2007 Jul 23

Seattle Sounders 2 - 1 Preston North End
Qwest Field, Seattle, WA

Seattle: Chris Eylander (Ben Dragavon 45'); Graham Taylor, Noah Merl (Adam West 45'), Zach Scott (Nate Boyden 84'); Kevin Sakuda (Jake Besagno 71'), Kenji Treschuk, Leighton O'Brien, Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar (Gabe Sturm 84'), Josh Gardner (Santa Maria Rivera 59'); Roger Levesque (Craig Tomlinson 71'), Greg Howes (Nathan Knox 59'). Substitutes not used: Sebastien Le Toux.

Preston: Chris Neal; Matty Hill (Graham Alexander 85'), Jason Jarrett (Adam Nowland 71'), Sean St. Ledger, Liam Chilvers; Billy Jones, Chris Sedgwick (Danny Pugh 76'), Lewis Neal; Simon Whaley, Pat Agyemang (Joe Anyinsah 71'), Brett Ormerod. Substitutes not used: Andy Lonergan, Dominic Collins.

23' PRE: Agyemang
50' SEA: Alcaraz-Cuellar (Levesque)
57' SEA: Gardner (Levesque)

Additional match reports: GOALSeattle.com (with video highlights), Seattle Times, Seattle P-I, Sounders, PNE, Lancashire Evening Post, Geoff Arnold.
Photos: GOALSeattle.com, SPM.

Match report by Ron Stickney:

The Seattle Sounders pleased their fans with a 2-1 win over the visiting Preston North End Lilywhites from England's Coca-Cola Championship League (2nd level). Preston won the first half with a nice goal by Pat Agyemang. Seattle won the second half with goals by Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar and Josh Gardner.

Showing a cultural difference, Preston came out numbered 1-11, while the Sounders had 8 starters with numbers > 11.

First Half

Preston's Agyemang in the opening minute got things started by fighting off his marker to test goalkeeper Chris Eylander with a 25-yard shot up the middle, saved low by Eylander. In the 12th minute, Jason Jarrett took the second shot of the match from 20 yards up the middle, wide but judged deflected for a corner kick, which came to naught.

For Seattle in the 14th, an Alcaraz-Cuellar cross from the right flashed through the goal area just in front of Gardner on a far-post run, then the ball was cleared to give Kevin Sakuda the first shot for the Sounders from 20 yards, sent a yard wide of the near post.

It was Agyemang again in the 16th for Preston, sprung up the middle for a shot from 15 yards, and Eylander did well to slide out for a block save, clearing the ball from the penalty area.

23' PRE: Agyemang (?). Preston won a ball at the right touch line, and the cross came in to Agyemang at the 18, and he finished with a crisp low shot to the lower far corner. Someone deserves an assist for the cross, but we didn't catch the number and the o-fish-ul stats gave no credit for the assist. 1-0 Preston.

Seattle's second shot came from Roger Levesque at 29', heading a Kevin Sakuda cross well wide of the far post.

A minute later the next chance was Preston's, as Jarrett shot up the middle from 20 yards and was wide by a couple. In the 35th, Chris Sedgwick's 35-yard free kick bounced just wide of the far post after Kenji Treschuk was cautioned for a foul.

Seattle's best chance of the first half came on a counterattack after a Preston throw-in play, with Gardner racing diagonally towards the left flag to fire an 18-yard shot, block-saved by goalkeeper Chris Neal, conceding a corner that was dealt with. The last chance of the half was Seattle's, as Alcaraz-Cuellar fed Greg Howes in the arc for a powered shot, but it went right to C Neal in the middle of the goal mouth.

Halftime: Seattle 0 - 1 Preston

The second half opened with goalkeeper Ben Dragavon on for Eylander and rookie back Adam West on for Noah Merl. By the end of the half the Sounders would replace 8 of their starters. Early on, West won a corner kick taken by Gardner, and Taylor Graham headed it over the top near corner.

50' SEA: Alcaraz-Cuellar (Levesque). Alcaraz-Cuellar pulled the Sounders level with a goal from one of the most amazing goal sequences ever seen from the Sounders. It started with a cross from the left bye line by Gardner to the far post, headed to the center by Alcaraz-Cuellar for Howes at the 6-yard line. Howes headed a shot square off the crossbar, and then he headed the rebound again off the crossbar. The second rebound came to Levesque, who headed a short square pass to Alcaraz-Cuellar, who volleyed it in past defenders without the ball ever touching the ground in the sequence. 1-1.

57' SEA: Gardner (Levesque). Levesque wide left served a short pass to Gardner, who carried the ball square to the top of the arc and shot right-footed. The shot deflected off the back of defender Liam Chilvers and into the center of the goal with C Neal off his line. 2-1 Seattle.

Preston's next chances came at 66' when Lewis Neal's shot from wide right was deflected wide for a corner, which produced a back-heel shot by Agyemang that was covered at the near post by Dragavon. In the 76th, Simon Whaley shot from 25 yards and forced a fine leaping push over the bar by Dragavon, preventing a tying goal. In the 80th, it was Whaley again with a good shot from the 18 on the left, sending it just wide of the far post.

Seattle prevented good chances in the final 6 minutes plus added time.

Final: Seattle 2 - 1 Preston

           Seattle   Preston
Shots:        8         9
Saves:        4         3
Corners:      2         4
Fouls:       12        14
Offsides:     3         1

34' SEA: Treschuk cautioned
38' PRE: Jarrett cautioned

Referees: Josh Wilkins; Kevin O'Daniel, Jeff Hosking; Cory Dean. (The Sounders' match stats had Richard Heron as the center ref, but apparently they can't tell a Richard Heron from a Josh Wilkins, quite an easy observation for this match reporter. And who could mistake Cory Dean as the fourth?)

Attendance: 3,390