Vancouver 86ers 2-2 Seattle Sounders (Vancouver wins shootout) Bialek (S) 58' Leonetti (S) 61' Nash (V) 64' Mobilio (V) 81' penAttendance: 4,185
Yellow cards: Oliviero 25 (a foul but no more, it seemed); unidentified 86er 66 (late challenge); Crook 83 (dissent).
The home side began impressively, using quick passes and well-placed balls to the wide players to unsettle the Sounders. Hahnemann was kept busy, first having to tip over a Ross shot after a cross had been knocked back to him by Franks, and then, after a corner had been cleared, blocking a Macdonald header. Moments later, the keeper was in action again, as a Franks free kick from the left side, instead of swinging out towards the far post, swung in towards the goal, and Hahnemann had to push it over. The 86ers were dominating the play in this phase, but the Sounders were not without chances themselves; Jason Dunn teed up a shot for Leonetti which Dolan saved with no trouble, and there was nearly a mixup between Dolan and Macdonald with Leonetti closing in. As the half progressed, the Sounders came back into the game, with, in one attack, Dolan having to block shots by both Dunn and Leonetti, and later, Dolan again having to go down in front of Dunn. The 86ers had the last word in the first half, though; first, a corner was cleared right to Oliviero, whose shot was just too high, and then Oliviero slipped a pass through to Mobilio, who beat the offside but had his shot blocked.
It was scoreless at the break, and all very reminiscent of previous encounters in which the Sounders had found a second-half goal to win the game. Sure enough, once Mobilio had volleyed wide after Nash had been put in nicely on the left and made a useful cross, it was the visitors who grabbed the opening goal. Bialek took the ball on the left and moved towards the edge of the box. There seemed to be enough defenders around, but he cut inside one and worked around a second to create space for a shot which flew convincingly low into the far corner. As if this wasn't enough, three minutes later the 86er defence was pulled apart: a long ball down the right found Crook near the goal line, and his cutback found only Leonetti, who snapped up the chance.
2-0 Seattle, and it seemed to be the old story once again. But, within three further minutes, the 86ers had a goal back. One of many good crosses, this one from the right, eluded Hahnemann as the keeper tried to get a hand on the ball, but only ended up on the ground himself. Nash was on hand to gather the loose ball, and calmly controlled it before firing it high into the net. The Sounders, though, tightened things up after this, anxious at least to preserve the 2-1 scoreline, and the home side had to work hard for further chances. Their best in this period was another shot by Oliviero that was just too high, set up this time by Mobilio. Then, with nine minutes remaining, the 86ers got the break they were looking for. A cross came in from the right, and Franks (?) went down under challenge in the area. The referee was in no doubt, and nor was Mobilio, whose spot-kick beat Hahnemann to his right.
Even with only nine minutes remaining, both teams could easily have won it. First, a long ball was nodded down for Kusch, who blazed his shot high over the advancing keeper. Then, at the other end, Macdonald seemed to have done enough to allay any danger for the moment, but he lost the ball to Dunn, who made space for a shot that went just wide. With time running down, the 86ers tried to play it out from the back, but eventually Bialek picked up the ball and aimed a shot across the goal, but wide.
It finished 2-2, and I left the stadium at this point, having been well entertained. On my way out, I saw a father saying to his young son (they were also leaving) "It's really a 2-2 tie; this shootout shouldn't mean anything". I heard the progress of the Crapshootout as I walked away from the stadium; it seemed that the 86ers won it 2-1 to pick up a point. But, more importantly, the 86ers played well on this night and deserved at least the result they got.
Elsewhere today, the Impact had another impressive result as Montreal won 2-1 at Colorado. There were some other results this weekend, but since I haven't heard them yet, I won't add the standings to this report.