baena (Storkson). Storkson's header from Heald's free kick was saved by a diving Hoogerwerf, but Baena was the only player to follow up the shot and he put away the rebound. Baena completed a hat trick within a 15-minute span! NO 1 - 4 SEA.
New Orleans pressed forward and earned some chances in the final 10 minutes. Burpo had to dive to save a surprise 40-yard shot. Tadlock's cross was just out of reach of the sliding Andy Guastaferro. A minute from time, Robert Mikulski tried to chip Burpo from 35 yards but was wide of goal.
Final: New Orleans 1 - 4 Seattle
The result was undoubtedly a relief for the Sounders, who had been struggling of late. They will move on to the second of 3 matches on this road trip, facing the Indiana Blast on Sunday, July 4. If you have to play on the 4th, I suppose the Blast are the obvious choice!
Shots: NO 18, SEA 14
Saves: Hoogerwerf 8; Burpo 5
Corners: NO 8, SEA 1
Fouls: NO 14, SEA 18
Offside: NO 0, SEA 3
23' Russell (SEA) cautioned for fouling Samples from behind
29' Beech (NO) cautioned for taking out Robertson's legs
38' Robertson (SEA) cautioned
Referee: Andrew Barnes