Seattle Sounders 2 - 1 Portland Timbers
Memorial Stadium, Seattle, WA
32' POR - Sawatzky (PK)
62' SEA - Jenkins (O'Brien)
110' SEA - Kinoshita (Smith)
Seattle: Preston Burpo; Kieran Barton, Scott Jenkins, Mike Casale, Ryan Edwards; Kei Kinoshita, Jeremy Sweet (Kyle Smith 45'), Leighton O'Brien; Jason Farrell, Viet Nguyen, Rees Bettinger.
Portland: Matt Napoleon; Gavin Wilkinson
(Jesus Ochoa 45'), Brent Sancho, Matt Chulis, Jeff Clarke; Brian Winters,
Vadim Tolstolutsky (Neil Ryan 52'), Scott Benedetti, Michael O'Neill; Darren
Sawatzky, Mark Baena (Tony McPeak 76').
The match was hotly contested, just a day after the two teams battled each other to a 2-0 Timbers win in Portland's home opener. The match wanted a top referee, and one of the USA's best, Ricardo Valenzuela, carried the whistle. Valenzuela worked hard to maintain civility and player health, issuing seven yellow cards and, after one incident, a red to each side. There were some tough decisions, some drawing protest from the home fans, but the referee in us thought Valenzuela and his crew did a fine job in a very tough A-League match.
After being shut out the first two matches of the season, coach Bernie James moved Jason Farrell and Viet Nguyen from outside midfielders to forwards, giving them more freedom to roam. Still no goals from the forwards, but the D/M types (Jenkins and Kinoshita) knocked in the pair to find a way to win.
The match was fiercely competed from the start, with Portland's Brian Winters getting a stern warning from Valenzuela in just the 2nd minute.
Seattle came out firing. In the 3rd, Nguyen chested a drop to Rees Bettinger for a 20-yard shot at the lower near corner, comfortably saved by Napoleon. From a long free kick into the area, Jenkins' header from 10 yards just missed an exposed top far corner. From a broken corner kick play, Nguyen's cross rattled around in front of goal and Ryan Edwards managed a header from 8 yards, but right up the middle to Napoleon. In the 19th, Farrell's cross from the right was headed at the top near corner by Mike Casale and slapped away by the leaping Napoleon.
Portland's first shot came in the 22nd when Michael O'Neill's cross from the right went past goal for a Mark Baena header at the near side, caught on a bounce by goalkeeper Preston Burpo. It was all Portland for the next 10 minutes. Baena got a chance from a cross to the right side when he sidestepped the defender and fired nicely at the top near corner from 15, but Burpo flew to slap the ball wide for a corner. In the same minute, Baena on the right sent in a cross past goal for a Sawatzky shot from 10 yards, past Burpo but deftly trapped at the far post and cleared by Edwards.
32' Sawatzky (PK). Baena carried the ball deep into the penalty area from the left side. Near the end line left of goal, Edwards was leaning on Baena's back and tangled feet with him. Most Seattle fans thought that Baena could have kept his feet, but down he went and Edwards on top of him, and Valenzuela whistled and pointed to the spot. Sawatzky sent the penalty kick accurately at the lower left corner, and Burpo dove to get his hands on it, but the shot had too much mustard on it and got through to the side netting. 0-1 Portland.
The rest of the half was all Seattle. From a 35th-minute free kick play, Bettinger got a shot in close but hit the base of the near post, and Seattle's rebound attempt was deflected wide for a corner. From the corner kick play, Nguyen dropped to Leighton O'Brien, whose 20-yarder was blasted straight as a laser beam and just an inch over the bar. Farrell crossed from the right flag to the far post for Nguyen, who was closely marked to force the header wide.
In the 40th, a cleared corner kick was carried back back in and served to the near post for Bettinger, who headed square to the other post for Nguyen, whose shot was closed down, blocked and collected by Napoleon. Farrell and Jenkins had chances from headers in the final minutes of the half, but missed by a few yards.
Halftime: Seattle 0 - 1 Portland
Seattle again came out firing to open the half. Bettinger sent a cross past goal for a wide open header by Jenkins with Napoleon stuck on the line, but Jenkins sent it just wide of the far post and fell to his knees, looking skyward and holding his head in disbelief. His prayer would be answered on his next shot.
Edwards got a head on a long O'Brien free kick but couldn't reach enough of the ball to put it on goal. Farrell served ahead for Nguyen, who blistered the ball from 12 yards but sent it right at Napoleon's head and the keeper parried the shot down and caught it on the bounce. Kinoshita earned a 20-yard volley from the left but missed by a mile.
62' Jenkins (O'Brien). O'Brien sent in a perfect cross to the near post from the left side, and Jenkins beat Napoleon to the ball and redirected it into goal past the keeper. The relief of the players and the fans was palpable, this being the Sounders' first goal of the season in their 3rd match. 1-1.
