2002 Jul 28

Seattle Sounders 4 - 1 Vancouver Whitecaps
Seahawks Stadium, Seattle, WA

23' SEA - Gregor (Ching)
40' SEA - O'Brien (PK)
56' VAN - Morris (Clarke)
72' SEA - Gregor (Nguyen)
78' SEA - Nguyen (Ching)

Seattle: Preston Burpo; Kieran Barton, Scott Jenkins, Ryan Edwards (Zach Scott 85'); Nate Daligcon (Chad Brown 83'), Jason Farrell (Jason Boyce 75'), Andrew Gregor, Viet Nguyen, Leighton O'Brien; Darren Sawatzky (Craig Tomlinson 83'), Brian Ching (Kyle Smith 79').

Vancouver: Alex Marques; Spencer Coppin, Geordie Lyall, Kevan Cameron; Jeff Clarke, Tiarnan King, Nico Craveiro, Alfredo Valente; Steve Kindel, Dave Morris, Niall Thompson.

Additional match reports: Seattle Times, Seattle P-I, Tacoma News Tribune, South County Journal, Whitecaps.

Two reports from Portland Timbers fan (and Seahawks fan) Allison Andrews showcase her amazing photography skills: match report and stadium opening day report. Somehow, Allison just knows when to click the shutter. She captured the opening goal, Vancouver's goal, and two yellow cards being earned. Many of the photos can be enlarged by clicking on them. Thanks, Allison!

And Loretta sent in some nice Pod pics.

Match report by Ron Stickney:

The Sounders club had the honor of opening the new Seahawks Stadium and they sent local fans home happy with wins by the Sounders Select Women and then the Sounders men. The Select Women scored early and late to beat the Vancouver Breakers 4-3 after extra time. The men defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 4-1.

For the men, Andrew Gregor scored the historic first pro goal from Brian Ching's nice cross. Leighton O'Brien added a goal from a penalty kick for a 2-0 halftime lead. Vancouver's Dave Morris headed in a corner kick to make it close. Then Gregor's second goal and a final goal by Viet Nguyen made the final margin for the Sounders.

It was incredible seeing 25,515 on hand to watch the Sounders, about ten times what they normally draw at Memorial Stadium. Seahawks Stadium was wonderful, of course. A 70 x 110 yard FieldTurf (plastic grass) pitch with only soccer lines on it. While standing in a short line to get a beer, I looked around the large room and counted twenty video monitors, all showing backup Sounders goalkeeper Rich Cullen fielding practice shots. A big screen showed replays of the goals.

Getting the honors for the referee crew were four from Washington: Sandy Hunt in the middle, Mohammed Zarrabi-Kashani and Mac Pinski on the lines, and young Kevin Boisen as the fourth. Hunt did an excellent job as we have come to expect, using the yellow card appropriately to keep play civil. Two penalty kicks were deserved, and she promptly called them both.

The Whitecaps played the whole match with no substitutions, having nobody on the bench fit enough to play after planned starter Andrew Veer was injured during warm-ups. The Sounders used all five substitutions to get as many players as they could into the historic match.

First Half

Vancouver's Morris got the first shot of the match in the 4th minute when O'Brien tried to control a ball at the arc rather than clear it, and with Burpo out near the 18 the net was unguarded, but the shot rolled harmlessly a yard wide.

Jason Farrell was cautioned on Seattle's first foul in the 7th, as referee Hunt sent an early message to all players.

Tiarnan King tried for Vancouver from 20 yards on the right, but sent it a yard over the top near corner.

Seattle's first shot came in the 12th when Nate Daligcon was fed just inside the 18-yard line by Nguyen, and a defender deflected the shot out for a corner. From the busted corner kick play, Gregor crossed for a Ryan Edwards header from 12 yards, sent a yard over the bar. In the 17th Nguyen tripped over a defender just inside the area while trying to round him, but it didn't warrant a PK in spite of the appeal from the crowd. In the 22nd Gregor from his own half put Darren Sawatzky past his marker on the right, but the low shot/cross missed the far post by a yard.

23' Gregor (Ching). A long ball was served to Ching, who then had two men to beat. Ching went to the right to get open, then sent a quick cross to the center of the 6-yard line, and Gregor got to it just before goalkeeper Marques to score with the foot. 1-0 Seattle.

Vancouver's Alfredo Valente was soon open on the left for a pass, and his 18-yard shot forced a diving save by Preston Burpo at the near post.

For the Sounders, O'Brien shot from the arc on a corner kick play, forcing Marques to dive and knock it high and wide with his arm.

