Sounders Header September 4, 1997

A-League Playoffs, Round of 16

 Colorado Foxes 0 - 3 Seattle Sounders
Storkson (S) 20
Gailey (S) 26
Hoggan (S) 84

Colorado: Hernandez; Demmin, Lipp, Tomlin, DiGiamarino (Nunley 66); Guthrie (Roselli 88), Paule, Lujan, Ashton (Pinto 88); Siersbaek (Adams 46), Wescott.

Seattle: Hudock; James, McNiel, Barton; Kinoshita, Hoggan, Hattrup (Gelvezon 81), Figueroa; Gutierrez, Storkson (Fry 73), Gailey.

Cautions: Figueroa (S), Guthrie (C)

Shots: Col 21, Sea 17
Saves: Hernandez 7, Hudock 8
Corners: Col 7, Sea 3
Fouls: Col 13, Sea 14
Offsides: Col 3, Sea 5

Referee: Bettmann

Henry Gutierrez and David Hoggan conspired to set up all of the goals as the Seattle Sounders opened their playoff run with a solid 3-0 victory over the Colorado Foxes in Colorado. Erik Storkson headed in the first goal in his first start for the Sounders, finishing a rebound off the woodwork from David Hoggan's shot, which was set up by Gutierrez' through pass. Mike Gailey added a goal in the first half with a first-touch shot from Gutierrez' cross after a give and go with Hoggan. Hoggan closed out the scoring in the 84th minute, converting a penalty kick awarded after a Gutierrez shot went off the hand of a Colorado defender.

 Seattle was playing without Canadians Geoff Aunger (called up by the Canadian national team for World Cup qualifiers) and Mark Watson (loaned to Swedish Oester IF, but also with the Canadian national team for a couple of weeks). Also missing were rookie-of-the-year candidate Scott Jenkins (red-carded the previous match) and Chugger Adair (still recuperating from surgery on Aug 5 for a torn meniscus in his left knee). Colorado was missing their top goal scorer, rookie forward Steve Patterson (knee injury).

 The Sounders benefited from Seattle-like weather (cool and rainy), rather than the hot, sunny weather they experienced in the same stadium 11 days earlier when they lost to Colorado 1-0.

 This match report is a bit abbreviated, as I was listening to the game on the radio while I was running a practice for the U-15 soccer team I coach.

 First Half Craig Demmin came forward from Colorado's back line to take the game's first shot, but was wide of the far post. Seattle got their first chance from a free kick just outside the penalty area when Storkson was pushed. Gutierrez' free kick was around the wall and on goal, but saved by Colorado keeper Fernando Hernandez, who had shut out the Sounders 11 days earlier. Peter Hattrup took another early shot for Seattle, but his chip was just over the corner of the goal.

 At 14' Colorado's Demmin headed the ball into the net from a corner kick play, but the offside flag was up and the referee signaled for a Seattle free kick.

 Gutierrez found Gailey free on the right for another good chance, but Gailey's shot was saved by Hernandez.

 20' Storkson (Hoggan). On a counterattack, Gutierrez set Hoggan free with a through pass. Hoggan took a shot from 25 yards and hit the upper corner of the goal. The ball bounced down onto the goal line and up for Storkson to head in for the 1-0 Seattle lead. Storkson was the only player following up Hoggan's shot.

 Gutierrez soon had his own chance to score when he was served the ball while unmarked, but Hernandez saved Gutierrez' shot.

 26' Gailey (Gutierrez). On another Seattle counterattack, Gutierrez worked a wall pass with Hoggan, who sent the return pass toward the right corner. Gutierrez beat a man in the corner and served a cross past three defenders to Gailey, seven yards out from the near post. Gailey beat Hernandez with a first-touch shot to put Seattle up 2-0.

 Colorado put strong pressure on Seattle's 3-man back line the rest of the half. Carsten Siersbaek went in with just Seattle goalkeeper Dusty Hudock to beat, but the shot hit the far post and rebounded back onto the field for Vicente Figueroa to clear from danger. Joey DiGiamarino, who scored the lone goal against Seattle in their previous meeting, dribbled into the area and dished to Chad Ashton, whose shot missed badly. A ball was served to an open Siersbaek at the 18, but Hudock came all the way out to break up Siersbaek's chip shot.

 At the half, Colorado had outshot Seattle 14-10 and earned five corner kicks to Seattle's one, but the Sounders led 2-0 in the most important statistic, goals.

 Second Half

 Seattle kept up their strong performance for the whole second half, continuing to earn good shots. The rain came down hard late in the game and at 80' I heard a loud burst of thunder over the radio.

 84' Hoggan (PK). Gutierrez' shot was deflected off the hand of Ray Tomlin in the Colorado penalty area. The referee whistled, pointed to the spot, and Hoggan put away the penalty kick to give Seattle a safe 3-0 lead.

 The Foxes and Sounders will finish the playoff series Saturday, Sep 6, 7:00 in Seattle. The series winner will advance to the second round, where the Pacific Division champion will be determined in a series with either Vancouver or California.

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