2003 Aug31

Seattle Sounders  3 - 2  El Paso Patriots
Seahawks Stadium, Seattle, WA

52' EP - Martinez
52' SEA - Callahan

67' EP - Andrade
85' SEA - Levesque (Tomlinson)
90' SEA - Levesque (Callahan)

Seattle: Preston Burpo; Zach Scott, Scott Jenkins, Kevin Sakuda (Roger Levesque 76'); Sean Henderson (Craig Tomlinson 81'), Chad Brown, Andrew Gregor, Sean-Michael Callahan, Darren Sawatzky (Marco Velez 65'); Herculez Gomez, Kyle Smith. Substitutes not used: Rich Cullen, Shawn Percell, Matt Hulen, Ben Somoza.

El Paso: Scott Alexander; Sidnei Dos Santos (Ahmed Figueroa 71'), Guillermo McFarlane, Junro Narita, Carlos Martinez (Jose Abarca 57'); Santiago Pinedo, Mario Garcia, Javier Carrazco, Hamlet Diaz; Mike Griego (Victor Arreola 79'), Laurenco Andrade. Substitutes not used: Omar Mora, Daniel Castaneda.

Match report by Ron Stickney:

In the final match of the A-League 2003 regular season, the Seattle Sounders claimed first place in the Pacific Division with a 3-2 win over the visiting El Paso Patriots. The Sounders finished the regular season with a 16-5-7 (W-D-L) record, good for 53 points, one point more than the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Sounders and the Whitecaps face each other next weekend in a home and home playoff series.

The Sounders had to come from behind to win this match. After a scoreless first half, El Paso tallied first with Carlos Martinez' 20-yard free kick. Within a minute, Sean-Michael Callahan evened things up with an unassisted goal. El Paso went back up when Seattle goalkeeper Preston Burpo tried to clear a back pass and kicked it right into the charging Laurenco Andrade, the ball ricocheting into the net. Roger Levesque scored his first two professional goals to give the Sounders the win, tying it in the 85th minute and putting the Sounders on top just into added time.

The Sounders played without a number of regulars. Joining Danny Jackson and Alex Bengard on the injured list were Viet Nguyen (sprained ankle) and Jason Farrell (possible stress fracture in the right tibia). Ryan Edwards served a suspension for yellow card accumulation.

First Half

Seattle threatened in the opening minute. From the kickoff play, Kevin Sakuda ran the ball up the right touch line to the corner and crossed it past the far post, where a defender dove to head it out for a corner. Andrew Gregor took the corner kick and sent it to the near edge of the goal area where Darren Sawatzky flicked it on with his head, and goalkeeper Scott Alexander palmed it wide of the top far corner for a save.

For the next 20 minutes, even though the Sounders were pushing backs up at every opportunity, the Patriots had the scoring chances. Hamlet Diaz was served square from a free kick and made space for a 25-yard shot, low to Burpo for a save. Mike Griego was sprung into the left side of the penalty area and shot from 15 before defenders could get there, but Burpo slid for a block two-thirds of the way out from goal, and the rebound went to a Sounders defender. Javier Carrazco at the penalty spot flicked on a long free kick with his head, but it flashed wide of the far post. Burpo slid out to snare a dangerous cross and paid a price as defender Scott Jenkins, then attacker Griego ran into the keeper.

Midway in the half the Sounders finally got close. Kyle Smith had the ball dropped to him from the end line and turned and fired from 15, but sent it two yards too high. Gregor from wide left bent a hard shot just over the top near corner. In the 35th Gregor's cross past the far post gave Zach Scott a towering header that Alexander caught at the goal line.

The last chance of the half was El Paso's in the 35th when an attacker made it through the middle of the defense with only Burpo to beat from 15 yards, but Burpo was there sliding to stuff the shot.

Halftime: Seattle 0 - 0 El Paso

52' Martinez. Scott's errant attempt to trap the ball at the top of the arc caused the ball to deflect up into his outstretched arm. It wasn't deliberate handling, but it wasn't a skillful trap either. The whistle blew, and Martinez sent the free kick inside the right post beyond Burpo's reach. 1-0 El Paso.

