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Late PK puts Seattle on top; Sounders beat Vics 1-0 in San Francisco

August 19, 2007 - USL First Division (USL-1) - California Victory News Release

SAN FRANCISCO (August 18, 2007) -- A late second-half penalty was just enough to help the Seattle Sounders to a 1-0 result over the California Victory at Kezar Stadium, San Francisco Saturday. The win puts the Sounders top of the USL First Division.

Leighton O'Brien converted a contentious 80th minute decision after Victory defender Kiel McClung was judged to have pulled down a Seattle player in the box.

McClung was then ejected in the final minutes of the game as tempers flared in a contest the California Victory felt they should have won.

The home side had all the best chances of the night, with Hugo Casillas hitting the post and Yuri Morales having a header saved late in the second half. But for all their efforts, the home side couldn't find the net and have now gone five league games without a goal.

The Sounders arrived in San Francisco determined to pick up all three points, knowing a win would put them top of the table. But from the onset they appeared content to soak up the pressure and allow the Vics dominate the game.

Despite starting 'keeper Eric Reed out injured and an unorthodox lineup featuring attack-minded midfielders Chuck Kim and Omar Aguayo in the back four, the Victory impressed the Kezar faithful with plenty of possession, but found it tough to penetrate the organized Seattle defense.

Mike Munoz recorded the game's first attempt on goal by turning his defender at the edge of a box before firing off a shot -- reminiscent of the Vic's first-ever goal in Vancouver -- but Seattle stopper Chris Eyelan collected easily.

At the 28th minute the Victory's "El Trí" -- Hugo Casillas, Ricardo Sanchez and Omar Aguayo -- produced a nice overlapping move along the left wing but the quality was lacking in the final pass leaving Eyelan to again recover.

Seattle had first-half chances through O'Brien and defender Graham Taylor, whose header clipped the cross bar, but in the first 45 it was all Victory and the visitors were lucky to go into the break with the game scoreless.

Early in the second half Casillas hit the post after linking up with Yuri Morales, and at 68' Seattle's O'Brien pounced on a loose ball threaded through the midfield, only to shoot wide left of Dominik Jakubek's goal.

But the match reached its unlikely conclusion at the 79th minute when Kiel McClung, who was otherwise superb on the night -- bundled a Sounder down at the inside edge of the box after a mix up with 'keeper Jakubek. The ref had no choice but to award a penalty kick, which O'Brien duly converted.

Morales almost leveled the game seconds later after the restart, but his header was saved well.

However, the game ended on a sour not after McClung committed a cynical foul at the halfway line, drawing a straight red from the referee.

Seattle takes sole possession of the top spot with the win tonight, but the Vics will feel they deserved more from this absorbing game having controlled much of the play.

The two sides complete the three-game series on Sept 6. when the Victory travels to Seattle for its final road game of 2007. California returns home on Sept. 8 to play its final league game of the season against fellow expansion side Carolina Railhawks.

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