2001 Aug 20

Seattle Sounders  2 - 5  Minnesota Thunder
Seattle Memorial Stadium, Seattle, WA

5' SEA - Henderson (Nguyen)
14' MIN - Woolfolk (Gentile)
15' MIN - Menyongar (Woolfolk)
29' MIN - Lagos (Schulte)
35' SEA - Barton (Farrell)
50' MIN - Zeba (Gramenz)
75' MIN - Woolfolk (Menyongar)

Seattle: Preston Burpo; Ali John Utush (Dylin Pillay 58'), Mike Casale, Ryan Edwards; Sean Henderson, Kieran Barton, Kei Kinoshita, Jason Farrell; Viet Nguyen, Rees Bettinger (Erik Storkson 68'), Rashid Utush (Craig Tomlinson 45').

Minnesota: John Swallen; Chris Gores, Mark Schulte, Eric Otto; Mike Gentile, Steve Armas, Johnny Menyongar (Aaron Leventhal 77'), Morgan Zeba, Don Gramenz; Gerard Lagos, Corey Woolfolk.

Match report by Ron Stickney:

The Seattle Sounders conceded their worst ever APSL/A-League home loss, as the Minnesota Thunder scored five goals to Seattle's two. Seattle took an early lead with Sean Henderson's first goal of the year, but Minnesota soon answered with goals by Corey Woolfolk, Johnny Menyongar and Gerard Lagos. Kieran Barton's first goal of the year pulled Seattle to within a goal at the break. Minnesota won the second half as well, as Morgan Zeba's goal was seconded by another from Woolfolk.

Sitting out the match due to yellow card accumulation were Scott Jenkins and Leighton O'Brien. O'Brien will sit out the next match as well, having exceeded the second threshold for yellow card points. Seeing their first action for the Sounders this season were Rashid Utush and Erik Storkson, both re-signed a couple of weeks ago. Playing in his first home match as a Sounder was South African Dylin Pillay.

First Half

The Sounders looked good for the first 13 minutes. The opening minute saw newcomer Rashid Utush, brother of sweeper AJ Utush, head a few yards wide of the far post from a nice cross from Rees Bettinger.

5' Henderson (Nguyen). Seattle scored on the second shot of the match. Viet Nguyen won a ball sent into the left corner and crossed for Henderson 7 yards out from the far post. Henderson was unmarked to head back across the goal and into the top left corner. 1-0 Seattle.

Bettinger had the next two chances, rattling the scoreboard from 20 yards and then bending an 18-yard shot a yard wide of the top left corner after Nguyen stole a ball to set Bettinger up. Then Minnesota took control of the match.

14' Woolfolk (Gentile). From a left-side corner kick, Steve Armas dropped a 45-degree roller for Mike Gentile, open above the top corner of the penalty area. Gentile fired a rocket at the top near corner and goalkeeper Preston Burpo was able to parry it up onto the crossbar, but the rebound fell near the opposite post and Woolfolk was there all alone to finish into the open net from a yard. 1-1.

15' Menyongar (Woolfolk). Play was barely resumed when Minnesota struck again. Attacking on the left side, Woolfolk passed to a charging Menyongar, who fired another rocket at the top near corner from the 18 and this time Burpo couldn't reach it. The shot glanced off the crossbar and deflected down to the floor at the back of the net. 1-2 Minnesota.

Menyongar had the next good chance in the 23rd minute, but his 20-yarder up the middle was an easy save for Burpo. On Seattle's counterattack, Jason Farrell's 15-yard header was struck hard at the lower corner but John Swallen dove for a skillful save.

29' Lagos (Schulte). Mark Schulte's throw-in from the left side went to Lagos 10 yards out from the near post. A defender in front of Lagos and a defender behind him jumped too early, and Lagos easily got his head on the ball to flick it just inside the far post before Burpo could traverse the goal mouth. 1-3 Minnesota.

35' Barton (Farrell). From in front of the Minnesota bench, Farrell sent a diagonal ball over the defense for Barton on the opposite touch line. Barton broke on the pass and Minnesota's back line stayed put, allowing Barton to go in all alone. From outside the top right corner of the penalty area, Barton's quick chip shot went over the charging Swallen and into the center of the vacant goal. 2-3 Minnesota.

Halftime: Seattle 2 - 3 Minnesota

Minnesota picked up where they left off at the start of the second half. The first chance was for Don Gramenz, inside the area on the left, and his shot megged a defender but Burpo was well positioned for an easy save.

50' Zeba (Gramenz). Gramenz' long cross from in front of his bench attracted two defenders, who both rose and missed the ball. This left Zeba all alone on the right to trap the ball and shoot from 10 yards, and he beat Burpo with a shot to the lower far corner. 2-4 Minnesota.

Seattle's Craig Tomlinson, on at the break for R Utush, chased down a ball sent into the right corner, then made space for a diagonal drop-cross to Henderson at the arc, and Henderson's shot missed the top left corner by a half yard.

For Minnesota, Gramenz tried from 20 on the left and missed the near post by a yard.

Seattle had a series of good chances over 5 minutes starting at 63'. Kei Kinoshita's shot from wide left was touched over the bar by Swallen. Nguyen's free kick from near the left flag was on goal but parried wide by Swallen for a corner. Nguyen's corner kick from the right was flicked across the goal mouth by substitute Pillay at the near post, giving Kinoshita an open header from 6 yards with a large target area, but the shot cleared the bar when it ought to have been nodded down.

75' Woolfolk (Menyongar). On a Minnesota attack, Menyongar served a ball to Woolfolk, centered on the 18-yard line. Woolfolk broke to goal and muscled free of his marker to earn a shot, and he put a low ball past Burpo to the far side. 2-5 Minnesota.

Two minutes later, Schulte took a Minnesota free kick from 33 yards and blasted it on goal, inches off the ground, forcing Burpo to collapse to grab the shot for a fine save.

Seattle's last good shots came after Minnesota sub Aaron Leventhal was cautioned for knocking Tomlinson down at the 18 when the speedster looked like he was going to be first to a through ball. Farrell's 18-yard free kick was aimed just under the bar, but Swallen did well to parry it sideways and out for a corner. Nguyen's corner kick was headed just wide at the far post by Kinoshita.

The last few minutes saw close-in chances for Lagos and Woolfolk of the Thunder, but Burpo denied them both. Seattle's final shots were taken by Tomlinson (a pair), Mike Casale and Kinoshita, but none of them were close.

Final: Seattle 2 - 5 Minnesota

After their worst ever home loss, the Sounders have a 4-match losing streak and appear to be sliding out of playoff contention for the first time in their APSL/A-League history.

        Seattle  Minnesota
Shots:     18       13
Saves:      6        4
Corners:    8        2
Fouls:     17       14
Offsides:   1        4

73' SEA - Pillay cautioned for knocking down a defender near the halfway line.
78' SEA - Barton cautioned for pulling Armas down near the top left corner of the penalty area.
80' MIN - Leventhal cautioned for knocking Tomlinson down to prevent him from reaching a through ball at the 18.
82' MIN - Gramenz cautioned for holding Tomlinson in front of the Sounders bench.

Referee: Mohammed Zarrabi-Kashani; Asst Refs: Kevin Boisen, Mikhail Alnajjar; 4th: Fred Mabbott.
Attendance: 1,925