Seattle Sounders 1 - 0 Minnesota Thunder
Seattle Memorial Stadium, Seattle, WA
31' SEA - Bettinger (Ching)
Seattle: Preston Burpo; Kieran Barton, Scott Jenkins, Ryan Edwards; Sean Henderson, Leighton O'Brien, Kei Kinoshita, Jason Farrell; Viet Nguyen, Rees Bettinger (Craig Tomlinson 76'), Brian Ching.
Minnesota: Joe Warren; John Coughlin (Kirk
Miller 79'), Eric Otto, Chris Gores, Mark Schulte; Morgan Zeba, Matt Schmidt,
Mike Gentile, Stoian Mladenov; Amos Magee, Shawn Kroener (Gerard Lagos
The Seattle Sounders won 1-0 to give the Minnesota Thunder their third loss in five nights on their road trip through the Pacific Northwest. Rookie Rees Bettinger scored his first A-League goal, set up by MLS rookie Brian Ching, who was on loan from the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Early on, Seattle's Jason Farrell intercepted an errant back pass in Minnesota's defense to create the first chance, but with more time than he realized Farrell rushed the cross and played it out. Minnesota would turn the ball over like that in their defensive end several more times during the match.
The first good chance came midway in the half when Bettinger fought off a hold near the circle and eluded defenders to get into the penalty area for a 15-yard shot from the left, but goalkeeper Joe Warren stretched to push the ball wide with one hand. Leighton O'Brien loves to take free kicks near goal, but he missed his 30-yarder in the 24th by 2 yards.
Minnesota's first strong effort came in the 25th when Mike Gentile fired a 25-yard shot from a cleared cross, but right at goalkeeper Preston Burpo.
31' Bettinger (Ching). Ching fought off a challenge as he entered the penalty area from the left edge. Traveling towards goal, Ching's rolling pass was angled away from goal for Bettinger, whose first touch sent the ball accurately to the inside base of the far post. A nice goal for Bettinger's first A-League goal, it was also the first goal by a Sounders forward in a league match this season. 1-0 Seattle.
After a series of passes on a Seattle attack, Farrell got free for a 15-yarder from the right that was shot hard, but caught at the shoulder by Warren.
Minnesota's Stoian Mladenov outmaneuvered his marker to head a long service on goal from 6 yards, but he couldn't get much velocity on the shot and Burpo was well-positioned for the save.
Farrell chested down O'Brien's long free kick and fired from 20, forcing a good save by Warren.
In the final minute, Minnesota's Shawn Kroener got a step on his marker to fire from 25, but a yard over the bar.
Halftime: Seattle 1 - 0 Minnesota
The second half gave chances to both sides, but neither would finish one. Seattle first, as O'Brien's 20-yarder from a dropped pass was just an inch wide of the bottom near corner. Ching was sprung from the halfway line and from 20 chipped deftly over the charging Warren, but the ball landed on the top of the net.
Minnesota's turn in the 55th, as Morgan Zeba fired in a cleared corner kick from 25 yards, through the crowd. Burpo, initially screened on the shot, dove forward to block the blast, then scrambled on his hands and knees to pull in the loose ball. Gerard Lagos came on for Kroener at 58' and soon had a shot, a 20-yarder from the left that caught Burpo leaning the wrong way but missed the far post.
Back to Seattle in the 71st when Viet Nguyen took a quick free kick close to the penalty area and Kei Kinoshita chest-trapped and volleyed a nice shot at the lower near corner, but Warren made it there for the catch. The speedster Craig Tomlinson came on for Seattle's Bettinger in the 81st and Ching let him race from the halfway line to a through ball; at full speed forward Tomlinson tried to bend a shot around the advancing Warren but shot wide of the post.
At 82' a service into the area was headed towards goal by Ching. Kinoshita just beat Warren to the ball 5 yards from the near post, and Warren stopped the first poke at goal but the second got by, only to be chest-blocked at the line by Chris Gores. Seattle's last try came at 85' when Nguyen blistered the ball, forcing Warren to take the sting out of it before pulling it in.
The 86th minute found Amos Magee open for a pass on the left but his shot from the 18-yard line missed badly when he ought to have done better, and Magee froze in frustration for 10 seconds. The 90th gave Minnesota one last chance with a 30-yard free kick, taken by Mark Schulte, a rocket but an inch over the bar.
Final: Seattle 1 - 0 Minnesota
Shots: 14 12
Saves: 4 7
Corners: 3 2
Fouls: 15 15
Offsides: 4 2
Referee: Dean Ajir; Asst Refs: Mohammed Zarrabi-Kashani, Doug Pinski;
4th: Steve Brannon