2006 Sep 9

Seattle Sounders  2 - 1  Atlanta Silverbacks
Qwest Field, Seattle, WA

Seattle: Chris Eylander; Danny Jackson, Noah Merl, Jake Besagno; Kevin Sakuda, CJ Klaas (Jamal Sutton 75', Nate Boyden 90'), Leighton O'Brien, Andrew Gregor, Roger Levesque; Cam Weaver, Maykel Galindo (Ben Somoza 90'). Substitutes not used: Jimmy Ward, Stephen Keel, Seyi Abolaji, Santa Maria Rivera.

Atlanta: Felipe Quintero; Joe Afful (Antonio De La Torre 77'), David Hayes, Matt Bobo, Omar Jarun; Scott Buete, Fabian Dawkins, Rodrigo Rios (Liam George 90'), Tony McManus; Warren Ukah (Jason McLlaughlin 67'), Machel Millwood. Substitutes not used: Shaun Kalnasy, Marlon Rojas, Alex Pineda-Chacon, Josh Smith.

41' SEA: Galindo (Weaver)
45' ATL: Hayes (PK)
90' SEA: Gregor (PK)

Additional match reports: Sounders, Seattle Times, Sounder Central, Silverbacks.

Match report by Ron Stickney:

This match had about everything: playoff intensity, plenty of yellow and red cards (most of them in the last 10 minutes), penalty kicks, a nice goal from the run of play, and a match winner in added time. The Seattle Sounders finished the regular season with a win over the Atlanta Silverbacks 2-1. The match winner came on Andrew Gregor's penalty kick just after the clock reached 90'. Atlanta had tied it up at the end of the first half with a penalty kick by David Hayes, after Seattle had taken the first lead with a goal by Maykel Galindo.

Each side lost a man to a red card in the last minutes, the victims being Roger Levesque for Seattle and Tony McManus for Atlanta.

Atlanta could have qualified for the playoffs with a win in this match, but they can still qualify with a win in their final match at Vancouver 24 hours later. Seattle kept their mathematical chances for a playoff berth alive, but it will require that Atlanta not win at Vancouver (likely) and Miami win at Puerto Rico (unlikely).

The match was well attended at 8,829, just a few short of what they announced for the home opener. Most of that number were youth soccer teams and their parents, who ought to support the local pro team more often.

First Half

The first chance was Seattle's in the 6th minute, when CJ Klaas' cross from the right to the far side gave Roger Levesque a chance for a header at exposed goal space from 8 yards, but he couldn't get the shot on goal. The second shot waited until 20' on a Seattle long free kick play, when Jake Besagno headed his shot 2 yards over the goal.

Atlanta's first chance came a minute later when Fabian Dawkins beat Besagno on a counterattack to earn an open shot from 15 yards, but he sent it inches wide of the far post.

Another minute later Seattle's Cam Weaver was served for an 8-yard shot and just missed the near post. At 32' on a give and go play with Klaas, Galindo got a shot from 12 yards but goalkeeper Felipe Quintero was there for the first save of the match.

On a long Atlanta free kick in the 34th, Rodrigo Rios sent it on goal but it made Eylander's first save easy.

In the 37th for Seattle, Levesque centered the ball to Weaver, who sent it along to Besagno for a sideways volley that would have been a spectacular goal had it gone in, but it went a yard over the bar.

41' Galindo (Weaver). On a counterattack, Weaver sent a pass forward into the middle for Galindo. Quintero came out to the 18-yard line, but didn't get there in time as Galindo touched the ball past the keeper and on goal. The ball would have rolled in with nobody in the same zip code as Galindo, but he couldn't resist hammering it a yard from goal to put a bulge in the old onion sack. 1-0 Seattle.

45' Hayes (PK). Two yards inside the penalty area, Seattle defender Noah Merl made an unfortunate try at a 50-50 ball that was won by Atlanta defender Omar Jarun, and Merl got Jarun hard in the leg, dropping Jarun as the ball was bouncing out of danger. Referee Kari Seitz called the penalty kick, and while many fans disagreed, it would have been controversial to not call it. Hayes converted the PK inside the right post, giving Eylander little chance. 1-1.

