Seattle: Hudock; James, Watson, Jenkins; Figueroa (Gelvezon 67), Barton, Aunger, Gutierrez, Hoggan; Hattrup, Gailey.
Minnesota: Pasquarello; Foster, Abboud, Coughlin, Chato, Gramenz; Menk (Leventhal 17), Magee, Gotsmanov; Larumbe (Sylvester 75), Dusosky.
Cautions: Dusosky (M), Figueroa (S), Watson (S), Aunger (S), Aunger (S), Sylvester (M)
Sent Off: Aunger (S, 2nd caution)
Shots: Seattle 24, Minnesota 21
Saves: Hudock 8, Pasquarello 10
Corners: Seattle 8, Minnesota 4
Fouls: Seattle 28, Minnesota 17
Offside: Seattle 1, Minnesota 3
Referee: Kevin Yend
Attendance: 3,536 (announced)
When two teams that allow less than a goal per game meet, one might
not be surprised by a scoreless draw. However, the Seattle Sounders and
the Minnesota Thunder each took more than 20 shots in this one, evidence
of many entertaining attacks on goal. Neither team could finish despite
both having some quality chances to score. The CrapShootout (TM A-League)
produced just one lonely goal, that for the visiting Thunder, giving them
a much needed point in their tight playoff race in the
Central Division. Seattle heads into their final three games, all on the road, with a four-point lead over second-place Vancouver, who also have three games left.
Well-earned shutouts were notched by goalkeepers Nick Pasquarello of Minnesota and Dusty Hudock of Seattle. Hudock now has 15 shoutouts for the year, breaking the team record of 14 that Marcus Hahnemann set last year. Hudock lowered his league-leading goals against average to 0.56.
Rich in midfielders, Seattle played a 3-5-2 lineup with Mike Gailey and Peter Hattrup up front. Mark Watson and Geoff Aunger were back on the pitch for Seattle despite playing for Canada against Iran the previous day in Toronto (Iran won 0-1). Minnesota, fond of the counterattack, played a 5-3-2 formation with Todd Dusosky and Daniel Larumbe up front.
Just 45 seconds in, Gailey was off on a breakaway from the center circle when his marker whiffed at the ball, but Gailey couldn't keep the ball in front of himself, having to take an easily-saved 15-yarder as he was closed down by a defender.
Referee Kevin Yend nearly earned himself an assist when, inside the
Minnesota penalty area, he nodded a Seattle cross down for Hattrup to run
onto. Hattrup got to the ball at the corner of the goal area and shot,
but Pasquarello slid down at the near post to block and Hattrup's shot
off the rebound was cleared out by a defender on the goal line. Referee
Yend was really trying to get an assist this game - three more times he
would play a ball to an attacker who would nearly gain a shot.
Perhaps Yend could sense that this game would badly need a goal.
Still in the opening 10 minutes, Seattle newcomer Henry Gutierrez caught up with a long pass in the left corner and sent a promising cross diagonally to the top of the penalty area for Hattrup, who would have had an open shot on the first touch but instead tried to take two touches.
Dusosky took Minnesota's first shot when he headed over the bar from Sergei Gotsmanov's cross.
Minnesota was forced to substitute at 17' when John Menk limped off, replaced by Aaron Leventhal.
Kieran Barton scared the crowd when his close-in, pressured clearance of a rebound from a Minnesota shot hit the top near corner of the woodwork and went out, nearly an own goal.
15 yards out from the far post, Minnesota's Chris Foster outleaped Vicente Figueroa to get his head on a cross, but Hudock easily saved. Dusosky got free on the right on a counterattack and could have shot, but crossed for Don Gramenz, whose 10 yard shot from the left was saved by Hudock at the near post.
Seattle newcomer Figueroa nearly notched his first goal midway through the half when his low shot from a cleared Seattle corner kick hit the base of the far post and rebounded across the goal line, kicked away by Pasquarello just before it crossed the line.
The other way, Leventhal faked a shot from the 18-yard line and dished to Amos Magee, who had only Hudock to beat from 12 yards on the right, but Magee missed badly. Sounder defenders Scott Jenkins and Bernie James were too polite as they left a loose ball for each other, only to see Dusosky take it past them for a measured chip shot over Hudock, but the shot sailed over the goal as well.
For Seattle, Gailey at the far post headed on goal from a corner kick, but Pasquarello blocked the shot and Gailey sent the rebound wide of the far post.
Minnesota's Daniel Larumbe forced a diving save by Hudock near the end of the half. Barton took Seattle's last good chance of the half when his 30-yard rocket just missed the upper right corner.
Both teams might have scored, but at the half the scoreboard still showed zeroes.
The second half saw a game's worth of fouls, resulting in several chances from free kick plays. A Minnesota free kick went to John Coughlin for a 10-yard shot from the right, but he sent it wide of the near post. Hattrup earned a Seattle free kick when he was elbowed going for an air ball at the 18, but he just missed the upper near corner. For Minnesota, Mark Abboud sent a 30-yard free kick just wide of the lower right corner.
Seattle's Figueroa sent in a rocket from the left edge of the penalty area which Pasquarello could only block. Gutierrez put Hattrup through on the right and Hattrup crossed to the far post for Gelvezon, but his marker got there simultaneously to knock the ball away. From a long throw-in, Gailey headed just over the bar.
In the final 10 minutes of regulation, a Minnesota cross was cleared
into the path of Leventhal, whose sent back in a 25-yard blast to the upper
left corner, pushed wide by an airborne Hudock. Gotsmanov tried a 25-yarder
but was a yard wide right. In injury time, Sylvester tried another long
shot, saved by Hudock.
This being their third road game in five days, Minnesota looked ready to die in the sudden death overtime. Seattle outshot them 7-3 in the 15-minute period and earned some excellent chances, but still couldn't hit the target.
Minnesota got the first good chance, though, when Magee beat Jenkins, dribbled in to the goal line just outside the right post and crossed for Sylvester, whose 15-yard open shot just cleared the top far corner.
From Hattrup's corner kick for Seattle, Gailey volleyed on goal but right to Pasquarello's midsection.
Sylvester's shot deflected off a Seattle defender's back with top spin, forcing Hudock to leap high to stop the shot which was now diving towards the top right corner.
Down to the final two minutes, Gailey chested a service into Minnesota's penalty area and volleyed just over the bar. Hoggan's cross was redirected on goal by Geoff Aunger 8 yards out, but Pasquarello got just enough of the shot to deflect it wide for a corner. Gelvezon won a loose ball in the area on the left and volleyed just over the bar.
In injury time, Minnesota earned a free kick 20 yards out. The referee
had to break up a pushing and yelling match near the spot of the free kick.
Then it broke out again near the opposite touch line as the teams were
setting up for the free kick. Aunger got caught sinning this time and was
called to the goal line where he was shown his second yellow card and the
red card. The free kick was sent in near the far post where the ball rattled
around for a few seconds and was poked towards goal and
pounced on by Hudock. On the counterattack the Seattle cross was deflected but still fell for the intended recipient Gailey. Pasquarello did well to come out, giving Gailey no angle for the last second shot, which rebounded off Pasquarello over the touch line as the final whistle sounded, confirming the 0-0 draw.
Minnesota won the CrapShootout with a single goal, as Seattle couldn't hit the target in five tries.
Dusosky 0 (wide left) Gutierrez 0 (saved)
Abboud 0 (saved) Hattrup 0 (wide right)
Magee 0 (saved) James 0 (saved)
Gramenz 1 Hoggan 0 (saved)
Leventhal 0 (wide right) Gailey 0 (saved)