Matt Chulis found Baena open in the area for what would be Portland's only shot of the half, but Baena shot well over the bar from 10 yards.
Seattle got a scare when Burpo unwisely chose to distribute to defender Mike Casale, who had Baena on his back. Baena won the ball and broke up the right side alone before crossing to the speedy Sawatzky, but a defender managed to break up the attack at the spot and Burpo dove on the loose ball.
In the 70th, Nguyen fed Edwards out from the near post for a shot that forced a diving save by Napoleon. O'Brien's 35-yard shot was aimed nicely at the top far corner, but Napoleon was equal to the challenge.
The teams exceeded referee Valenzuela's limit of patience in the 75th minute. O'Neill was all over Nguyen's back and holding him for a few seconds before Valenzuela finally whistled a foul, then Nguyen gave a sharp push in retaliation. Valenzuela called both players over but Nguyen, who already had one of the match's 5 yellows, got far from the referee. Most of both teams approached Valenzuela for some rapid negotiation, surely reminding him that Nguyen had already been cautioned. Surprisingly, Valenzuela arbitrated the conflict by going straight to the red card for first Nguyen, then O'Neill. Both players left the pitch, O'Neill rather in disbelief. Valenzuela apparently thought that the best way to maintain civility was to send off one from each side.
From the free kick play following the double send-off, Seattle put the ball in the net but assistant referee Neil Pinski flagged a foul at the goal line to negate the goal. Substitute Kyle Smith had headed the ball on goal and it found its way through the hands of the leaping Napoleon. With the ball heading into goal, Bettinger tried to finish it and bumped a defender who was trying to also reach the ball. A foul was called against Bettinger and play was restarted with a Portland free kick.
Seattle kept on attacking. Edwards' volley was deflected out for a corner. Farrell's blast from the right was blocked by Napoleon and cleared by a defender. O'Brien sent a free kick sideways for a Farrell low shot from 25, and Napoleon dove left to save at the far post. A cross found Bettinger open in the area out from the right post, but with only Napoleon to beat, Bettinger miskicked and shot well wide.
In the 90th, O'Brien sent a free kick past the far post for Jenkins, whose header settled on the top of the net. Edwards' forced a save with a header.
90 Minutes: Seattle 1 - 1 Portland
Portland substitute Neil Ryan got a chance from the corner of the penalty area to open the extra time period, but shot well over the bar. It would be Portland's only shot in 20 minutes of extra time.
In the 93rd, Smith headed to Bettinger 5 yards out from the near post, but Bettinger's first shot rebounded off Napoleon's chest and the putback was kicked clear by Napoleon.
At 95', Farrell put through a short pass for Bettinger, but Napoleon slid out and Bettinger shot just as Napoleon slid to the ball. Bettinger went tumbling over Napoleon, and the keeper needed a few minutes of recovery before the match was continued.
Kinoshita, showing a burst of energy in the final 10 minutes, won a ball for a 25-yard shot up the middle that just missed the top left corner. Smith got a 30-yard chance from the left, but rushed the shot and curled it the wrong way. Farrell's shot from the left after a Bettinger pass was cleared away by a diving Napoleon, and Kieran Barton fired the rebound back in from 20 yards, missing the near post by a yard.
110' Kinoshita (Smith). The match winner was a golden goal, indeed. In the final minute, a ball sent from the Seattle end by Barton was flicked on by Smith's head toward the arc. Kinoshita and Napoleon ran at the ball full-speed. Kinoshita got there first and jumped feet-first to half-volley the ball up and over the onrushing Napoleon, then Napoleon flattened Kinoshita. With Naopleon on top of Kinoshita, everyone watched the slow motion as the ball drew a perfect parabola to its zenith 20 feet in the air and down, just under the center of the cross bar, and onto the floor of the goal. 2-1 Seattle.
Final: Seattle 2 - 1 Portland
Shots: 35 6
Saves: 2 13
Corners: 8 4
Fouls: 33 29
Offsides: 3 2
10' SEA - Nguyen cautioned for tripping Clarke from behind near the halfway line.
23' POR - Sancho cautioned for tripping Bettinger.
29' SEA - Edwards cautioned for a foul at the halfway line.
35' POR - Chulis cautioned after a Seattle corner kick play for some sort of misconduct.
45' POR - Clarke cautioned for sliding under Edwards late.
75' SEA and POR - Nguyen and O'Neill sent off for an altercation when O'Neill fouled Nguyen near the halfway line.
78' POR - Benedetti cautioned for fouling Farrell after a Farrell throw-in.
106' SEA - Smith cautioned for a late foul on Clarke.
Referee: Ricardo Valenzuela; Asst Refs: Neil Pinski, Kevin Boisen; 4th: