Sounders win championship in extra lengthy finale
The Seattle Sounders' third league championship was good to the last drop. The drama dripped until the very end. Extra time. Extra kicks kicks. Extra...
Special to The Seattle Times
The Seattle Sounders' third league championship was good to the last drop.
The drama dripped until the very end.
Extra time. Extra kicks. Extra special.
Scott Jenkins, who has announced he will retire after the season, delivered the game-winning penalty kick as the Sounders escaped with a 2-1 shootout victory over the Richmond Kickers last night in the United Soccer Leagues (USL) First Division championship match in front of 8,011 fans at Qwest Field.
Jenkins went out in style after his decisive penalty kick in the seventh round glanced in. Seattle (19-8-12) celebrated the franchise's third title when Richmond goalkeeper Ronnie Pascale, the team's final shootout kicker, bounced his shot off the top of the crossbar.
"Somebody reminded me afterward that my last touch of a ball is a winning goal, and that's pretty cool," said Jenkins, 31, who played all nine seasons as a pro for the Sounders. "It's storybook. It's a nice way to go out. How can you beat going out like this?"
Seattle won the penalty-kick shootout 4-3.
Richmond (14-11-12) had a chance to win on the final shootout kick of Round 5, but Kevin Jeffrey's attempt went high over the crossbar.
"I was prepared for the worst," Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said before Jeffrey's try. "I planned what I was going to tell the team after we lost and how we were going to regroup for next year."
Instead, Schmetzer and his players let the champagne flow in the locker room. Seattle made its fourth title-game appearance since the franchise's rebirth in 1994 and sixth overall.
The Sounders lost 2-0 to the Montreal Impact in last year's championship.
Seattle goalkeeper Preston Burpo made six crucial saves in the match and earned Most Valuable Player honors for the match.
"How this guy is not in MLS [Major League Soccer] is beyond me," Jenkins said of Burpo. "He's the best goalkeeper in the league, hands down."
Seattle also sent out assistant coach Jimmy Gabriel, a Sounders legend, a winner. Gabriel is retiring from coaching pro soccer.
"That was the best storyline for Jimmy and for Scott," said Schmetzer. "You can't ask for a better script."
Cuban defector Maykel Galindo tied the match 1-1 in the 73rd minute on a rebound follow-up at point-blank range at the right post. Galindo, playing in his fifth match for Seattle since leaving his home country while playing in Seattle for the CONCACAF Gold Cup on July 9, scored his first goal as a Sounder by hustling to a loose ball for a sliding shot. The scoring play started on a 40-yard free kick by Leighton O'Brien that was headed from the left side by Taylor Graham to the head of a diving Ryan Edwards. The ball then bounced to Galindo.
The Kickers claimed a 1-0 lead in the 24th minute on a left-footed blast from 28 yards away by midfielder Sascha Gorres, who stuck the shot in the upper left corner of the net after gathering in a loose ball.
A wide-open Gorres collected the ball, shot past a charging defender and struck it expertly into the only place Burpo couldn't reach.
• The Sounders' last championships came back to back in the A-League in 1995 and 1996. They lost a pair of title matches in the old North American Soccer League to the New York Cosmos in 1977 and 1982.
• The last time the Sounders hosted a championship was in 1996 at Memorial Stadium. Seattle beat Rochester 2-1.
|Richmond Kickers||1 0 0 0 0 — 1|
|Seattle Sounders||0 1 0 0 1 — 2|
Shootout goals — Ric 3 (Görres, Tony Williams, Matt Pauls), Sea 4 (Andrew Gregor, Leighton O'Brien, Kevin Sakuda, Scott Jenkins). Shots — Ric 13, Sea 16. Saves — Ric (Ronnie Pascale) 2, Sea (Preston Burpo) 6. Fouls — Ric 18, Sea 16. Offsides — Ric 5, Sea 3. Corner kicks — Ric 6, Sea 5. Cautions — Ric (Chris Carrieri 17:00, Tim Brown 19:00, Mike Burke 29:00), Sea (Zach Scott 19:00, Ryan Edwards 45:00, C.J. Klaas 65:00, Andrew Gregor 79:00). Ejections — Ric (Joey Worthen 82:00), Sea (Klaas 82:00). Attendance — 8,011. Overall records — Ric 14-11-12; Sea 19-8-12.