August 8, 2003

Three Former Men's Soccer Players Help A-League Team Pull Off Upset

Aug. 8, 2003

SEATTLE, Wash. - Before a sell-out standing room only crowd of 2,510 fans at the University of Washington Husky Soccer Field, through the steady rain the Seattle Sounders defeated the MLS San Jose Earthquakes 1-0 in the Fourth Round of the U.S. Open Cup. Former Broncos Sean Michael Callahan, Shawn Percell and Kyle Smith are members of the A-League team that pulled off the big upset.

Sounders Defender Zach Scott and the rest of the Sounders "D" held off the Earthquakes and their four U.S. National Team members scoreless, eliminating the MLS team from the nation wide tournament.

From the opening whistle, action was intense as the Sounders and Earthquakes, two of the top teams in their respective leagues, displayed top-notch soccer on the field. The Sounders scored the game winner in the later part of the first half on a Kyle Smith rocket into the bottom left corner.

In the first half the Sounders defense stepped up yet again as the Earthquakes applied the offensive pressure for periods of time, however Sounders Defender Zach Scott shut down the middle. The Sounders offense struck quick when the pushed the ball up the field. Sounders Forward Marco Velez took an early shot but sent the ball over the goal.

Midfielder Alex Bengard had a huge defensive stop in the first half on right side of the goal on an Earthquakes corner taken by Manny Lagos. Lagos sent a shot to Forward Brian Ching who shot the ball toward the goal, however Bengard was in the right place to stop the shot with his right thigh.

Sounders Forward Kyle Smith scored the only goal of the game midway through the first half. Midfielder Andrew Gregor sent a through ball from the top of the box as Earthquakes keeper Pat Onstad charged the ball. The ball curved around to a driving Smith who drilled shot far post to a diving Onstad.

The Earthquakes took six shots in the first half to the Sounders four. One of the Earthquakes shots by Lagos was rocketed as Sounders keeper Rich Cullen dove and snagged the ball in mid-flight.

The Sounders defense kept up the intensity in the second half even with the entry of Earthquakes and U.S. National Team Superstar Landon Donnovan, the defense held their own. Donnovan had two quick shots within a matter of seconds upon entry in the 57th minute.

The Earthquakes kept up their sustained offensive spurts throughout the half, controlling the ball for most of the final 45 minutes, as the Sounders had zero shot attempts in the second half.

The Earthquakes certainly remained inches from tying the game on several occasions, taking a total of 12 shots in the second half. In the final minutes of the game the Earthquakes had a few corners and free kicks on penalties by the Sounders. In the 88th minute the Earthquakes' Lagos sent a free kick towards the goal only to have it deflected by the head of a Sounders defender toward the sideline as the Sounders "D" foiled yet another offense strike.

The final minutes of the game were four "stoppage" time minutes that kept the 2,510 fans on the edge of their seats as the Earthquakes applied the pressure.

A charging save by Cullen in extra time sealed the win for the Sounders as they pushed the ball up field, as the Sounders advance to the Quarter finals to play the L.A. Galaxy on August 27th at Seahawks Stadium.

Former Sounder forward now Earthquake and U.S. National Team participant Brian Ching was the offensive threat for the Earthquakes in the game attempting four shots throughout the game. In the second half Ching had a solid shot from mid box on the right side, however Cullen dove and sucked in the ball posting two of his nine great saves against his former teammate.

The Sounders played yet another aggressive game on the field. The intensity was at full speed for the full 90 minutes. There were a total of eight yellow cards including one by Donnovan in the 90th min.