Sounders Header September 6, 1997

A-League Playoffs, Round of 16

Seattle Sounders  2 - 0  Colorado Foxes
Figueroa (S) 70
Rodriguez (S) 90

Seattle: Hudock; James, McNiel, Jenkins; Barton, Kinoshita, Hoggan, Figueroa (84' Gelvezon), Gutierrez; Storkson (86' Fry), Gailey (46' Rodriguez).

Colorado: Harrington; Lipp, Demmin, Tomlin; DiGiamarino (58' Wescott), Tadlock, Guthrie, Lujan (78' Siersbaek), Ashton; Paule, Patterson.

Cautions: Ashton (C), Gutierrez (S), Figueroa (S), Tomlin (C), Tomlin (C)

Sent off: Tomlin (C)

Referee: Mohammed Zharrabi-Kashani

Attendance: 6,927 (Season High)

Ron Stickney writes:

Both teams poured a lot of effort into this game, but Seattle won 2-0 behind late goals by a pair of talented 20-year-olds, Vicente Figueroa and Esmundo Rodriguez. Figueroa scored from a 20-yard line drive and Rodriguez got a breakaway goal in the final minute from an unusual throw-in play - more on that later in this report.

First Half

Henry Gutierrez took Seattle's first shot, a 25-yard blast that was fisted away by Colorado keeper Trey Harrington. The scramble for the rebound led to a prayer shot by Erik Storkson, who had scored the first goal against Colorado in the first leg of the series, but his shot was just over the bar.

Chad Ashton's 20-yarder was Colorado's first shot, and Seattle keeper Dusty Hudock fell on it for the save.

On the small pitch at Memorial Stadium, players were closed down so fast that neither team could muster any more good chances until midway in the half. Then Seattle had a few good attempts. Mike Gailey headed a cross on goal, but right to Harrington. David Hoggan's 25-yard free kick was saved at the near post by a diving Harrington. Hoggan was tripped near
the halfway line and took the free kick while still sitting on the turf, leading to Gutierrez' long shot from the left, forcing another Harrington save. Near the end of the half, Hoggan's 25-yard attempt was over by a yard.

Seattle outshot Colorado in the first half 12-5, but none of the shots looked good enough to find the net.

Second Half

Early in the second half, Stoner Tadlock's speed earned Colorado a cross from the goal line, but Steve Patterson's pressured shot was well over. Seattle's Kieran Barton sent in a blast from the right that was fisted away by Harrington for a save. Gutierrez' dribbling skill let him penetrate for a shot from the right that just missed the far post.

Midway in the half Colorado's Aaron Lujan sent in a wicked 30-yard blast from the left that had some mustard on it, and Hudock could only manage to push it over the bar.

70' Figueroa (Kinoshita). Under pressure, Seattle's Kei Kinoshita got a foot on an attempted clearance from Colorado's penalty area and sent the ball to his left for Figueroa, who quickly fired a 20-yard shot into the upper left corner, putting Seattle on the scoreboard. After the goal, Figueroa and Tadlock exchanged words from close range and Figueroa was shown the yellow card, presumably for his choice of words.

Rodriguez, who had come on for Gailey at halftime, got free on the right for a shot, but missed a yard to the right when he had time to aim better.

For Colorado, Carsten Siersbaek came on for Aaron Lujan and immediately got free on the right for a 10-yard shot. Hudock got down to block the shot with his hand, and Bryan McNiel cleared the rebound over the goal line, coming within a foot of scoring an own goal.

In the final ten minutes, David Hoggan's shot from the right forced a diving save by Harrington, then a Hoggan cross to the far post gave Storkson a great ball to head, but he headed well wide of the target and was disappointed with himself.

In the 87th and 88th minutes Colorado's Ray Tomlin received a pair of yellow cards, and hence a red card, for a pair of rough fouls on Rodriguez and Chance Fry, who had just come on for Storkson.

90' Rodriguez (Jenkins). Rodriguez clinched the game for Seattle with a goal in the final minute from a throw-in play I've not seen before. Scott Jenkins took the throw-in from near the halfway line, throwing the ball to Fry, who was marked by the last defender. Just before the throw-in was taken, Rodriguez sneaked in 5 yards behind Fry, in offside territory. Fry looked like he was going to trap the throw-in, but at the last instant he turned sideways and let the ball go past his chest to Rodriguez. All of the Colorado defenders were caught flat-footed as Rodriguez calmly dribbled the ball in from 45 yards out with no defender giving chase. Rodriguez waited until Harrington committed, then sent a 15-yard shot into the ceiling of the net, giving Seattle the 2-0 lead. Fry's best touch of the game was the touch he didn't make. If Fry had played the ball to Rodriguez, the offside flag would have gone up. But Rodriguez was not offside because he took the ball directly from a throw-in.
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