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   2003 May 2

Seattle Sounders  2 - 0  Portland Timbers
Seahawks Stadium, Seattle, WA

Goals:
78' SEA - Smith (O'Brien)
80' SEA - Callahan (Smith)

Seattle: Rich Cullen; Danny Jackson, Zach Scott, Ryan Edwards; Viet Nguyen (Kevin Sakuda 83'), Andrew Gregor, Leighton O'Brien, Alex Bengard, Jason Farrell; Sean-Michael Callahan (Darren Sawatzky 81'), Kyle Smith (Marco Velez 87'). Substitutes not used: Ryan Wittstruck, Greg Foisie, Matt Hulen, Craig Tomlinson.

Portland: Curtis Spiteri; Gavin Wilkinson, Bryn Ritchie, Jake Vaughn, Aaron Heinzen; Brian Winters, Scott Benedetti, Jason Melendez, Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar; Daniel Antoniuk (McKinley Tennyson 66'), Fadi Afash (Byron Alvarez 73'). Substitutes not used: Cole Burgman, Ryan Youngblood, Lee Morrison.


Match report by Ron Stickney:

The Seattle Sounders' home opener was won 2-0 over the Portland Timbers. The match completed a home-and-away shutout of the Timbers, 3-0 on aggregate, and qualified the Sounders for the US Open Cup. The match went scoreless until the final 13 minutes, then two goals in two minutes by Kyle Smith and Sean-Michael Callahan gave the home fans reason to cheer.

Rich Cullen earned the shutout in goal, promoted to starting goalkeeper when Preston Burpo suffered a broken jaw 15 minutes into the season a night earlier. An update on Burpo's injury indicates that his jaw was broken at the center of the chin and high on the left side. It appears that none of his teeth were broken. Burpo was scheduled for surgery this afternoon. His jaw will be wired shut for about two weeks. Burpo could be back from the injury list in 6 weeks. Ryan Wittstruck, who had been training with the Sounders, was hastily added to the roster today as a backup 'keeper.

Seattle's new home kits were used tonight. Shorts and shirts are white with light gray trim. Socks are white.

First Half

The first good chance came in the 6th minute when Sounders 'keeper Cullen tried to clear a ball but gave it straight to Portland striker Fadi Afash, unmarked at the 18. Cullen backpedaled nervously, Afash advanced for the shot, and Cullen redeemed himself with an acrobatic one-handed save of the near-post shot. In the 12th minute, a nifty wall pass gave Afash a good chance from 12 yards on the left, but his shot at the lower far corner was just barely pushed wide by a diving Cullen, an excellent save.

By the 16th minute Seattle had two yellow cards as referee Terry Vaughn defined for the players today's threshold for a caution.

Seattle's first shot came in the 19th minute when Andrew Gregor won a ball cleared from a free kick play and shot a 22-yarder up the middle but a yard wide right.

Portland striker Daniel Antoniuk fired a wicked 18-yard shot from the left that started going right, then hooked left, and Cullen collapsed to push it wide of the lower near corner with another impressive save.

In the 40th Seattle earned a free kick just above the top left corner of the penalty area. Leighton O'Brien bent it hard at the underside of the bar, and Curtis Spiteri caught it overhead, making it look like an easy save when it was probably challenging.

Portland defender Jake Vaughn fired a long, rising blast from the right but was a yard high.

Seconds before intermission, a long air ball on the right was chased down by Viet Nguyen, who juked a defender and whipped in a nice cross to the far side. Near the top left corner of the goal area, Smith shot at the lower near corner, but Spiteri smothered it.

Halftime: Seattle 0 - 0 Portland

The Timbers took just two shots in the second half, and only the first one at 50' was a good chance, a 15-yarder from the right by Hugo Acaraz-Cuellar that cleared the bar by a yard. Near the 70' mark Portland would replace their starting forwards with McKinley Tennyson and Byron Alvarez, but they wouldn't generate shots either.

Seattle apparently earned a goal in the 50th minute, but the ball was pulled out of the net by what must have been an incorrect offside call (we'll have to see the videotape to be sure). O'Brien juked a defender at the arc and fired a hard, low shot that Spiteri could only block. Ryan Edwards, up from the right back position, ran onto the rebound and put it away nicely. It looked like a good goal to everyone except the team in blue.

The 59th minute saw sweeper Danny Jackson carry the ball forward and right from the halfway line around a couple of defenders to earn a cross, which he whipped in for Smith's 10-yard header that forced a diving save by Spiteri. Smith soon had another header from Gregor's corner kick, but the ball was a bit too high and Smith couldn't get his head on top. An O'Brien blast up the middle was deflected up by a defender's foot just enough to clear the bar, and O'Brien threw up his arms when a goal kick was awarded to Portland.

78' Smith (O'Brien). A nice series of passes put Seattle on the scoreboard. Gregor fed O'Brien, on a run up the middle, and O'Brien fed a short pass left into Smith's path. Smith had time to trap the ball before finishing low past Spiteri from 14 yards. 1-0 Seattle.

80' Callahan (Smith). It didn't take long for the next goal. Gregor in the arc chipped a pass to Smith running in from the right, and Smith touched it into the path of Callahan, open on a parallel run. Callahan put a low shot past Spiteri from 10 yards. 2-0 Seattle.

In the 88th, a minute after entering for Smith, Marco Velez nearly scored. Gregor carried the ball deep on the right and centered a short pass for the running Velez, and his first-time shot missed the near post by a foot.

Final: Seattle 2 - 0 Portland

Statistics:
         Seattle  Portland
Shots:      11        6
Saves:       4        5
Corners:     8        5
Fouls:      13       20
Offsides:    4        2

Misconduct:
8' SEA - Jackson cautioned for a two-footed, cleats-first ball tackle against Winters at the halfway line.
16' SEA - O'Brien cautioned for recklessly chopping down Winters at the halfway line.
58' POR - Wilkinson cautioned.
73' SEA - Gregor cautioned after fouling Vaughn near the halfway line, but not until Gregor complained to the referee.
74' POR - Ritchie cautioned for tripping Gregor.

Referees: Terry Vaughn; Shahram Pourazari, Calin Znamirovschi; Mohammed Zarrabi-Kashani.
Attendance: 5,017