2009 Apr 28

Sounders score four on RSL in cup qualifier

Seattle Sounders FC  4 - 1  Real Salt Lake

Starfire Sports Stadium, Tukwila, WA

24' SEA: Sebastien Le Toux (PK)
26' SEA: Sanna Nyassi (Le Toux, Roger Levesque)

32' SL: Johnson
53' SEA: Stephen King (Le Toux, Levesque)
55' SEA: Le Toux (Levesque)

Seattle: Chris Eylander; Zach Scott, Taylor Graham, Tyson Wahl, James Riley; Steve Zakuani (Jarrod Smith 65'), Patrick Ianni, Stephen King, Sanna Nyassi (Evan Brown 72'); Roger Levesque, Sebastien Le Toux. Substitutes not used: Kasey Keller, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Nate Jaqua, Fredy Montero.

Salt Lake: Chris Seitz; David Horst, Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave (Nat Borchers 47'), Robbie Russell; Will Johnson (Raphael Cox 71'), Kyle Beckerman (Jean Alexandre 66'), Andy Williams, Ned Grabavoy; Robbie Findley, Luis Miguel Escalada (Yura Movsisyan 57'). Substitutes not used: Kyle Reynish, Tino Nunez, Chris Wingert.

Match report by Ron Stickney

The Seattle Sounders FC exploded for four goals against Real Salt Lake's lone strike in a US Open Cup qualifier at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila, WA. Both Sebastien Le Toux and Roger Levesque got starts up top and were involved in all four Seattle goals. Le Toux scored the first and last goals and assisted the other two. Levesque drew a penalty kick to give Le Toux the first goal and assisted on the other three. Seattle's middle two goals came from Sanna Nyassi and Stephen King. Salt Lakes goal came from Will Johnson and pulled Salt Lake within a goal at the time.

With the win, the Sounders advance to face the Colorado Rapids in the second of two play-in matches for the Open Cup. Date and location have not yet been determined.

When MLS teams play these Open Cup matches, it is always interesting to see the mix of regular starters and players from the rest of the roster. If you win, great. If you win using fewer regulars, even better. Let us analyze the starters by average number of minutes per match in regular season matches this year. First Seattle:

Salt Lake:

So Seattle's starting squad was richer in reserves. Indeed, the Seattle lineup featured six players who had not yet played in competition in 2009: starters Taylor Graham, Tyson Wahl, Patrick Ianni, and Stephen King, plus substitutes Jarrod Smith and Evan Brown. Salt Lake had just one player seeing his first minutes in competition this year, goalkeeper Chris Seitz.

The chances were all Seattle's for the first half hour. It started with right back James Riley getting the return pass from his throw-in and crossing dangerously to the far post, but Seitz layed out in full extension to palm the cross wide. King's diagonal cross from the end line very close to the left post was just out of Le Toux's reach, but he chased the ball down and took Seattle's first shot, wide of the far post. Seattle's first corner kick was taken by Le Toux and it bent nicely towards the far post and forced a save by Seitz, who ended up with his entire body except for his hands in the goal. Nyassi won a ball that popped through on the right side and he carried it into the penalty area near the right post before crossing for Le Toux on a far post run, but the service was waist high and Le Toux's attempt to volley it with his foot sent the ball over the bar from just three yards. At 22' a Le Toux header near the spot was blocked by Seitz as the two collided in the air.

24' SEA: Le Toux (PK). Levesque earned a penalty kick when he took a pass from Steve Zakuani ten yards from goal with his back to the goal and tried to turn and shoot. Tony Beltran swept Levesque's legs out from under him and referee Landis Wiley, just a few yards away, whistled and pointed to the spot at his feet. Le Toux beat Seitz with a low shot to the left corner that had plenty of pace. 1-0 Seattle.

In soccer it is sometimes said that the most dangerous period is the next few minutes after a goal. Either the team that just scored gets overconfident, or the team that was just scored on suffers a distracting period of angst. In this match, three of the five goals came within a couple of minutes after an earlier goal.

