2008 Aug 12

US Open Cup Semifinal:
Charleston Battery  1 - 1  Seattle Sounders (Kicks from the mark: Charleston 4 - 3 Seattle)
Blackbaud Stadium, Charleston, SC

Charleston: Dusty Hudock; Nelson Akwari, Kevin Nylen (Tim Velten 79'), Marco Reda, John Wilson; Chris Williams (Dominic Cianciarulo 96'), Stephen Armstrong, Osvaldo Alonso, Randi Patterson; Ian Fuller (Mike Richardson 102'), Darren Spicer (Aaron King 73').

Seattle: Chris Eylander; Taylor Graham, Zach Scott, Kevin Sakuda, Danny Jackson; Michael Rodríguez, Kenji Treschuk (Kevin Forrest 69'), Josh Gardner (Ciaran O'Brien 40'), Youssouf Kante (Nik Besagno 103'); Roger Levesque (Jason Cascio 85'), Sébastien Le Toux.

20' SEA: Charleston own goal (Alonso)

32' CHA: Patterson

Additional match reports: Battery, Sounders, Charleston Post and Courier.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

In a US Open Cup Semifinal between two USL First Division sides, the visiting Seattle Sounders fell to the Charleston Battery in kicks from the mark after a 1-1 draw in regulation time and 30 minutes of extra time without a goal. Seattle had the early lead when Josh Gardner's hard shot deflected into Charleston's goal off the leg of Osvaldo Alonso, but Charleston leveled the score when Randi Patterson put away a loose ball following a save.

With the win, Charleston will travel to Washington DC to face DC United in the Final. The Sounders had hoped to host that match with a win.

A rainy start to the match produced a few half chances for Charleston, little for Seattle. But the first shot didn't come until the 19th minute when Patterson eluded his marker for a try that missed by a couple of yards.

20' SEA: Charleston own goal. Seattle's first shot was taken by Michael Rodríguez and was deflected out for a corner. The corner kick was taken short from Gardner to Youssouf Kante, who dropped it back for Gardner. Gardner sent in a hard, bending shot on goal, and it deflected off Alonso's leg and inside the far post. 1-0 Seattle.

Alonso had a chance to redeem himself 5 minutes later when he bent a 25-yard free kick on goal, but Eylander was in place to save it chest high.

Gardner had a good look from the left on a Seattle attack, but the hard shot went behind the goal. That would be the last offense from Gardner, as he would leave 40 minutes, presumably injured, replaced by Ciaran O'Brien.

The tide turned at 31' when Ian Fuller's nice shot from 15 yards bounced through the crowd and just past the far post.

32' CHA: Patterson. Kevin Nylen bent in a perfect cross from the right with his left foot, and Darren Spicer headed it nicely at the far post. Eylander dove right to make a fine save, but he couldn't hold onto the wet ball and it fell loose, a sitter in the goal area. Patterson ran past a defender to tap it in. 1-1.

The defenses allowed just one more good shot in the half, a Spicer cross headed on goal and comfortably saved overhead by Eylander.

Charleston continued to have the momentum to open the second half, but couldn't quite manage any good chances. Then suddenly in the 54th minute they were caught napping on a Seattle throw-in as the ball went to Roger Levesque behind the defense. Levesque got a shot from close to the right post, but it was from a steep angle and it sailed across the goal face in need of some bend.

Kevin Forrest came on for Kenji Treschuk at 68' and on his first touch sent a ball over the top to give Sébastien Le Toux his best chance of the evening. Le Toux was well clear of the nearest defender and had only the charging Hudock to beat, but Hudock stayed high to prevent a chip, finally collapsing to block the shot. Le Toux got it right back for a cross, but the defense had recovered and headed it away.

In the 76th Le Toux and Nylen banged heads going for a 50-50 air ball and both went down for a few minutes. Le Toux had some blood dabbed away with the gauze pad, but Nylen was foggier and was quickly replaced by Tim Velten.

The last 15 minutes of regulation had few chances in spite of the defenses starting to open up, but excellent chances happened in extra time. Aaron King tried first for Charleston, but was a yard high from 25.

Seattle came oh so close at 96' as Forrest snapped a headed shot on goal from a nice cross by Ciaran O'Brien, but it hit the far post squarely and came back. The putback by Cascio was shot hard, but cleared near the goal line by Nelson Akwari for a corner. A minute later a Seattle free kick play gave Taylor Graham an 18-yard volley up the middle that forced a diving save by Hudock at the post. Forrest powered into the area for a shot from the right, but it was an easy save for Hudock. More difficult was Hudock's palm save on a blistering shot by Cascio from the left.

Charleston finally got their chance at 112' when Mike Richardson curled a beautiful cross behind the defense, but King's sliding attempt to poke it in went wide.

The last 15 minutes saw a couple of dangerous crosses by O'Brien, then Kevin Sakuda, but the Charleston defense dealt with them.

Seconds before the final whistle Richardson earned a shot from the left, but Eylander had it covered and it was on to kicks from the mark.

Charleston shot first during kicks from the mark and got the advantage when Le Toux, shooting second for Seattle, had his shot saved by Hudock. Eylander answered on the next kick with a save of Richardson's shot. Hudock's save on Seattle's 5th shot, by Forrest, gave Charleston their ticket to the Final.

Charleston              Seattle
Armstrong - 1           Jackson - 1
Alonso - 1              Le Toux - 0 (saved)
Richardson - 0 (saved)  Sakuda - 1
Velten - 1              O'Brien - 1
Akwari - 1              Forrest - 0 (saved)

        Charleston   Seattle
Shots:       16        12
Saves:        3         4
Corners:      5         5
Fouls:       10        17
Offsides:     4         6

44' SEA: Scott cautioned
57' CHA: Fuller cautioned
63' SEA: Graham cautioned
96' SEA: Forrest cautioned

Referees: Oscar Ortiz

Attendance: 3,798