1999 May 8
Seattle Sounders 2 - 1 Vancouver Eighty-Sixers
Renton Memorial Stadium, Renton, WA
22 VAN: Thompson (Sulentic)
63 SEA: Russell (Baena)
81 SEA: Baena (Jenkins)
SEA: Preston Burpo; Bernie James, Craig Waibel, Randy Mann; Neil Megson (Peter Hattrup 45), Scott Jenkins, Kieran Barton (Jason Annicchero 73), Troya Cowell; Ian Russell, Viet Nguyen (Erik Storkson 45), Mark Baena.
VAN:  Didar Sandhu; Tom Hardy, Steve MacDonald (Dominic Mobilio 40), Jeff Skinner; Paul Dailly, Nico Berg, Chris Franks, Johnny Sulentic, Martin Nash; Niall Thompson, Eduardo Sebrango (Jason Jordan 68).

Match report by Ron Stickney:
Down 0-1 at the half after headed in a corner kick for Vancouver, the Seattle Sounders came back to win their home opener 2-1. Ian Russell leveled the score with a great individual effort, then Scott Jenkins' perfect cross from the left corner flag was finished with a spectacular flying header by Mark Baena. This was Seattle's first A-League match in their new home, Renton Memorial Stadium.
First Half
The first half was won by Vancouver as the 86ers outshot the Sounders 9-2. Early chances for Vancouver came when Chris Franks got around the defense on the right with the ball, but his shot hit the outside of the net. Vancouver's first corner kick was headed past the goal to Martin Nash, whose blast from close in on the left was parried away nicely by Preston Burpo after a sideways leap. Nash made it to the bye line on the right for a cross that gave Niall Thompson a fair shot from 18, but he was wide left.

Seattle's first shot came from a corner kick when Craig Waibel's strong header just missed the top far corner.

22' Thompson (Sulentic). Vancouver opened the scoring from John Sulentic's corner kick, which was headed in by Thompson. Burpo was caught going the wrong way and could only wave at the ball as it went in.

Sebrango got a chance 5 minutes later when a loose ball fell in front of him on the right, but he fired well off target.

In the Sounders' only other good chance of the half, Russell got around the defense on the right and blasted a chest-high cross that was deflected by goalkeeper Didar Sandhu right to Troya Cowell near the arc. Cowell's shot went over the bar.

In the 39th minute Steve MacDonald committed Vancouver's first foul when he pushed Kieran Barton down from behind as an air pass approached. Both players went down on the touch line and MacDonald got the worst of it, banging his head on the ground. Defender MacDonald bowed out of the match and was replaced by veteran striker Domenic Mobilio.
Halftime: Seattle 0 - 1 Vancouver
Seattle's attack didn't look very good in the first half, with a lot of air balls trying to find some short forwards. Neil Megson took himself out at the half in favor of a better dribbler, Peter Hattrup, and Viet Nguyen was replaced by Erik Storkson to put some height in the front line.

Vancouver picked up where they left off to open the half. The impressive youngster Sulentic was triple-teamed at the 18-yard line, but used a nice feint to get into the area with only Burpo to beat. The high shot was parried over the bar nicely by Burpo. Sebrango was put through on the right for a close shot, but Burpo dropped to the floor for the save and held it. Nash's low shot from 15 yards on the left just missed the near corner, but Burpo had it covered anyway with a skillful dive.

Finally Seattle put a shot on goal 9 minutes into the half, a 15-yard flick-on header by Storkson, but easily caught by Sandhu. Two minutes later Sandhu got confused by a white football line which was 3 yards in front of the yellow 18-yard line and almost grabbed a Sounders through pass, then at the last moment let it pass between his legs. Baena was charging hard and almost got to the loose ball in the area first, but Sandhu turned and dove for the ball just in time to prevent what would have been a cheap goal. Cowell kept the tide flowing in Seattle's direction when he made space for a 25-yard shot up the middle that gave Sandhu some trouble, but not too much.

63' Russell (Baena). A nice possession pass put Baena on the run from his own half up the left touch line. His cross to the top of the penalty area for Russell was deflected by a defender but still reached the target. Russell juked a defender and carried the ball along the edge of the area to enough space for a shot, then blasted the ball past Sandhu to even the score at 1-1.

Vancouver took back the initiative at 72'. Substitute Jason Jordan, on for Sebrango, dropped a pass from the penalty area for Paul Dailly, whose shot from the arc was just over the cross bar. Burpo got himself in trouble when he advanced too late and tried to punch an air ball away but couldn't clear it. The ball rattled around a bit inside the penalty area until Burpo, near the penalty spot, was able to swing his arm like a baseball bat and knock the ball over the end line for a corner kick. It wasn't pretty, but it worked.

Dailly and Sulentic worked a nice give and go to attack from the halfway line, ending with a Sulentic drop-cross from the end line and a shot by Dailly, but sent well wide.

81' Baena (Jenkins). The home crowd was electrified by the match winner. From his own half Russell rolled a fast-paced pass for Jenkins up the left touch line. Jenkins needed a burst of speed to touch the ball to keep it in as it reached the side line, then he beat a retreating defender to the ball just before it crossed the end line two yards from the corner flag. Jenkins hit a hard cross that curled perfectly and came down just in front of the goal area. Baena, sprinting at full speed, launched himself forward and was horizontal and chest-high when he met the ball with his head and shot it past Sandhu. It was a truely awesome flying header, and was the difference in the match.

Vancouver pressed hard for a tying goal in the final 8 minutes. Thompson's bicycle-kick lob was caught at the bar by Burpo to add to his collection of fine saves for the night, then Seattle's defense prevented any further good chances. Vancouver had outshot Seattle 10-5 in the second half, and 19-7 over the whole match, but Seattle had been just good enough to score one more than Vancouver.
Final: Seattle 2 - 1 Vancouver
Shots: SEA 7, VAN 19
Saves: Burpo 6, Sandhu 3
Corners: SEA 6, VAN  6
Fouls: SEA 16, VAN  4
Offside: SEA 1, VAN 1
55 Waibel (SEA) cautioned for taking down Sulentic just outside the penalty area
Referee: Sandy Hunt
Attendance: 3,778