2007 Jun 12

US Open Cup, 1st round:
Seattle Sounders 4 - 1 Banat Arsenal
Starfire Sports Complex, Tukwila, WA

Seattle: Chris Eylander; Danny Jackson, Jake Besagno, Zach Scott (Santa Maria Rivera 71'); Kevin Sakuda, Leighton O'Brien (Kenji Treschuk 35'), Greg Howes, Roger Levesque (Andre Schmid 56'), Josh Gardner; Sebastien Le Toux (Craig Tomlinson 45'), Nathan Knox. Substitutes not used: Ben Dragavon, Adam West, Gabe Sturm.

Banat: Chris Rehfuss; Cory Norris (Brad Moore 75'), Frank Clay, Nick Tiggs, Elliot Weber; Ryan Lockhart (Imad Id-Deen 53'), Jaimie Miranda (Alan Watson 45'), Maurice Hughes, David Hopkinson (Brett Parry 45'); Esteban Bayona, Ty Hibbert. Substitutes not used: none.

9' SEA: Knox (O'Brien)
18' BAN: Hughes (Hibbert)
32' SEA: Le Toux (Levesque)
36' SEA: Le Toux (Howes)
44' SEA: Howes (Knox)

Additional match reports: Seattle P-I, Seattle Times, Sounders, GOALSeattle.com photo gallery.

Match report by Ron Stickney:

It was attack, attack, attack for the Sounders, as they opened the first round US Open Cup match with their regular starting lineup and pressured visiting Banat Arsenal early and often. The visiting Arsenal are a USASA (amateur) side out of Phoenix. Nathan Knox gave the Sounders an early lead, but a nice goal finished by Maurice Hughes soon leveled the score. The Sounders finished the half strong with a pair of goals by Sebastien Le Toux and one by Greg Howes, giving them a 4-1 win.

With the win, the Sounders advance to the second round of the US Open Cup, hosting the Portland Timbers on June 26, again at Starfire Sports Complex. The Timbers traveled to California this day to advance 2-0 over PDL side Bakersfield Brigade.

The match at Starfire was a double header, with the Crossfire Sounders Women opening the evening with a 1-0 league win over the San Diego Sunwave. Tafara Pulse scored the lone goal in the 70th minute when a cross in front of goal was deflected to Pulse 12 yards out, and she fired it in off the underside of the crossbar.

First Half

Seattle's Knox netted the ball in the opening minute but the goal was denied due to an offensive foul, apparently pushing. Josh Gardner took the first official shot when he was served open on the left for a 15-yard try, but his right-footed shot missed the near post by two yards.

9' SEA: Knox (O'Brien). On the left side at the top of the penalty area, Leighton O'Brien served a ball straight ahead for Knox, who was running into open space left of goal. Knox was judged onside and from 10 yards on the left he beat goalkeeper Chris Rehfuss with a low shot. 1-0 Seattle.

Banat's first shot came at 16' from left midfielder Maurice Hughes. The 25-yard shot was yards high, but his next try would be better.

18' BAN: Hughes (Hibbert). Ty Hibbert did well to win a ball at the bye line right of goal and served a nice low diagonal cross to the open Hughes 10 yards from the far post. Hughes fired it in nicely just under the bar. 1-1.

The Sounders then got down to business, not allowing Banat any more shots in the half. Seattle would manage 10 shots in the half. Worthy efforts came from Le Toux, whose 20-yard free kick just cleared the bar and hit the roof, then Gardner, whose 23-yard free kick missed the lower far corner by a half yard, and Knox, who was sprung on the right for a 15-yard chance that was blocked by Rehfuss sliding out to cut down the angle.

32' SEA: Le Toux (Levesque). The persistent pressure soon got results. Roger Levesque got open with the ball at the right end of the arc and could have shot, but instead fed a diagonal ball to the right in front of Le Toux, who beat Rehfuss with a chip shot to the far side. 2-1 Seattle.

36' SEA: Le Toux (Howes). Le Toux quickly followed with an insurance goal. Gardner took a pass 15 yards from goal on the left, held it, and then fed it straight at the near post for Howes, who was at the 6-yard line. Howes sent a short cross in front of Le Toux, who was on the far post run, and Le Toux buried it from a few yards out. 3-1 Seattle.

There were a lot of fouls being called in the first half, 15 against Seattle and 11 against Banat, many of them seemingly trifling for this level of play. Perhaps referee Mike Rottersman was calling it tight to minimize the chance of injuries, but at times it seemed like the run of play was being interrupted much too often.

44' SEA: Howes (Knox). The final goal of the match came when Le Toux on the right fed ahead to Knox in the penalty area. Knox drew defenders and put a perfect cross to the far side into the path of the charging Howes, who hammered it home easily. 4-1 Seattle.

Halftime: Seattle 4 - 1 Banat

The second half was more balanced, with Seattle outshooting Banat 11-5 and a low foul count until late in the match. But it was all Seattle until midway in the half. The first chance came when Kevin Sakuda was close to goal at the end line and sent a short cross in front of Gardner, on a run up the middle, and Gardner sent it over the bar from 8 yards. Howes missed by a yard with a low shot up the middle, then he sent in a nice cross that gave Levesque a header from 6 yards that cleared the bar by a yard. Gardner's drop pass from the spot was shot nicely by Knox at the lower right corner, and Rehfuss did well with a dive to parry it wide. Gardner sprung Craig Tomlinson on the left and with only Rehfuss to beat Tomlinson's shot hit the far post solidly. In the 66th Gardner's free kick from the left was knocked back to him for a shot, which was kick-saved by Rehfuss.

The tide turned in favor of Banat at 67'. Esteban Bayona's shot up the middle from the 18 was deflected by a defender and saved by Chris Eylander. Nick Tiggs shot from 18 and again it deflected off a defender and Eylander managed another save at the near post. Ryan Lockhart was gifted with a turnover in Seattle's end and entered the penalty area before dishing it left for Bayona, who just missed the near post with a hard shot and was left holding his head in dismay.

Seattle substitute Santa Maria Rivera gave Seattle a couple of chances with nice crosses from the left, first in the 78th when his cross was dummied by Tomlinson to give substitute Andre Schmid a golden chance that he wasted wide of the target from 15 yards. A minute later Rivera's cross gave Tomlinson a chance running at the far post but his volley went just wide.

For Banat in the 81st, substitute Brad Moore bent a 25-yard free kick around the wall but Eylander saved it at midsection.

The final chance was Seattle's in the 84th when Gardner shot up the middle and forced a diving save by Rehfuss.

Final: Seattle 4 - 1 Banat

          Seattle    Banat
Shots:       21         6
Saves:        3         5
Corners:      6         0
Fouls:       23        21
Offsides:     5         1

19' BAN: Lockhart cautioned
34' SEA: Scott cautioned
88' BAN: Id-Deen cautioned

Referees: Mike Rottersman; Will Niccolls, Shahram Pourazari; Scott Lawrence

Attendance: 864