The Seattle Sounders narrowly edged-out their competition, the Richmond Kickers, in the USL First Division Championship game Saturday in Seattle. The Sounders won their third title as USL First Division champions; the Rochester Raging Rhinos are the only three-time league champs. The game attested to the heart and desire of both teams.
Richmond went ahead early, quieting the Seattle stadium in the 24th minute. Richmond midfielder Sascha Gorres scored from 30 yards out. Seattle did not even the score until the 73rd minute when forward Mikael Galindo put the ball in the back of the net after a series of deflections. The game remained scoreless for the rest of regulation. The two teams finished the game 10 v 10 after two ejections late in the game. Seattle’s C.J. Klaas and Richmond’s Joey Worthen received red cards in the 82 minute after a short scuffle in front of the Sounders goal.
Overtime played out much like regulation, with lots of incredible chances for both sides, but no goals. After 90 minutes of regulation and two fifteen minute overtimes, the game was decided on penalty kicks. After 120 minutes of exhausting play, the teams continued their draw through six rounds of penalty kicks. In the seventh round, retiring Seattle defender, Scott Jenkins, ended his career in amazing fashion; he scored the game-winning goal of the championship in front of his home crowd.
Richmond rose to the occasion after making it the championship with only one win in their final 16 games. Seattle lost in the championship game last year to Montreal. This year’s championship makes three for Seattle, adding to their titles from 1995 and 1996.
Round One: Seattle: Andrew Gregor - Goal
Richmond: Matthew Delicate - Miss
Round Two: Seattle: Leighton O’Brien - Goal
Richmond: Robert Ssejjemba - Save
Round Three: Seattle: Roger Levesque - Save
Richmond: Sascha Gorres - Goal
Round Four: Seattle: Ben Somoza - Miss
Richmond: Tony Williams - Goal
Round Five: Seattle: Taylor Graham - Save
Richmond: Kevin Jeffrey – Miss
Round Six: Seattle: Kevin Sakuda - Goal
Richmond: Matt Pauls – Goal
Round Seven: Seattle: Scott Jenkins - Goal
Richmond: Ronnie Pascale - Miss