Last year at this time in the season, Pat Ianni was playing in the defensive line for Houston. Traded to Seattle before the start of the season, I doubt they ever considered he would be the one to hand them their second loss in two games, especially considering he did it with a bicycle kick.
Asked after the game when he last scored on a bicycle kick, Ianni said he was six years old. His coach, Brian Schmetzer (filling in for Sigi Schmid who was attending his son’s wedding), said, “If you would have told me before the game that we would have won the game on a bicycle kick and pick one of my players that was actually going to score the bicycle kick, Pat would have been like number nine.” In other words, Coach Schmetzer would have picked everyone except goal keeper Kasey Keller ahead of Pat Ianni to score that goal.
The scoring came early for Houston who looked on top of their game early. In the 12th minute, Houston midfielder Brian Mullan placed the ball in the middle for Brad Davis, who found plenty of space at 16 yards out. Davis controlled the ball and with no one closing him down, fired point blank and put the ball in the Sounders' net.
Seattle answered in the 32nd minute with a highly controversial goal by Fredy Montero. Stephen King and Nate Jaqua combined to work the ball to Montero in the goal area. Montero controlled Jaqua's long ball with his body and got off a shot on the run with his left foot. Dynamo defender Mike Chabala appeared to clear the ball as it reached the line but referee’s assistant Emiliano Monje ruled in Montero’s favor.
Houston coach Dominic Kinnear was adamant that the assistant was wrong, saying after the match, “I know for a fact it wasn’t in, and I know for a fact that the linesman was out of position. I know he’s wrong, and I’m sure he’ll watch it and know he’s made a mistake, but it’s too late.” Multiple replays from all angles prove inconclusive.
In or not, Montero’s goal set the table for Seattle to set another team record in their inaugural season. Seattle had not come back from being down 1-0 all season to win a match. The book on the Sounders was the score early on them. Going into halftime, it was a record that each player had to be thinking about.
Coming out of halftime, looking more energetic that Houston, Seattle paid to rest that record early. Steve Zakuani and Freddy Ljungberg combined on a corner that Ljungberg drove into the box from the right hand side. Zakuani headed it down to Ianni. It was in that split-second that Ianni made a decision and acted on it, flipping his body in the Pele inspired motion from six yards out. Even as he lay on the ground, Ianni wasn’t sure it had gone in.
"I didn't really hear any reaction. I knew I was four yards out, so I thought I would hear something a lot quicker than I did," Ianni said. "Fredy Montero shook me as if I had fallen asleep and was like 'Goal!' I was like, 'nice!'"
He added, "I looked in the goal to make sure I could celebrate and that he wasn't joking with me."
And with that celebration of only his second career goal, the first in over two years, Patrick Ianni gave Seattle the lead that they would never relinquish and their first ever come from behind win.
Up next for the Sounders FC is the friendly with English club Chelsea FC on the 18th followed by the US Open Cup match against Houston on the 21st. Seattle returns to league play by hosting the Chicago Fire on the 25th at Qwest Field.