2005 Jul 23

Seattle Sounders  1 - 0  Minnesota Thunder
Qwest Field, Seattle, WA

Seattle: Preston Burpo; Taylor Graham, Billy Sleeth, Ryan Edwards, Zach Scott; Kevin Sakuda, Leighton O'Brien, CJ Klaas (Brent Whitfield 59'), Andrew Gregor (Gabe Sturm 88'); Roger Levesque (Jake Sagare 66'), Welton (Ben Somoza 75'). Substitutes not used: James Ward, Brett Wiesner, Scott Jenkins.

Minnesota: Joe Warren; Nathan Knox, Chad Dombrowski, Chris Brunt; Freddy Juarez, Kiki Lara (Kevin Friedland 87'), Jay Alberts (Melvin Tarley 87'), Matt Schmidt, Godfrey Tenoff (Tighe Dombrowski 87'); Aaron Paye, Johnny Menyongar. Substitutes not used: Nicolas Platter, CJ Peszneker.

83' SEA - Whitfield (O'Brien)

Additional match reports: King County Journal, Seattle Times, Sounders, Thunder.

Match report by Ron Stickney:

A late goal by rookie Brent Whitfield gave the host Seattle Sounders a 1-0 win over the Minnesota Thunder. The shutout was Preston Burpo's 8th of the season. Leighton O'Brien played the full 90 on continued loan from Real Salt Lake and set up Whitfield's goal.

First Half

The first half was amazingly free of offense. The first good shot didn't happen until the 22nd minute when Seattle's CJ Klaas aimed a 20-yarder at the crossbar and forced Joe Warren to make the first save of the match. Seattle would take no more good shots in the half.

For Minnesota, the only good shot came in the 25th when Godfrey Tenoff took a quick shot up the middle from the arc, forcing Burpo's first save. Minnesota came closer to a goal 3 minutes later when Seattle defender Zach Scott intercepted a Minnesota pass and sent it out for a corner, but came a yard from hitting his own goal.

Referees in the stands got a chuckle out of a miscommunication in the 36th minute when assistant referee Peter Stilling signalled for a goal kick, then referee Ian Anderson signalled for a corner. Stilling changed his signal to corner as Anderson changed to signal for a goal kick. Then Anderson made his final decision a corner.

Halftime: Seattle 0-0 Minnesota

After the coaches had their halftime chats with the players, the second half opened with some scoring chances. Minnesota was first, as Aaron Paye got his head on Kiki Lara's corner kick but sent it well over the bar.

In the 48th and 49th minutes Seattle's Andrew Gregor forced two excellent block-saves by Warren, the first after Roger Levesque just inside the penalty area dished a nice square pass for Gregor and the second a 25-yard shot up the middle.

In the 55th Klaas took a pass from Welton and drove up the middle to earn a 20-yard shot but missed by a couple yards. Then Klaas sprung Welton up the middle and Welton's shot was deflected out by a good defensive play. O'Brien won a loose ball near the Minnesota penalty area and headed it to Welton for a good chance, but the first-touch shot went 2 yards over the bar.

Minnesota's best shot of the match came at 64' when Aaron Paye fed right to Matt Schmidt for a 15-yard shot that had Burpo diving to protect the near post, then barely making a kick save as Schmidt tried the other direction.

Seattle made unusual substitutions in the 66th and 75th minutes, replacing forwards Levesque and Welton with midfielders Jake Sagare and Ben Somoza. Whitfield and Gregor moved up to play as forwards, an unusual place to find Gregor.

For Minnesota, Tenoff came close in the 80th on a run up the middle that ended with a 20-yard shot that cleared the bar by a yard.

83' Whitfield (O'Brien). On an attack with few numbers, O'Brien carried the ball up the right side and sent a diagonal pass forward to the top of the arc for Whitfield. Between two defenders, Whitfield took a quick shot and hit the back left corner of the net. 1-0 Seattle.

Both defenses shut down their opponents' offenses until Minnesota had one last chance in added time. From a nice cross, Chad Dombrowski volleyed a shot a half yard over the bar from 18 yards.

Final: Seattle 1-0 Minnesota

          Seattle  Minnesota
Shots:      11         6
Saves:       3         3
Corners:     3         9
Fouls:      17         7
Offsides:    6         3

63' MIN - Juarez cautioned

Referees: Ian Anderson; Mark Oliver, Peter Stilling; Fred Mabbott

Attendance: 2,259