Swangard Stadium, Burnaby, BC (attendance: 6,782)
A dramatic 90th minute goal by midfielder John Sulentic gave the Whitecaps the three-goal margin of victory they needed to advance to the A-League semi-finals. Vancouver now faces the Hershey Wildcats, with the opening game at Swangard Stadium this Wednesday, October 3, in a 7:30 p.m. start.
With the total-goal series deadlocked at three apiece late in regulation, it looked like it was going to overtime when Sulentic scored his second goal of the game with a vicious shot that surprised everyone, particularly Flash keeper Matt Hall who faced 22 shots. Sulentic ended the night with two goals and an assist.
Needing a big win to avoid elimination, Vancouver started quickly, as six minutes in forward Darren Tilley scored his first goal in three months, then Sulentic made it 2-0 in the 17th to level the series at 2-2. The two teams traded goals before half-time, while the second half was sustained Vancouver pressure. Goalkeeper Hall made two brilliant saves off Jason Jordan, point blank at 67' and a diving one-hander at 87', and also watched while a Sulentic blast thundered off the bar in the 56th minute.
Vancouver's two-game total-goal semi-final series with Hershey opens Wednesday at home and concludes Saturday on the road. Hershey defeated the Portland Timbers 1-0 at home on Saturday to win their series 3-0. In other action, hosts Rochester Raging Rhinos defeated the Pittsburgh Riverhounds 3-0 to win their series 4-2. Rochester awaits the winner of the Milwaukee-Richmond series which concludes Sunday.
G: Lars Hirschfeld
D: Jeff Skinner, Rick Titus, Chris Franks, Steve McCauley (Nico Berg 79')
M: John Sulentic, Kevin Holness, Oliver Heald, Steve Kindel
F: Darren Tilley, Jason Jordan
6' Vanc Darren Tilley (John Sulentic)
Sulentic's cross from deep on the right was headed in by Tilley from 5 yards
17' Vanc John Sulentic (Kevin Holness)
Sulentic drilled it low and in on the rebound from Holness' shot
26' S.D. Chugger Adair (Carlos Calderson)
Adair headed in from the Flash's third consecutive corner kick.
42' Vanc Steve Kindel (Jason Jordan)
Jordan laid it back for Kindel, whose shot took a deflection into the bottom right corner.
90' Vanc John Sulentic (Darren Tilley)
Tilley flicked it to Sulentic at the top right corner of the box and he faked to cross before blasting a 16-yard shot that fooled keeper Matt Hall, going in off his hands.
Team Shots Keepers Saves GA
San Diego 3 Matt Hall 5 4
Vancouver 22 Lars Hirschfeld 1 1
Alan Douglas, Soccer Information
Vancouver Whitecaps and Breakers Soccer Clubs