26' SEA: Nyassi (Le Toux). On an attack, Le Toux got the ball from Levesque with space in the middle of Salt Lake's half. He held up waiting for runners. Levesque was available as an open option standing to the left, but Le Toux waited for Nyassi's run at goal from the right. Le Toux's forward pass was perfectly weighted as Nyassi sped past his marker ball side. Nyassi had just enough of a lead over his marker for the shot, and he beat Seitz with a worm burner to the lower left corner, beating Seitz there for the second time in three minutes. 2-0 Seattle.

32' SL: Johnson. Receiving the ball on the left wing, Johnson took on one defender at the edge of the penalty area and managed to get by not only that defender but also the retreating support. Johnson suddenly found himself 15 yards from goal free of all defenders. With no weak side support, Johnson had only Chris Eylander to beat, and he beat Eylander with velocity to the lower near corner. 2-1 Seattle.

Later in the same minute Levesque had his best chance at a goal when Le Toux did well to run down a ball at the end line and cross it just in time. The cross was a diagonal drop pass into the goal area, and Levesque got a good piece of it but his attempt to redirect it sent the ball just wide of the far post with the net wide open.

Taylor Graham left the field with a bloody nose late in the half and re-entered a few minutes later. Not a good sign, as Graham had his nose broken in the recent friendly against the University of Washington.

Salt Lake closed the half with two chances in the final minute. Andy Williams fired a rocket from the center of Seattle's half but it went a yard over the bar. Then Beltran's dipping shot from wide left just barely cleared the bar and landed on the roof.

Halftime: Seattle 2 - 1 Salt Lake

Salt Lake's best chance to level the match came in the opening minute of the second half. Out of a crowd just inside Seattle's penalty area, a short pass put Johnson free for a shot. Eylander did well to slide out and clear the shot strongly with his leg.

Right back the other way Zakuani got open on the left to serve a nice cross past the goal mouth. Unfortunately, with players on the run to both posts neither could quite reach the cross. On a counterattack, Le Toux held the ball and then passed to the right for Nyassi, who bent his 25-yard shot the wrong way. At 52' King was sprung up the middle for a good chance from the 18. Seitz blocked the low shot, giving the rebound back to King, whose put-back shot from close went wide of the far post.

53' SEA: King (Le Toux, Levesque). On the next attack, King scored. Le Toux got the ball from Levesque and passed to King on another run up the middle. With Seitz doing well covering the ground floor, King shot to the second story and beat Seitz over his left shoulder with a shot that went a foot under the bar. 3-1 Seattle.

55' SEA: Le Toux (Levesque). Before the crowd settled down Seattle scored again. Levesque powered through a physical challenge at the top right corner of the penalty area and sent a cross along the 6-yard line to the far post, where Le Toux was open to drive it in. 4-1 Seattle.

Salt Lake had one really good shot left. At 63' Robbie Findley ran diagonally to his right to earn a shot from 15 yards, sent back towards the left post at maximum velocity. Eylander did well to parry the ball, taking the sting out of it, keeping the ball close.

The last half hour featured a lot of end to end action but no goals. For Seattle, substitute Jarrod Smith started a nice attack that ended with Nyassi just missing the far post with a shot. Smith forced Seitz to make two good consecutive saves at 75', then Le Toux forced another good save a minute later.

Tacoma native Raphael Cox, a rookie out of the University of Washington, came on for Salt Lake at 72' and looked strong on the attack.

Salt Lake finished the final quarter hour with a several good chances, but none of them came close to being a goal.

Final: Seattle 4 - 1 Salt Lake

          SEA   SL
Shots:     17   11
Saves:      2    6
Corners:    4    4
Fouls:     12   14
Offsides:   2    0

19' SEA: Ianni cautioned for a foul on Findley near the circle
41' SL: Olave cautioned for the Hand of God move when charging Eylander
71' SEA: Nyassi cautioned

Referees: Landis Wiley; Mike Rottersman, Josh Wilkins; Soo Hui Um

Attendance: 3,890

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