Seattle Sounders 2 - 1 Orange County Zodiac
Renton Memorial Stadium, Renton, WA
4' OC: Soto
57' SEA: Hattrup (PK)
78' SEA: Henderson (Hattrup)
Seattle: Bill May; Kieran Barton, Jason Annicchero, Scott Jenkins (Peter Hattrup 46), Craig Waibel; Shan Gaw (Erik Storkson 46), Sean Henderson, Oliver Heald, Viet Nguyen (Randy Mann 73); Ian Russell, Mark Baena.
Orange County: Mike Littman; Peter Lak, Ken Hesse (Mike Robles
18), Brian Engesser (Shawn Saunders 8), Paul McDonnell (Gustavo Leal 85);
Martin Vasquez, Mark Foster, Jason Boyce, PJ Polowski; Eddie Soto, Steve
After six consecutive matches against the Pacific Division's two cellar dwellers, the Seattle Sounders took on the Orange County Zodiac, who are battling Seattle and Vancouver for second place. The Sounders dug themselves a hole in the 4th minute when an ill-advised back pass by Scott Jenkins put Orange County forward Eddie Soto free to beat goalkeeper Bill May. Early in the second half, Orange County's defense returned the favor, taking down Mark Baena inside the area as he tried to receive a cross with back to goal. Peter Hattrup put away the resultant penalty kick to level the score, then set up Sean Henderson for the match winner, a nice 25-yard strike. With the 2-1 win, Seattle have assured themselves of ownership of second place in the division for another week.
The match featured two of the A-League's leading contenders for the golden boot award, Seattle's Baena (20 goals) and Orange County's Steve Patterson (17). Neither striker was lucky this evening.
4' Soto. In the opening minutes, Sounders defender Jenkins gave Orange County a gift when his back pass was put in front of Soto, who ran onto the ball and put a low shot to the left, past the onrushing May. Without really earning it, the visitors were up 1-0.
Ian Russell's cross from the right at 13' went past goalkeeper Mike Littman at the near post and could have been easily finished by an attacker at the far post, but Jenkins reached the cross too late and Littman made it to the opposite post in time to push the shot wide for a corner kick. A broken corner kick play produced a shot from the right by Craig Waibel, but Littman again made the save.
At 18 minutes Orange County's defender Ken Hesse went down injured and was replaced by Mike Robles.
Ex-Husky Jason Boyce carried the ball up the left side and worked a give and go to fire a shot from the arc, just over the top left corner.
For Seattle, Jenkins was in front of goal under pressure to volley a long cross, but couldn't manage a good shot.
When Orange County couldn't earn any good chances, Robles tried a 35-yard prayer that was watched wide by May.
Halftime: Seattle 0 - 1 Orange County
In need of goals, coach Neil Megson changed Seattle's lineup from 4-4-2 to 3-4-3, with Hattrup replacing Jenkins and Erik Storkson entering for Shan Gaw. Three minutes in, the pair of substitutes connected for a chance, but Hattrup's cross was headed weakly on goal by Storkson.
A minute later Orange County had a free kick 25 yards out. Martin Vasquez rolled the free kick to the right of the wall and unmarked defender Paul McDonnell ran onto the ball with only the keeper to beat, but McDonnell sent the shot skyward.
57' Hattrup (PK). With his back to goal between the spot and the D, trying to trap a cross, Baena was kicked in the leg by defender Peter Lak and taken down. The unwise foul (Baena was covered well) gave the Sounders a penalty kick. Hattrup put the spot kick into the left side as Littman went the opposite way, and the match was level at 1-1.
The Zodiac's Patterson had a pressured chance from Vasquez' cross, but the header went just wide of goal.
Seattle's Jason Annicchero got his head on a free kick but couldn't direct the shot downward. Storkson headed wide from a half-chance created by Oliver Heald's serve.
78' Henderson (Hattrup). On a counterattack, Hattrup trapped the ball near the left touch line and served a square pass to the open Henderson, who took a look and then fired a shot past Littman and inside the far post. It was a nice strike, and it held up as the match winner.
With 6 minutes left, Orange County tried a couple of shots from inside the penalty area that were immediately blocked by defenders, with PJ Polowski heading the last rebound weakly on goal to give May his only save of the match.
Heald took Seattle's last good shot, a 25-yard rocket up the middle, but right at Littman.
The final minute saw three Orange County corner kicks, but the only shot generated was a long try by Boyce, blocked by a defender halfway to goal.
Final: Seattle 2 - 1 Orange County
Shots: SEA 12, OC 10
Saves: May 1, Littman 6
Corners: SEA 6, OC 7
Fouls: SEA 12, OC 7
Offside: SEA 1, OC 0
60' Soto (OC) cautioned for arguing about a restart called back.
61' Polowski (OC) cautioned for taking down Baena.
Referee: Ali Mohebbi; Asst. Refs: Mohammad Zarrabi-Kashani, John Snyder; 4th Official: Jeff Jarvis.