2007 May 5
Seattle Sounders 1 - 0 Portland Timbers
Qwest Field, Seattle, WA
Seattle: Chris Eylander; Danny Jackson, Noah Merl, Zach Scott, Adam West; Kevin Sakuda, Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar, Sebastien Le Toux (Greg Howes 64'), Josh Gardner (Kenji Treschuk 82'); Roger Levesque, Nathan Knox (Andre Schmid 68'). Substitutes not used: Ben Dragavon, Jake Besagno, Nate Boyden, Santa Maria Rivera.
Portland: Josh Wicks; Cameron Knowles, Lee Morrison, Scot Thompson, Shaun Higgins; Neil Dombrowski, Andrew Gregor, Luke Kreamalmeyer (Bryan Jordan 76'), Troy Ready (Kiki Lara 58'); Chris Bagley (Lawrence Olum 90'), Luc Harrington (David Hague 62'). Substitutes not used: Elfvin Bayard, Justin Thompson, Tom Poltl.
20' SEA: Knox (Gardner)
Additional match reports: SounderCentral.com, Seattle Times, Sounders, Timbers.
Match report by Ron Stickney:
The home opener gave the Seattle Sounders their first win of the season, 1-0 over the Portland Timbers. The goal came from New Zealander Nathan Knox and the shutout went to Chris Eylander. The crowd was 8,247 strong, almost as many as last year's home opener. Portland sent two busloads of fans, sitting in the north end, and the Seattle supporters in section 113 were a larger group than we've seen before.
The Sounders gave Sebastien Le Toux the start in midfield. He had flown in from France a day earlier after finally securing his work visa.
The Sounders had the first half chance in the 5th minute when their corner kick was dropped onto the 6-yard line by goalkeeper Josh Wicks after he was pressured in the air, but a defender was first to the loose ball and promptly cleared it from danger.
The first shot was a shot/cross by Portland in the 7th, and Eylander snatched it out of the air.
Ex-Sounder Andrew Gregor earned a yellow card in the 13th when he chopped down Josh Gardner. After that, it seemed like most of the Sounders got a piece of Gregor during the match. Zach Scott was the first to get Gregor and earned the only other yellow card of the match for the indiscretion. Ex-Timbers midfielder Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar was treated fairly by his ex-teammates. There is a big difference between Gregor's karma and Alcaraz-Cuellar's.
Gregor had a good chance for Portland in the 18th minute when a Seattle turnover gave him a 25-yard quick shot, but he bent it away from goal.
20' SEA: Knox (Gardner). Portland defender Scot Thompson badly missed a tackle near the halfway line, leaving Josh Gardner free to run up the left side with nobody else in the same zip code. Gardner carried to the top left corner of the penalty area, with plenty of time to look up and find a target, then he bent an outswinging cross past a defender to the top right corner of the goal area. Wicks and Know were both going for the ball, and Knox got there first. Knox shot with his foot and Wicks got a lot of the ball and it seemed to also deflect off defender Shaun Higgins, but the deflection bounced into the goal just before Lee Morrison cleared it. The ball could not have been more than a foot over the goal plane when it was cleared, so everyone was unsure whether it was a goal. Everyone, that is, except assistant referee Josh Wilkins, standing at the corner with his flag up, then sprinting up the touch line after making eye contact with referee Ian Anderson. 1-0 Seattle.
In the 28th, Le Toux was the first of two Sounders to get decked by a late-arriving Wicks. Le Toux got to a 50-50 ball first in the penalty area, then was flattened by Wicks, who never touched the ball. It could have been a penalty kick, but Anderson did not award one.
In the 33rd, Portland's Shaun Higgins carried the ball into the penalty area and blasted a straight shot that cleared the bar by a yard.
Seattle then managed several shots in the remainder of the half, the best one a 20-yard hard shot up the middle by Kevin Sakuda, but Wicks stretched to parry it wide and then collected the leftovers.
Halftime: Seattle 1 - 0 Portland
Seattle didn't play very well in the second half, but they managed to keep their net clean to preserve the win.
Portland's best chance of the match came just 2 minutes into the half. Luke Kreamalmeyer beat two defenders near the right corner and left them flat-footed on the touch line as he went straight at the near post. 10 yards from goal he dropped a diagonal pass to give a great chance to Chris Bagley 8 yards out, but Bagley sent his shot a foot over the bar when he should have put it on goal.
In the 53rd for Seattle, Noah Merl's long service to the center of the 18 was headed hard by Roger Levesque, but the shot went inches wide of the lower near corner. Then Le Toux was sprung on the right from a free kick from the center circle. Le Toux carried to the end line and rolled a nice diagonal pass for Knox, on a near-post run, but Knox missed badly and was left holding his head.
In the 69th Portland substitute Kiki Lara got free in the left side of the penalty area and tried to chip a shot over Eylander, but the ball kept rising and cleared the bar.
A minute later Alcaraz-Cuellar tried to sneak a 25-yard free kick in but just missed the lower far corner.
Portland's last chance came when Gregor found himself with a look at goal inside the penalty area but the shot was soft and right to Eylander.
Seattle should have had an insurance goal in added time. Sakuda just beat Wicks to a through ball in the middle just inside the penalty area. Sakuda touched the ball left and then was hit hard in the knee by Wicks. The pass was for substitute Kenji Treschuk, and it was good enough to allow advantage, but Treschuk somehow missed the wide open goal. He reportedly got some shtick in the locker room for that miss. Fortunately for Treschuk, the rest of added time played out with the Sounders defense preventing any chances for a tying goal.
Final: Seattle 1 - 0 Portland
Shots: 10 6
Saves: 2 2
Corners: 7 1
Fouls: 13 15
Offsides: 3 3
13' POR: Gregor cautioned for chopping down Gardner
16' SEA: Scott cautioned for a late slide under Gregor
Referees: Ian Anderson; Scott Lawrence, Josh Wilkins; Mark Matthews