2004 Sep 10

Playoffs, Western Conference Championship Series, 1st leg:
Seattle Sounders 1 - 0 Vancouver Whitecaps
Qwest Field, Seattle, WA

57' SEA - Bolaņos (Jackson)

Seattle: Preston Burpo; Danny Jackson, Ryan Edwards, Zach Scott, Billy Sleeth (Marco Velez 77'); Kevin Sakuda, Jason Farrell, Ben Somoza (Chad Brown 71'), Jonathan Bolaņos; Roger Levesque, Welton (Darren Sawatzky 86'). Substitutes not used: Danny Waltman, Craig Tomlinson, Sean-Michael Callahan, Scott Jenkins.

Vancouver: Mike Franks; Nick Dasovic, Geordie Lyall, Justin Thompson; Martin Nash, Oliver Heald, Steve Kindel, Dave Morris (Alfredo Valente 78'), Carlo Corrazin; Dave Xausa (Johnny Sulentic 66'), Jason Jordan (Winston Griffiths 77'). Substitutes not used: Alex Marques, Jeremie Piette, Nico Craveiro, Kevin Harmse.

Additional match reports: Seattle Times, Seattle P-I, King County Journal, Sounders.

Match report by Ron Stickney:

The Seattle Sounders took a 1-0 lead over the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps in the first leg of the Western Conference Championship Series. An impressive bicycle-kick goal by Jonathan Bolaņos was the difference. The second leg will be played at Vancouver at 7:00 this Sunday.

Both sides appeared to be at full strength, with injured lists and suspended lists empty. The Sounders used the same starting lineup as they had their previous match against Portland.

First Half

Seattle had a few early chances but didn't come close. Roger Levesque's first header in the 12th minute was well over the bar, and his next a few minutes later bounced easily to goalkeeper Mike Franks' grasp.

Carlo Corrazin took Vancouver's first shot from 15 yards in the 17th but sent it a few yards wide. Nick Dasovic headed the match's first corner kick well over the bar from in close. Dave Xausa tried from 30 and missed by 2 yards. Steve Kindel from 28 forced Preston Burpo to dive forward for his first save.

The best chance of the half came when Ben Somoza took Seattle's first corner kick in the 45th to the near side, where Danny Jackson dove to flick it on with his head for Bolaņos, whose quick shot from right in front of goal could have found open space but instead went right to Franks for a save at the post.

Halftime: Seattle 0 - 0 Vancouver

The second half opened with excitement. In the 47th, a long cross put Corrazin in close for a header that Burpo saved with one hand, pushing it wide, but the rebound was headed back in to gave Corrazin a second chance with his foot. From 5 yards Corrazin hit the underside of the crossbar and saw the ball bounce down on the line, but not wholly over the line. It was up to assistant referee Mohammed Zarrabi-Kashani to make the call, and he judged that the ball did not cross the line. Burpo got up and leaped to catch the ball when it came back down. (Video posted at soundercentral.com.) After the play, Corrazin was seen on his knees pleading, to no avail, with the assistant referee.

An immediate counter-attack led to Jason Farrell's low blast from 30 that looked promising, but Franks managed to dive left to snare the ball.

It was end to end again in the 56th when Vancouver threatened with Xausa's shot from 15 yards off Martin Nash's cross, but it went right to Burpo. The counter was missed by Vancouver's defense, almost springing Welton, but his shot was deflected wide by a defender for a corner.

57' Bolaņos (Jackson). The free kick earned by Welton was taken by Somoza from the left. The defense rejected it from in front of goal, but sweeper Danny Jackson, who was up for the set play, won the 50-50 ball near the top left corner of the penalty area and sent it back in to the top of the goal area. 7 yards in front of goal, Bolaņos surprised everyone with a back-to-goal, over-the-head bicycle kick that had enough power to find its way into the net even though Franks slowed it down with his hand. To us, it looked like the best candidate for Sounders goal of the year. 1-0 Seattle. (Video at soundercentral.com: slow motion, regular speed.)

The next good chance was Seattle's in the 64th when Bolaņos bent a cross past goal for Billy Sleeth, who was open on the right but couldn't manage the chest trap and saw the opportunity run over the bye line.

Neither side could manage anything else since the goal, and in the 83rd minute the rain began to pour down. After a half hour of no good chances since the goal, Kindel took Vancouver's last good shot from 20 yards on the left, a typical Kindel rocket, but it was just wide of the far post.

Final: Seattle 1 - 0 Vancouver

         Seattle  Vancouver
Shots:       8        9
Saves:       4        3
Corners:     5        4
Fouls:      14       14
Offsides:    3        1

32' VAN - Lyall cautioned.
41' VAN - Thompson cautioned for kicking Somoza as he cleared the ball.
57' SEA - Bolaņos cautioned for his goal celebration.
90' SEA - Brown cautioned for a foul near the touch line.

Referees: Toledo Baldomero; Mohammed Zarrabi-Kashani, Shahram Pourazari; Cory Dean.
Attendance: 2,496