2003 May 1
Portland Timbers 0 - 1 Seattle Sounders
PGE Park, Portland, OR
35' SEA - Smith (Bengard)
Portland: Curtis Spiteri; Gavin Wilkinson, Bryn Ritchie, Aaron Heinzen; Nick Downing (Ryan Youngblood 73'), Lee Morrison (Fadi Afash 66'), Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar, Brian Winters, Jason Melendez; Scott Benedetti, Daniel Antoniuk (Byron Alvarez 77'). Substitutes not used: Cole Burgman, Jake Vaughn, McKinley Tennyson.
Seattle: Preston Burpo (Rich Cullen 19'); Danny Jackson, Zach Scott, Ryan Edwards; Viet Nguyen, Andrew Gregor, Leighton O'Brien, Alex Bengard, Jason Farrell; Sean-Michael Callahan (Kevin Sakuda 77'), Kyle Smith (Marco Velez 89'). Substitutes not used: Greg Foisie, Matt Hulen, Darren Sawatzky, Craig Tomlinson.
Match report by Ron Stickney:
The Seattle Sounders started the 2003 season the same way they did the previous season, with an away win away against the Portland Timbers. Kyle Smith scored the lone goal in the first half, knocking in a cross from Alex Bengard. Just like last year, the match doubled as a US Open Cup qualifier, as will tomorrow's rematch between the same teams in Seattle.
The win was sobered by an unfortunate injury to Sounders goalkeeper Preston Burpo just 15 minutes into the season. Burpo may have suffered a broken jaw and broken teeth in a collision with sweeper Danny Jackson.
Seattle's new away kits were a problem. First of all, they were not in the traditional colors from the NASL days, which is what we were hoping for. The shirts were forest green with accents in grass green. Shorts were forest green and socks were grass green. The silk screener's white ink reportedly didn't work on the Nike shirts, so they put black numbers on the dark green! The numbers were unreadable, even from nearby.
Portland's rookie striker Daniel Antoniuk had the first chance just past the minute mark, sprung from the halfway line to chase a long through ball, but Burpo got to it at the 18 just as Antoniuk arrived, and the shot was blocked. Antoniuk was dangerous early, showing a knack for winning through balls.
Seattle's Sean-Michael ("Shmike") Callahan, who surprisingly started as one of the two forwards rather than as a midfielder, forced Curtis Spiteri to make the first save of the match on an 18-yard shot.
For the Timbers, rookie Jason Melendez came close, getting to a cleared ball at the corner of the area and firing a rising shot that went a foot over the bar. In the 12th, Antoniuk was tripped just outside the penalty area and Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar curled the free kick a yard wide of the top near corner.
In the 14th, Seattle's Viet Nguyen was tripped 25 yards from goal and Andrew Gregor curled his free kick around the far post.
Then in the 15th minute tragedy struck. Gregor's square pass across the back line was deflected into the penalty area by Antoniuk. Near the penalty spot, Antoniuk and Jackson converged on the ball as Burpo dove at it. Jackson cleared the dangerous ball over the touch line but in the process kneed Burpo in the jaw. Jackson was down for a minute and it took several before Burpo could get up and walk off the pitch. Burpo was taken to a hospital for what is likely a broken jaw and broken teeth. He was scheduled for surgery later that evening. Rich Cullen came on for Burpo.
The next good chance was Seattle's, when Gregor's rising shot from a cleared ball was a half yard over the bar.
A Portland free kick from the touch line gave Lee Morrison a chance with a 15-yard header, sent just wide of the lower far corner.
Back Seattle's way, Callahan dished it sideways to Farrell with just one defender goal side of them, and Farrell's low shot at the far post forced a nice diving save by Spiteri.
35' Smith (Bengard). Callahan's nifty move in the middle let him roll a diagonal pass to the left into the path of a wide open Bengard. After carrying the ball deep into the area on the left, Bengard bent a cross head-high past the near post for Smith on a far-post run. The curve ball dove down to Smith's feet at the top right corner of the goal area, and Smith finished with a low shot just to the right of Spiteri. 1-0 Seattle.
At this point the offense for both sides all but vanished. Portland would get one last chance in the half, and a good one, deep into added time when Cullen misjudged a bounce 8 yards from goal and ended up on the ground out of the picture. The ball came down in front of Morrison 8 yards from goal, with just one defender in the way, but Morrison skied his volley over the bar when he ought to have hit the target.
Halftime: Portland 0 - 1 Seattle
The second half would see just three shots by each side. The first shot came 15 minutes into the half when O'Brien just missed the lower far corner from 18 yards. A minute later Callahan was sent up the middle between two defenders and he earned a shot from 15 yards, but Spiteri had it covered. Seattle would not threaten Portland's goal again in the match.
Midway in the half Seattle had dropped Callahan back into the midfield, showing Portland a defensive 3-6-1 formation. Portland's first shot of the half didn't come until only 17 minutes remained in the match. Fadi Afash, who had come on as a substitute, received a headed cross from Antoniuk and tried a chip from near the right post, but Cullen did well to track it down.
In the 77th, Seattle rookie defender Kevin Sakuda replaced Callahan and it was 4-5-1. Portland had just one more good shot, in the 87th, when Melendez fired a quick volley from the 18, and Cullen saved well at the near post.
Rookie Sounder defender Marco Velez came on for Smith in the 89th, making it a 5-5-0 defense for the three minutes of added time.
Final: Portland 0 - 1 Seattle
Shots: 10 9
Saves: 3 4
Corners: 4 2
Fouls: 20 16
Offsides: 3 3
28' POR - Winters cautioned for a late kick into O'Brien's ankle.
62' POR - Morrison cautioned for a tactical foul on Nguyen to the right of the penalty area.
67' SEA - O'Brien cautioned for knocking Downing down away from the ball.
84' SEA - Nguyen cautioned for a foul near the halfway line.
90' POR - Ritchie cautioned for tripping O'Brien in the center circle.
Referees: Abby Okulaja; Danny Rhee, Eduardo Irigoyen; Thiago Saavedra.