The 29th minute saw the first wave in the new stadium, and it went full circle a few times.

Shots continued to alternate between the sides. Vancouver's Geordie Lyall shot up the middle from 25, and Burpo comfortably saved. Ching was fed in the arc for a shot that went two yards wide right. Jeff Clarke was yards high from 25.

40' O'Brien (PK). Seattle's Scott Jenkins was up for a throw-in, and he was fed near the spot by Farrell. Jenkins was tripped or knocked down from behind and fell flat on his face. After hesitating to see if Ching might get a shot from the loose ball, Hunt sprinted in and pointed to the spot when Ching was tripped. O'Brien put the penalty kick away into the top right corner. 2-0 Seattle.

The final minute plus saw a chance each way. First Gregor was sprung by a Sawatzky pass, and his curling shot from 15 yards on the left was slightly deflected by Marques' hands, but a goal kick was awarded in spite of Gregor's legitimate appeal for a corner. For Vancouver, Morris was fed 6 yards out from the far post for a shot, but he struck it just over the bar.

Halftime: Seattle 2 - 0 Vancouver

At halftime, local soccer greats were honored in the center circle. Most of them had ties to the NASL Sounders. Introduced with reminders of their career highlights were Kevin Jones, Cliff McCrath, Dean Wurzberger, Peter Fewing, Wade Webber, Billy Crook, Chance Fry, Neil Megson, Jeff Stock, Jimmy McAlister, Marc Peterson, Tommy Jenkins, Dave Gillette, Frank Barton, Pepe Fernandez, Robbie Zipp, Jim Gabriel, Bobby Howe, Alan Hinton, John Best, and current head coach Brian Schmetzer.

The second half started slowly, with each side receiving a caution. Then Vancouver struck to make it a close match.

56' Morris (Clarke). Clarke's corner kick from the right found the head of a loosely marked Morris 4 yards out from the near post, and Morris headed it past Burpo to the far side. 2-1 Seattle.

The Sounders didn't get off a shot in the second half until the 66th minute, when O'Brien sent a 25-yard free kick too high. Then Seattle became more productive. Nguyen fed Gregor for a near-post try from 18, saved by Marques. Ching was fed near the spot and dropped to Sawatzky in the arc for a shot, and Marques made a great diving save at the lower far corner to knock it out for a corner.

Vancouver's last shot came in the 71st when a tightly marked Morris managed to get a touch on a centered ball, and Burpo could only knock it wide with a one-handed save. Burpo, Morris, and a defender chased after the loose ball, and Burpo won the race and dove on the ball.

72' Gregor (Nguyen). O'Brien sprung Ching from near the halfway line. Ching carried the ball into the right side of the penalty area, held it waiting for reinforcements, and crossed square to the far post. Nguyen trapped the ball and it fell nicely for Gregor, who from 12 yards fired past Marques to the far side. 3-1 Seattle.

78' Nguyen (Ching). From the left, Sawatzky carried the ball in close to the near post and ran into a road block. Sawatzky dropped it up to Ching, who sent it towards the center of the 6-yard line, where Nguyen was posted to redirect the ball past Marques to the near side. 4-1 Seattle. Nguyen's goal celebration was unusual, as he pulled off his shirt, jumped up onto Edwards for a piggy-back ride, and whipped Edwards' flank with the shirt.

Seattle were awarded another penalty kick in the 89th when O'Brien's pass put substitute Craig Tomlinson in alone from the arc. Tomlinson sent the ball past the charging Marques to the left, and the goalkeeper slid into Tomlinson's path and tripped the attacker. A PK was awarded, and sweeper Kieran Barton stepped up to take it. The low shot to the right was too close to Marques, who collapsed to block it for the save. Seattle sub Chad Brown had the last shot of the match, firing low to the far post from the right end of the arc, but a defender at the post cleared the well-struck shot just before it reached the goal line.

Final: Seattle 4 - 1 Vancouver

        Seattle  Vancouver
Shots:      19       9
Saves:       4       6
Corners:     5       3
Fouls:      13      18
Offsides:    0       1

7' SEA - Farrell cautioned on Seattle's first foul, near the center circle.
10' VAN - N. Craveiro cautioned.
32' SEA - Sawatzky cautioned for taking Lyall down near the circle.
49' VAN - Cameron cautioned for knocking Ching down from behind at the circle.
53' SEA - Gregor cautioned for tripping Kindel near the circle.

Referee: Sandy Hunt; Mohammed Zarrabi-Kashani, Mac Pinski; Kevin Boisen
Attendance: 25,515 (A-League record by a large margin)