52' Callahan. Within the same minute, a Sounders aerial cross from the right side into the goal area was flicked wide by a defender, and Callahan claimed the leftovers at the left edge of the penalty area. Callahan cut towards the arc and had space for a shot from 15 yards wide left, and he put it low past Alexander and in off the base of the far post. Even at 1-1.

The momentum bounced back El Paso's way. Griego with the ball held off Jenkins in the right side of the Sounders area, then fired a worm burner that skidded between the far post and Andrade on the run, a yard from each.

67' Andrade. To the left of the Sounders goal, Burpo unwisely tried to clear a back pass with Andrade running in, and the ball ricocheted off Andrade and shot straight into the net. 2-1 El Paso.

Seattle brought in Marco Velez for Sawatzky, the first of three Seattle substitutions, and all three would help the cause. Smith's short through ball in the 71st put Velez free into the penalty area with only Alexander to beat, and the keeper slid out to block Velez' first shot, then got back up to push Velez' chip shot from the rebound wide. A Gregor corner kick from the left was headed hard on goal by Jenkins, and Alexander did well to catch the ball at his feet, falling on the ball on the line.

In the 75th Seattle were hoping for a penalty kick when Herculez Gomez was knocked over from behind dribbling along the end line towards goal, but referee Dinesh Singh wouldn't award the PK.

Andrade took El Paso's last good shot in the 77th, a quick 20-yarder from the left side that forced a sprawling Burpo to push it wide for a corner.

With Levesque just on for Sakuda and Craig Tomlinson soon to enter for Sean Henderson, the Sounders turned up the heat. Chad Brown made space on the left in the 78th for a cross to Smith on a timed run, and Smith's header from 6 yards was barely wide of the near post. Gomez tried up the middle from 35, but Alexander was home for an easy save.

Levesque (Tomlinson). A couple of minutes after entering, Tomlinson stole the ball at the halfway line and turned towards goal. 35 yards from goal, after running between two defenders and drawing another,Tomlinson was tripped from behind but managed to get off a pass for Levesque now wide open on the left. Advantage was wisely allowed by Singh, and Levesque was into the penalty area with only Alexander to beat. From 10 yards on the left, Levesque shot low under Alexander as the keeper started to collapse. 2-2.

Seattle kept up the offensive pressure. Smith slid feet first to volley Gregor's free kick on goal, and Alexander blocked the shot. A loose ball in front of goal was headed down at the far post, but Junro Narita was there to clear the ball from the goal line.

90' Levesque (Callahan). A throw-in was sent back to Velez on the right touch line. Velez passed square to Callahan, who cut to the middle and bent a shot at the far post from 25 yards. Halfway there Levesque slightly deflected the ball with his head and the ball went inside the far post out of the reach of Alexander. 3-2 Seattle.

The Patriots were not happy about the goal, apparently believing that goal scorer Levesque was offside. After many words to referee Singh, Jose Abarca was shown the red card, undoubtedly for his choice of words.

After another two minutes of added time, the final whistle blew and the Sounders had won one late. After the final whistle, another complaining Patriot was reportedly shown the red card.

Final: Seattle 3 - 2 El Paso

         Seattle   El Paso
Shots:      15        11
Saves:       6         8
Corners:    14         2
Fouls:      15        23
Offsides:    6         1

14' EP - Carrazco cautioned for taking out an opponents legs near the left touch line.
70' EP - Garcia cautioned for sliding under Callahan near the left corner.
73' EP - Pinedo cautioned for tripping Gregor from behind 35 yards from goal.
82' EP - Martinez cautioned for delaying the restart on a free kick.
86' SEA - Brown cautioned after a delay for kicking an opponent in the legs, advantage being allowed at the time.
90' EP - Abarca sent off for what he said to the referee complaining about the final goal.
90+ EP - Figueroa sent off for complaining to one assistant referee and chest-bumping the other as they left the pitch after the match.

Referees: Dinesh Singh; David Rowe, Josh Wilkins; Calin Znamirovschi.
Attendance: 3,998