2007 Aug 18

California Victory 0 - 1 Seattle Sounders
Kezar Stadium, San Francisco, CA

California: Dominik Jakubek; Omar Aguayo, Chuck Kim, Matt Languis, Kiel McClung; Hugo Casillas, Michael Munoz, Jose Retiz, Ricardo Sanchez (Aaron Chandler 87'); Matthew Fitzgerald (Ronald Silva 73'), Yuri Morales. Substitutes not used: Eric Reed.

Seattle: Chris Eylander; Danny Jackson, Taylor Graham, Zach Scott, Kevin Sakuda; Kenji Treschuk, Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar (Noah Merl 83'), Josh Gardner (Greg Howes 72'), Leighton O'Brien (Santa Maria Rivera 89'); Roger Levesque, Sebastien Le Toux. Substitutes not used: Ben Dragavon, Nathan Knox.

78' SEA: O'Brien (PK)

Match report from the Seattle Sounders:

The Seattle Sounders returned to the top of the USL First Division table Saturday night after a 1-0 win over the California Victory at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco.

Leighton O'Brien converted a penalty kick in the 78th minute after Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar drew a foul in the 18 yard box to earn Seattle their second victory of the season over the bottom of the table California team and earn Head Coach Brian Schmetzer three points and a position on top of the league on his 45th birthday.

The win takes Seattle's record on the season to 12-6-5 (W-D-L) and puts them one point ahead of the Portland Timbers with just five regular season matches remaining. The result also takes the Sounders unbeaten streak to 13 matches in all competitions and brings goal keeper Chris Eylander's number of shutouts on the season to 10.

The early stages of the match passed without incident until Sounders forward Sebastien Le Toux nearly unlocked the California defense in the 20th minute when he ran under a Danny Jackson long ball and was within centimeters of touching the ball past the California keeper, but Dominik Jakubek stretched out a big glove and pulled the ball away.

The Seattle offense showed signs of life after the near miss, but were lacking the final pass on several chances to set up a quality attacks.

Just past the half hour mark, California began to put together spells of sustained possession but the Victory offense was unable to capitalize on their forays forward and continued the search for their first league goal since July 26th.

O'Brien found himself in prime position to break the deadlock in the 38th minute when Roger Levesque cut a ball back into the path of his supporting run. His 10 yard left footed effort zipped just wide of the post.

Two minutes later O'Brien served an inch perfect corner to the head of Zach Scott who headed the ball hard into the ground from two yards in front of goal and held his head in disbelief when it somehow bounced at an impossible angle to slip just over the cross bar.

O'Brien again served premium ball over the top in first half stoppage time to a streaking Levesque who touched the ball into the center of the 18 yard box only to see it turned into a California counter attack at the feet of Yuri Morales, who took the ball to the top of Seattle's 18 yard box, but was unable to find a way around the final Seattle defender allowing Taylor Graham to recover and pick the ball away.

The teams went into the locker room without either side having found a goal despite both sides having created promising chances.

As the evening went on the wind picked up strength and Seattle came out for the second half attacking with the wind in their face.

Scott had a second chance to open the scoring a minute into the half but his shot from the top left corner of the six yard box was blocked away by the Victory defender and cleared from danger.

Le Toux squandered another opportunity less than a minute later when he was picked out just outside the six yard box and decided to try and create a pass instead of taking the open shot on goal, giving California's defense time to recover and clear the danger.

The Victory responded to the pressure by releasing Casillas on a counter attack. His shot from the top of the 18 yard box squeezed past Eylander and was rolling towards the goal. Casillas followed his shot and seemed to have touched it in from a foot out, but the collective will of a trio of Sounders defenders somehow pushed it past the post and out of play.

The majority of play settled back into the center of the pitch in much the same way that it did through the middle of the first half as the second frame rolled past the hour mark.

O'Brien again found himself with a chance to open the scoring in the 67th minute from 20 yards in front of goal. His shot beat the keeper, but was just off target and California dodged another bullet.

Schmetzer went to the bench for the first time just after the 70th minute, bringing veteran Greg Howes into the match to replace Josh Gardner.

The Victory responded immediately by inserting Ronald Silva into the match in place of Matthew Fitzgerald.

In the 77th minute, Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar put together a fine piece of individual effort to tip the ball away from Jakubeck in the at the top of the 18 yard box, with the keeper out of position the California defender was forced to pull him to the turf before he could connect with the shot, earning the spot kick.

O'Brien stepped up to the spot waiting for Jakubek to earn a yellow card for time wasting as he tried to test the veteran midfielder's nerve. After the distraction, O'Brien sent Jakubek the wrong way and drilled a perfectly placed shot with pace into the top left corner of the goal.

Le Toux nearly followed with the second goal just a minute later, but his shot from six yards out careened off the cross bar as the referee assistants flag went up to indicate he was in an offside position.

In the 90th minute O'Brien was replaced by Santa Maria Rivera as the Sounders worked to preserve their lead and go top of the table.

California saw Kiel McClung sent off in extra time after a disgusting studs up challenge on Roger Levesque in the middle of the field. The teams came together in the center circle and threaten to show an ugly ending to the match. Cooler heads prevailed and the Sounders closed out the win and leaped ahead of the Portland Timbers into first place in the USL First Division.

        California   Seattle
Shots:       15         3
Saves:        1         3
Corners:      5         7
Fouls:       10        11
Offsides:     2         5

17' CAL: Kim cautioned
57' CAL: Fitzgerald cautioned
79' CAL: Jakubek cautioned
90' SEA: Howes cautioned
90' CAL: McClung sent off

Referees: Kari Seitz; Albert Montalvo, Mike Kampmeinert; Aaron Apperson

Attendance: 1,377