Seattle Sounders 0 - 0 Vancouver 86ers
Memorial Stadium, Seattle
Note: This match counts as an A-League match and as a US Open Cup qualifier.
Seattle: Preston Burpo; Ali John Utush, Kieran Barton, Craig Waibel; Dick McCormick, Andrew Gregor, Darren Sawatzky, Sean Henderson (Brian Wood 75); Viet Nguyen, Craig Tomlinson (Greg Howes 69), Erik Storkson (Rashid Utush 65).
Vancouver: Didar Sandhu; Steve McCauley, Rob Hall, Geordie Lyall, Jeff Skinner; Kevin Holness, Johnny Sulentic, Chris Franks (Tiarnan King 79), Alfredo Valente (Joe Scigliano 77); Dave Morris (Graeme Magowan 84), Jason Jordan.
In Seattle's home opener, the Sounders and the Vancouver 86ers battled through regulation time and 20 minutes of extra time, settling for the first scoreless draw in the history of the A-League. Both sides missed a penalty kick. Preston Burpo saved his second penalty kick in as many nights, diving to push Johnny Sulentic's PK wide. In extra time, Seattle's Andrew Gregor glanced his PK off the top of the crossbar.
This match doubled as a US Open Cup qualifier. The two-referee experimental system was used in this match as it is planned to be used in all USOC matches. The previous night's match, also a USOC qualifier, used the standard one-ref system.
From Vancouver's kickoff play Sulentic took a 25-yard shot just 15 seconds into the match, forcing a diving save at the near post by Burpo. Seattle soon had their first chance when Storkson received near the right corner of the penalty area, turned and shot, just over the top far corner. A minute later Viet Nguyen had a chance from 25 with 86er goalkeeper Didar Sandhu out, but Nguyen shot low allowing Sandhu to make a sliding block.
Vancouver had two more chances in the first 20 minutes before losing their offense. Sulentic's shot from the right missed the far post. Rob Hall tried a 40-yarder when nothing else was developing, missing by a mile.
Seattle then had all the good chances until the last couple of minutes of the half. Gregor tried two free kicks from the right edge of the penalty area, the first headed wide of the near post and the second just missing the top far corner. A ball crossed from the left to the other side of the goal led to close-in shots by Nguyen and Craig Tomlinson, but both shots were saved by Sandhu. A minute later Sandhu had to "save" a ball headed sharply at his goal by one of his defenders. Craig Waibel came forward and exchanged nice passes with Tomlinson, but Sandhu got to the last pass first. Sean Henderson's cross from the left was pulled off Storkson's foot by a diving Sandhu.
In the closing minutes of the half Vancouver finally found their offensive stride again. A ball was dropped for Dave Morris, whose sliding shot was wide of the far post. Sulentic tried a 30-yarder from the right but bent it the wrong way.
Halftime: Seattle 0 - 0 Vancouver
Seattle dominated the second half, as Vancouver could not manage a shot until a penalty kick in the 83rd minute.
It took 8 minutes for Seattle to take a shot, when Tomlinson laid the ball off for Henderson, whose shot was right to Sandhu's chest. Gregor beat a man on the right and crossed to Dick McCormick on the 6-yard line, and his hard shot at the roof was somehow caught by Sandhu. Midway in the half McCormick's 30-yard shot tried to dive under the bar but couldn't lose altitude in time. Gregor passed ahead to substitute Rashid Utush, who played a short ball to Darren Sawatzky, and Sawatzky beat two men to earn a shot but was wide of the far post.
By the 75th minute, Seattle had sent in three young players, R Utush, Greg Howes and Brian Wood. Vancouver then sent on three players from their reserve team, Joe Scigliano, Tiarnan King and Graeme Magowan.
At 82' AJ Utush, playing sweeper this match, got just enough of Jason Jordan's foot from behind to justify a whistle and a penalty kick. Jordan's back was to the goal at the time. Sulentic took the PK, shooting low to the right corner, but Burpo dove left and pushed the shot wide for a corner kick. It was a mirror image of the save Burpo had made of Vancouver's PK the previous evening at about the same stage of the match. The PK was Vancouver's first shot of the second half and their only good shot of the half.
Two minutes later McCormick was knocked down from behind at the right corner of the goal area while trying to get his head on a cross, but the opposite referee in the two-ref system refused to blow his whistle.
The final minute saw Wood win a ball in the penalty area to earn a shot from 12 yards with just the goalkeeper to beat, but Wood shot over the bar when he could have done better.
Regulation Time: Seattle 0 - 0 Vancouver
Twenty minutes of extra time gave Seattle a few more chances and just one for Vancouver. Howes worked a wall pass with R Utush on the left side and bent a cross past the goal mouth, but in front of a pair of onrushing teammates. Gregor's 40-yard free kick was a yard wide of the bottom right corner.
Sulentic tried a 25-yard shot up the middle but missed the top right corner.
R Utush worked a wall pass in the area and earned a shot from the arc, deflected just wide by a defender's foot.
At 108 minutes McCormick was again knocked down from behind, this time by Rob Hall, in the same place as before while trying to head a cross. This time the foul was too hard to ignore and Seattle had a golden opportunity to end the match with a PK. Andrew Gregor took the shot and Sandhu guessed the wrong direction, but the shot hit the top of the crossbar and went over.
Final: Seattle 0 - 0 Vancouver