2002 Jun 23

Portland Timbers  1 - 0  Seattle Sounders
PGE Park, Portland, OR

24' POR - Afash (Tennyson)

Portland: Matt Napoleon; Brent Sancho, Gavin Wilkinson, Keith Costigan; Brian Winters, Benji Somoza, Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar, Jake Sagare, Greg Howes (Scott Benedetti 88'); Fadi Afash (Chugger Adair 81'), McKinley Tennyson.

Seattle: Preston Burpo; Kieran Barton, Scott Jenkins, Ryan Edwards; Nate Daligcon (Kyle Smith 73'), Jason Farrell, Leighton O'Brien, Andrew Gregor, Viet Nguyen; Darren Sawatzky (Chad Brown 78'), Brian Ching.

Portland fan Allison Andrews has a match report with pictures.

Match report by Ron Stickney:

In the third of four meetings this season, the host Portland Timbers won 1-0 behind Fadi Afash's first-half goal. The Sounders lead the season series two matches to one with the remaining match to be played in Seattle on July 19.

First Half

The first chances slipped away due to the plastic pitch. Seattle misplayed a ball in their end and it dropped near the arc with Afash closest to it and unmarked, but he slipped and fell. At the other end, Darren Sawatzky pushed the ball past his marker at the 18-yard line and slipped trying to round him.

Tired of no shots at the 12-minute mark, Portland's Benji Somoza tried from 35 yards and goalkeeper Preston Burpo watched it wide of the far post by a yard.

For Seattle, a throw-in was meant for Brian Ching at the near post, but 'keeper Matt Napoleon got over him to punch it away. Seattle's first shots came at 18', Leighton O'Brien from 25 blocked, then Nate Daligcon from 30 a few yards wide.

Portland's Afash stepped up for the next ten minutes, starting with a 22-yard shot that was wide by a yard.

24' Afash (Tennyson). McKinley Tennyson beat Burpo to an air ball near the 18 and headed it off Burpo towards goal. Afash was first to the slow bouncer, diving forward to head it into the empty net from 5 yards. He got up and walked slowly to the end line, apparently having taken a boot to the head from a defender who almost got to the ball in time. 1-0 Portland.

3 minutes later it was Afash again from a long free kick play, and he sent it too high from 15 yards. Then from Jake Sagare's cross, Afash tried the Hand of Allah, leaping to knock the overhead ball in with his hand, and earning a yellow card for unsporting behavior. The previous year with the D3 Utah Blitzz, Afash had tried the same Hand of Allah against the Sounders in a US Open Cup match and he had received the same yellow award.

Andrew Gregor was close with a Seattle free kick from 35 yards in the 29th minute, bending it up the middle around the wall to the lower right corner, where Napoleon did well to dive for the save, directing the rebound to one of his defenders.

Afash soon had Portland backon the attack when his shot from a free kick play was deflected just wide for a corner. Next Greg Howes tried from 15 on the right and Burpo did well to collapse for a save.

Brian Ching earned a yellow card in the 38th when he slid under Hugo Alcaraz at a corner flag, and the flag was snapped off at ground level.

The half saw one more good shot when Howes curled one to the nower near corner, but Burpo dove to grab it.

Halftime: Portland 1 - 0 Seattle

Seattle had the opening chances in the second half. Viet Nguyen's cross from the right to Sawatzky on a near-post run was just over Sawatzky's head. Gregor's free kick from the right was headed hard by Nguyen in the arc, and it landed on top of the net, just clearing the bar.

Tennyson stole a ball from the Sounders back line and had a 12-yard chance from the left, but he hit it softly to Burpo.

For Seattle, Gregor's corner kick in the 57th was off Napoleon's fingertips, but the defense cleared it from inside the goal area. Sawatzky's cross was deflected, but to Jason Farrell, who just missed the top far corner with an 18-yard header.

For Portland, Tennyson was sprung up the middle and beat Burpo to the ball, chipping from the arc, then immediately being flattened by Burpo. The ball sailed over the bar and no foul was called.

Seattle's Ching had a chance to chip from 18, but he was pressured and couldn't get a good touch. From a steep angle on the right, Nguyen forced Napoleon into a collapsing save and the rebound was cleared.

Portland's Tennyson was a split second late with a try at a diving header from Sagare's cross that flashed through the goal area. Howes netted a cross from inside the goal area, but he was clearly offside.

In the 79th, Ching's 8-yard diving header from Gregor's cross was deflected wide by Napoleon, who was injured on the play. After some recovery time, Napoleon continued in the match. Gregor was just wide in the 82nd when he fired back a cleared corner kick. Substitute Kyle Smith headed on goal from a cross, but right at Napoleon.

Portland had the final chances. In the 86th, Tennyson beat a defender to go in alone against Burpo, but another weak shot was easily saved. In the 90th, Tennyson beat Burpo to a ball 30 yards out, played it wide, and collected it for a shot, but Scott Jenkins was backing up the goalkeeper and cleared the low shot.

Final: Portland 1 - 0 Seattle

        Portland  Seattle
Shots:     13       14
Saves:      4        5
Corners:    5       11
Fouls:     20       16
Offsides:   3        2

28' POR - Afash cautioned for the Hand of Allah.
38' SEA - Ching cautioned for sliding under Alcaraz from behind at the flag.
40' POR - Somoza cautioned for taking down O'Brien.
47' POR - Sagare cautioned for cleats first slide into Nguyen.
62' POR - Winters a delayed caution for taking down Ching at the halfway line, advantage invoked at the time.
89' SEA - O'Brien cautioned for a hard foul on Benedetti.

Referees: Arnold Baldeaux; Juan Barone, Padman Senthirajah; Patrick Duffy.
Attendance: 3,890