Halftime: Seattle 1-1 Atlanta

The second half quickly gave Seattle rookie Weaver two great chances to score. In the 47th minute, he got by a defender for a shot from close on the right, and Quintero made a nice one-handed save. A minute later Weaver was served with a waist-high cross a yard from goal with Quintero out of the picture, but Weaver got only a slight touch on the ball and it somehow went wide.

At 51' an Atlanta corner kick gave Rios a shot from close, but Eylander at the far post blocked it out for another corner. At 55' on a corner kick play, Joe Afful shot from outside the penalty area was on goal near the bar, but Gregor was manning the post and managed to head it clear of the goal plane. At 59' Scott Buete headed on goal from 15 yards, but it was an easy save for Eylander.

For Seattle it was Weaver for a third time in the half at 61', receiving a cross to the near side from Galindo for an 8-yard shot that went wide of the near post.

For Atlanta at 65' Jarun headed a corner kick sharply at the top corner, and Eylander flew for a one-handed slap wide for another corner.

At 72' it was Weaver again from Leighton O'Brien's corner kick, but Weaver was well marked and headed it well wide.

Continuing the back and forth action, a minute later Dawkins shot from a steep angle on the right and missed the far post by a yard. At 78' Machel Millwood headed a shot from 15 but was well wide.

Seattle fans were hopeful in the 82nd when Gregor took a free kick from his territory, just above the top right corner of the penalty area, but the shot to the lower near corner was gobbled up by Quintero, waiting to make the save.

Seattle fans were distraught in the 86th minute when Levesque was guilty of a trip at the halfway line and got carded for it, his second yellow and hence the red. The yellow/red seemed a bit excessive for that particular foul.

Seattle really turned on the offense for the last few minutes, particularly O'Brien. At 88' Gregor's short pass ahead for O'Brien gave him a 10-yard shot from the right, and Quintero touched it outside of the post for a corner. On the corner kick from Gregor, Weaver headed it 2 yards over the bar. At 89' O'Brien's free kick from the left side was shot hard on goal, and Quintero stumbled backwards but managed a block save.

90' Gregor (PK). Just after the clock hit 90:00 O'Brien received an advantagious short pass forward 15 yards from goal and was tripped from behind after he juked two defenders and advanced at goal to set up his shot. Seitz had to call this penalty kick, too. Gregor, with ice in his veins, took the penalty kick in typical Gregor style, stepping up from a step and a half away and calmly converting with an accurate shot to the left as Quintero guessed the other way. 2-1 Seattle.

In added time, the match had cards left in it, starting when substitute Antonio De La Torre threw an elbow that caught O'Brien in the mouth. O'Brien retaliated with a two-handed push to De La Torre's chest. Both players were shown the yellow card, and Atlanta's Tony McManus was shown the red card for coming in and pushing O'Brien.

Atlanta had one last long shot that probably would have missed wide, but Eylander came out to catch it with a leap to make sure.

Final: Seattle 2-1 Atlanta

          Seattle   Atlanta
Shots:       17        15
Saves:        5         6
Corners:      6         7
Fouls:       15        15
Offsides:     4         6

36' ATL: Rios cautioned for a foul at the halfway line
43' SEA: Jackson cautioned
45' SEA: Merl cautioned
45' SEA: Gregor cautioned for a tactical foul
80' SEA: Levesque cautioned
81' ATL: Hayes cautioned for tripping Galindo just outside the penalty area
86' SEA: Levesque cautioned for tripping from behind at the halfway line and sent off for his second caution
90' SEA: O'Brien cautioned for retaliation, a two-handed push into De La Torre's chest
90' ATL: De La Torre cautioned for what provoked O'Brien, throwing an elbow that struck O'Brien in the mouth
90' ATL: McManus sent off, for what we do not know -- maybe it was something he said
90' ATL: Quintero cautioned

Referees: Kari Seitz; Cory Dean, Jesse Scrimsher; Scott Lawrence

Attendance: 8,829!