2002 Aug 14

Seattle Sounders  1 - 0  El Paso Patriots
Memorial Stadium, Seattle, WA

59' SEA - Ching (Sawatzky)

Seattle: Rich Cullen; Dick McCormick, Kieran Barton, Scott Jenkins; Nate Daligcon, Leighton O'Brien, Jason Farrell, Jason Boyce (Greg Foisie 82'), Viet Nguyen (Chad Brown 67'); Darren Sawatzky, Brian Ching.

El Paso: Fredy Estrada; Sidnei dos Santos, Carlos Martinez, Guillermo McFarlane; Dominic Schell, Edu Silva (Matt Stewart 84'), Renato DaGama, Jose Lomeli, Pablo Cabrera; Jose Abarca, Daniel Frias.

Match reports from the papers: Times, P-I, SCJ.

Match report by Ron Stickney:

This was an entertaining match, but there were way more cards than goals. The host Seattle Sounders won the important statistic, goals, by a margin of 1-0 over the El Paso Patriots on the strength of Brian Ching's second-half goal. El Paso had a big edge in cards at 8-1, one of them red in the 90th minute from a second caution. That makes five consecutive matches between El Paso and Seattle that have finished with fewer than 22 players on the pitch.

El Paso could easily have won this match, as some excellent chances hit woodwork or missed the target, leaving attackers holding their heads. The Sounders put just two shots on goal and one went in.

The win gave the Sounders the longest win streak in the A-League this season at 12.

Sitting this one out with a bruise was number one Sounders goalkeeper Preston Burpo. Rich Cullen got the start and combined with the left post for the shutout in goal. On the bad boys list and serving suspensions were Seattle's Andrew Gregor and Ryan Edwards and El Paso's Freddie Juarez.

Young referee Kevin Boisen had his hands full and this reporter thought he did a fine job. Maybe he called it a bit too tight in a few instances in the second half, but maybe he needed to for match control. The 90th minute melee deserved at least one more card, but we're not sure whether the referee crew saw all that we saw from our elevated vantage point.

First Half

Seattle outshot El Paso in the first half 6-5, but Seattle put none on goal while El Paso forced a save on all but one shot.

The first chance came in the 2nd minute when Seattle's Nate Daligcon popped the ball forward on the left for Ching, whose 15-yard attempt was high by a couple of yards.

El Paso's first chance came in the 13th when Jose Abarca cracked one from 25 yards, but goalkeeper Rich Cullen stepped sideways for the comfortable save. Dominic Schell saw Cullen a bit off his line and tried from 35, but Cullen quickly snapped back for the save. Schell beat Scott Jenkins on the right and crossed perfectly into the path of Daniel Frias at the spot, and with Cullen sliding out Frias whacked it a yard over the bar when he ought to have scored.

In the 32nd Seattle netted but had it called back due to offside. On the play, Jason Boyce crossed from the left touch line to the right post, and Daligcon headed it at the far post past goalkeeper Fredy Estrada, but Darren Sawatzky was offside when he redirected it in from a yard out. It looked like Daligcon's header would have been in if Sawatzky had left it alone, but it might have gone just barely wide.

The next minute should have seen El Paso take the lead. Jose Lomeli was sprung on the right side for a shot that ought to have been finished and he put a low shot past Cullen to the far side, where it hit the post and rebounded towards the center circle. Frias got the rebound with a defender between him and the goal, and again a goal seemed inevitable, but Frias hit the outside of the net wide of the near post.

For Seattle, Sawatzky was sprung on the right with a half chance under pressure but shot well wide of the far post. Jason Farrell tried a 35-yard shot up the middle and was a yard over the bar, but Estrada would have had it anyway.

For El Paso, Frias fought off one defender on the right side, then another, to earn a steep shot from 15 yards, which Cullen parried and then collected.

Last chance of the half came from a 25-yard Seattle free kick. Leighton O'Brien rolled it a couple of yards sideways for a Farrell trap, then O'Brien fired it just over the bar.

Halftime: Seattle 0 - 0 El Paso

Seattle saw another finished ball pulled out of El Paso's net in the 56th minute. O'Brien's free kick from wide left was deflected on to Ching by a defender, and Ching headed it in from 6 yards, but he was flagged offside on the play.

59' Ching (Sawatzky). Advantage was allowed as a Sounder attacker was tripped 25 yards from goal, with the ball finding its way to Sawatzky, who threaded a pass forward through the defense for Ching, who made space on the right and scored from 12 yards past Estrada. 1-0 Seattle.

An El Paso corner kick in the 65th was sent by Edu Silva past the crowd to Schell, who volleyed it two yards wide of the near post.

Seattle defender Kieran Barton sent a long diagonal ball in the air to Ching on the left, who volleyed from 15 yards and missed the top far corner by a half yard.

A good stretch for El Paso started in the 72nd when Silva was momentarily open in the Seattle area, but Jenkins recovered to poke a foot in and deflect the shot wide for a corner. Frias beat Barton to a high ball in the Seattle penalty area and ought to have scored, but he hit the top of the bar above the near corner. Lomeli was unmarked on the right to take a pass and after drawing the last defender he sent a square pass in front of DaGama on a run up the middle, and he rolled the shot a half yard wide of the right post, leaving Lomeli holding his head.

A nice counterattack by Seattle saw Sawatzky and O'Brien exchanging the ball until Sawatzky was in the area, from where he dropped a pass to O'Brien, who sent it out left for Ching, who missed the top far corner by a yard. In the 81st, an O'Brien shot from 25 yards forced Estrada's only save of the match, an easy one.

In the 87th, Farrell's 27-yard free kick was rejected right back to him, and his low shot was a yard wide of the far post.

It ws all over then except for more cards. Pablo Cabrera earned one in the 88th for what he said or did following an El Paso foul. Then in the 90th Cabrera deliberately knocked O'Brien over from behind to earn his second caution and a red. A crowd formed as several El Paso players tried to mix it up with Sounders players. In particular, Sidnei dos Santos came running in from the fringes and hit either O'Brien or Sawatzky in the side of the head. Dos Santos deserved a red for that, but he got away with it.

Final: Seattle 1 - 0 El Paso

        Seattle  El Paso
Shots:     14        7
Saves:      4        1
Corners:    2        2
Fouls:     16       26
Offsides:   3        4

9' EP - DaGama cautioned for tripping Nguyen as he was going around.
18' EP - Silva cautioned for kicking McCormick hard in the ankle.
32' EP - Abarca cautioned for what he said to the referee after an El Paso foul.
45' EP - dos Santos cautioned for tripping Ching 25 yards from goal.
86' EP and SEA - Martinez and Ching cautioned for an altercation.
88' EP - Cabrera cautioned for what he said or did after an El Paso foul.
90' EP - Cabrera cautioned for deliberately knocking O'Brien down from behind and sent off for his second caution.

Referees: Kevin Boisen; Mohammed Zarrabi-Kashani, David Simon; Jeff Hosking.
Attendance: 2,016