2005 Sep 23

Playoffs, semifinals, first leg:
Seattle Sounders  2 - 2  Montreal Impact
Starfire Sports Complex, Tukwila, WA

Seattle: Preston Burpo; Taylor Graham, Billy Sleeth, Ryan Edwards, Zach Scott; Kevin Sakuda, CJ Klaas (Jake Sagare 76'), Leighton O'Brien, Gabe Sturm (Scott Jenkins 72'); Roger Levesque, Maikel Galindo (Andrew Gregor 86'). Substitutes not used: James Ward, Ben Somoza, Brett Wiesner, Brent Whitfield.

Montreal: Greg Sutton; Gabriel Gervais, Nevio Pizzolitto, Mauricio Vincello, Adam Braz; Lars Lyssand (Joel Bailey 55'), Pat Leduc, David DiPlacido (Masahiro Fukasawa 58'), Antonio Ribeiro (Charles Gbeke 76'); Mauro Biello, Eddie Sebrango. Substitutes not used: Andrew Olivieri, Mesut Mert, Adrian Cann, Carlos Garcia.

10' SEA - Sturm (Klaas)
22' SEA - O'Brien

86' MON - Gbeke (Fukasawa)
88' MON - Gbeke (Braz)

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

Match report by Ron Stickney:

The Seattle Sounders started this semifinals playoff series with early goals from Gabe Sturm and Leighton O'Brien, but gave up two late goals to Charles Gbeke to allow Montreal to escape town with a draw. The two sides will meet in two days in Montreal, with the winner, after extra time or kicks from the mark if necessary, advancing to the USL First Division Championship Match.

Both teams started a Cuban forward, league veteran Eddie Sebrango for Montreal and newcomer Maikel Galindo for Seattle, and the two shook hands in the center circle just before kickoff.

First Half

10' Sturm (Klaas). Ryan Edwards sent a free kick from the Seattle end to CJ Klaas well up the right touch line. Klaas beat his marker to earn a good crossing opportunity, and he curled a nice ball to the far post where Sturm slid in feet first to poke it in. Seattle 1-0 from the first shot in the match.

3 minutes later a Seattle throw-in was deflected in front of goal to Kevin Sakuda, whose header was on goal wide of goalkeeper Greg Sutton, but a defender was on the line to kick it clear.

22' O'Brien. Dribbling at goal, Sturm was tripped from behind by Pat Leduc, resulting in a yellow card for Leduc and a quick second yellow for dissent from Mauricio Vincello. The free kick was a 20-yarder from just left of the arc, and O'Brien bent it perfectly over the wall and into the top far corner, out of the reach of Sutton. 2-0 Seattle.

The first save came in the 26th minute when Taylor Graham head-flicked a Klaas throw-in on goal from a steep angle.

First chance for Montreal came at 30' when Mauro Biello was sprung on the left with a diagonal through pass, and with only goalkeeper Preston Burpo to beat Biello rolled the shot inches wide of the far post.

Seattle soon had another golden chance when Zach Scott headed a cleared ball back in to Roger Levesque, who served a short pass in front of O'Brien for an open shot from 18 yards, but O'Brien put it too close to Sutton and he made the save

The last good shot of the half came from Sebrango, who under pressure got his head on a Biello cross but popped it over the top near corner.

Halftime: Seattle 2-0 Montreal

Seattle continued their attacking play for the first 5 minutes of the second half. Klaas' cross from the right through traffic was headed nicely to the far side by Galindo, and Sutton dove right for a nice save. Then Levesque carried the ball past defenders up the middle and pushed a nicely-weighted pass ahead for Galindo, who got off a quick shot, but Sutton slid out for a great block save.

That would be the last good shot from Seattle, as Montreal would outshoot the Sounders 14-5 in the half after managing just 2 shots in the first half. Antonio Ribeiro was first at 56', with a turn-and-shoot at the 18 forcing a routine diving save by Burpo at the post. Then Ribeiro got through on the left in the 62nd for a 10-yard shot aimed at the far post, and Burpo dove and stretched for the save, but couldn't quite hold on, and the follow-up shot by Sebrango was deflected over the bar by Burpo. Burpo got kicked in the nose on that last shot, but his complaint to referee Ramon Hernandez only got him a yellow card.

86' Gbeke (Fukasawa). After 20 minutes with several Montreal shots that didn't come close to scoring, substitute Gbeke put Montreal on the scoreboard, leaping high to head a long cross from Masahiro Fukasawa back across the goal and inside the far post. 2-1 Seattle.

88' Gbeke (Braz). Just 2 minutes later Gbeke leveled the score. After Seattle missed a few opportunities to clear the ball from their penalty area, Adam Braz sent in a cross from the right corner and Gbeke again rose high to head it inside the far post. 2-2.

Last chance was Biello's at 90' when he blasted a 25-yard shot a half yard over the bar.

Final: Seattle 2-2 Montreal

For the match in Montreal, Seattle will play without Galindo (passport and ID still held by the Cuban national team), O'Brien (3rd yellow card in the playoffs), and Scott (his wife is due with a baby).

          Seattle  Montreal
Shots:      10        16
Saves:       7         6
Corners:     4         2
Fouls:      13        19
Offsides:    2         4

21' MON - Leduc cautioned for tripping Sturm from behind 20 yards from goal
22' MON - Vincello cautioned for what he said after Gervais was cautioned
34' SEA - O'Brien cautioned for what he said after a teammate fouled
44' SEA - Sleeth cautioned for what he said after a throw-in was awarded to Montreal
62' SEA - Burpo cautioned for dissent after he was kicked in the nose and a foul wasn't called
90' MON - Coach DeSantis was dismissed, according to the Seattle Times report

Referees: Ramon Hernandez; Mark Matthews, Shahram Pourazari; Cory Dean

Attendance: 2,698