Seattle Sounders 2 - 0 Orange
Memorial Stadium, Seattle
28 SEA - Sawatzky (AJ
56 SEA - Howes
Seattle: Bill May; Ali John Utush, Craig Waibel, Scott Jenkins, Kieran Barton, Tim Steidten; Dick McCormick, Andrew Gregor; Viet Nguyen, Greg Howes, Darren Sawatzky.
Orange County: Peter Van de Ven; Kenny Hesse, Matt Winecki (Michael Robles 82), Adam Cooper, Shawn Saunders; Colby Jackson, Jake Dancy, Danny Barber, Nick Theslof (Sheldon Thomas 66); Jason Boyce, Steve Patterson.
The Seattle Sounders extended their win streak to seven with a 2-0 defeat of the visiting Orange County Waves. Darren Sawatzky scored first to take the lead in the A-League scoring race. Then rookie Greg Howes recaptured the league scoring lead with a goal from a free kick in the second half. Bill May notched his seventh shutout of the year.
Coach Neil Megson again deployed the bold 5-2-3 lineup against Orange County's 4-4-2 and it paid dividends as the first goal was set up when sweeper Ali John Utush overlapped to send in a perfect cross from the right corner. The 5-2-3 produces attacks that are great fun to watch. Seattle outshot Orange County 19-9 this match.
The Sounders' kickoff play produced a nice crossing opportunity for Sawatzky from the right corner, but a defender headed the cross out for a corner kick that was caught by goalkeeper and ex-Husky Peter Van de Ven. Seattle had all the shots for the first half hour. Viet Nguyen's short, near-post cross was met by Dick McCormick, sliding in feet first, but a defender was there to block the shot wide for a corner. In the 8th minute a far-post cross gave Nguyen a close shot that was blocked by Van de Ven, and defender Tim Steidten was inside the goal area to put the rebound on goal, but a defender on the line headed the ball away.
After 18 minutes with no good chances for anybody, Nguyen worked the ball through a maze of defenders to give McCormick a good shot from the arc that was inches over the bar.
28' Sawatzky (AJ Utush). AJ Utush was up on the overlap and his first cross from the right was rejected, then passed back to him. Unmarked, Utush carried the ball to the edge of the penalty area 6 yards from the bye line and whipped in a chest-high, square cross that bent away from goal. Sawatzky ran straight up the middle and volleyed the ball home with his right foot from 8 yards. Seattle 1-0, and Sawatzky temporarily passed Howes for the league scoring lead.
Another ex-Husky, Jason Boyce, took Orange County's first shot of the match in the 30th, a blast from the arc that curled away from the top left corner. The Waves continued to earn shots after that. Steve Patterson's 20-yarder from a cross was right to goalkeeper May. Boyce had half a chance with a header from 15 yards, but he couldn't reach enough of the ball. Colby Jackson tried from 20 on the right and May watched it wide of the near post.
For Seattle, Nguyen and Van de Ven met chasing a through ball and Van de Ven blocked Nguyen's shot, then retreated to collect the loose rebound before Nguyen could get to it. After Steidten's header attempt earned a corner, he got his head on Nguyen's corner kick and hit the top of the crossbar from 8 yards.
In the final minute, Orange County earned a free kick 30 yards from goal but Jake Dancy missed by yards with his shot.
Halftime: Seattle 1 - 0 Orange County
Seattle had the first chances of the second half. From Nguyen's diagonal pass forward, Sawatzky redirected the ball on goal but Van de Ven kicked it clear. Seattle brought it right back and Nguyen's 20-yard shot from the right was snared by a collapsing Van de Ven.
56' Howes. After Andrew Gregor was tripped from behind by Jackson, Seattle set up a 35-yard free kick in front of the Orange County bench. Gregor ran over the ball and Howes took the shot, a Howitzer blast that cleared the wall and bent horizontal, going right above Van de Ven's head and glancing off the underside of the crossbar on the way in. The shot was in so quickly after clearing the wall that Van de Ven didn't have enough time to react and could only wave at it. Seattle 2-0, and Howes had retaken the league scoring lead.
The Waves kept up the fight as substitute Sheldon Thomas got free on the left in the 72nd and was served for a shot from 12 yards, but May advanced to make the sliding block for his best save.
A minute later, Sawatzky beat Van de Ven to a ball and chipped a high, looping cross over Van de Ven and was promptly flattened by the advancing goalkeeper. Referee Mohammed Zarrabi must have considered a penalty but allowed play to continue, and when the ball came down Nguyen tried a sideways, leaping volley amongst three defenders just 5 yards from goal. Nguyen's shot was blocked by a defender at the goal line.
At 80', Orange County was awarded a free kick from the 18-yard line and Boyce drilled it just over the top far corner.
The last 10 minutes saw chances only for Seattle. Howes fought off a defender to win a through ball and fire from 10 yards, but sent the shot just over the bar. On the left side, Scott Jenkins worked a wall pass with Sawatzky to earn a shot but he bent it away from the far post. From the right corner, Howes dropped for Kieran Barton inside the penalty area, but he didn't seem to be sure whether to shoot or cross and sent in a soft shot right to Van de Ven.
Final: Seattle 2 - 0 Orange County
Referee: Mohammed Zarrabi-Kashani; Asst. Ref: Jeff Jarvis, Cory Dean; 4th Official: Mark Matthews.