2002 May 5

Seattle Sounders  4 - 1  Portland Timbers
Memorial Stadium, Seattle, WA

14' SEA - Ching (Daligcon)
54' POR - Tennyson (PK)
76' SEA - Farrell
87' SEA - Sawatzky (Ching)
89' SEA - Tomlinson (O'Brien)

Seattle: Preston Burpo; Kieran Barton, Scott Jenkins, Ryan Edwards; Nate Daligcon (Viet Nguyen 45'), Jason Farrell (Chad Brown 90'), Andrew Gregor (Zach Scott 81'), Zach Kingsley (Craig Tomlinson 77'), Leighton O'Brien; Darren Sawatzky, Brian Ching (Kyle Smith 89').

Portland: Matt Napoleon; Brent Sancho (Noah Delgado 85'), Gavin Wilkinson (Jake Sagare 18'), Scott Benedetti, Keith Costigan; Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar (Rees Bettinger 78'), Brian Winters, Benji Somoza, Sean McAuley; McKinley Tennyson, Chugger Adair.

Portland fan Allison Andrews has a match report with top-notch pictures.

Match report by Ron Stickney:

The Seattle Sounders delighted their fans in the home opener with a 4-1 win over the I-5 rival Portland Timbers. The match completed a home-and-away sweep of the Timbers, 6-1 on aggregate, and qualified the Sounders for the US Open Cup.

The match was much closer than the final score suggests. Brian Ching put Seattle up early, courtesy of a nice feed from Nate Daligcon after Portland turned the ball over. Portland tied it up early in the second half when McKinley Tennyson scored Portland's first goal of the season from a penalty kick. The score stayed 1-1 for most of the second half until Jason Farrell broke the deadlock in the 76th. Portland Coach Bobby Howe pulled a defender in favor of a forward with 5 minutes left, looking for the tying goal, and the Sounders pounced on the opportunity with quick goals by Darren Sawatzky and Craig Tomlinson. Sawatzky scored in both of the weekend's matches against his former club.

First Half

Seattle had three good chances in the opening 10 minutes. Andrew Gregor's inswinging corner kick in the 2nd minute bounced untouched inside the goal area and Zach Kingsley had it all to himself, but he half-volleyed over the bar from 5 yards when he might have done better. A minute later Farrell's blast from 18 yards on the left corkscrewed wickedly and had goalkeeper Matt Napoleon going the wrong way, but Napoleon managed to reach back and stop the shot with his hands, and a defender got to the sitter first to clear it. Another Seattle corner kick gave Kingsley another golden opportunity. The ball was first headed up in the air and Scott Jenkins won it at the far post, heading it into the goal area for an open Kingsley, who headed it onto the crossbar, and a defender cleared the rebound.

14' Ching (Daligcon). Sweeper Gavin Wilkinson in front of the 4th official caught a cleat on the astroturf and apparently reinjured his leg, the ball rolling free for Daligcon, who said thank you and had an unimpeded path to the left side of the penalty area. Daligcon had time to wait for reinforcements to arrive to create a 3-on-1 attack and sent a square pass along the 18-yard line in front of a charging Ching, who slotted his shot between a diving Napoleon and the near post. 1-0 Seattle. Wilkinson left the match a few minutes later, replaced by rookie Jake Sagare from Yakima.

Seattle's offense went completely flat after the goal and their next shot wouldn't come until the final minute before intermission.

Sean McAuley took Portland's first shot in the 26th minute, a 28-yard free kick curled nicely to the lower far corner, and 'keeper Preston Burpo used all of his 6'3" frame to dive and parry the shot wide for a corner. A ball cleared from the Seattle area was won by Sagare and fired on goal from 20, but Burpo was well positioned for the save. Keith Costigan shot on goal from a cleared corner kick, but right to Burpo. It appeared that Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar's run without the ball might give him a breakaway in the 37th, but Leighton O'Brien capsized Alcaraz with a hard charge as the ball arrived and Portland had to be content with a 35-yard free kick and a caution to O'Brien. In the 44th a centered ball was nodded a couple yards wide from 10 by Tennyson.

Seattle finally earned a shot in the final minute of the half when O'Brien headed Gregor's cross a tad over.

Halftime: Seattle 1 - 0 Portland

Seattle's offense needed some fresh ideas and Viet Nguyen was the ticket, replacing Daligcon at the break. Nguyen, who sat out the previous night's match due to yellow cards from the 2001 campaign, soon saw plenty of the ball. A drop from Ching gave Nguyen his first shot of the season, a 25-yarder sent well over the bar.

54' Tennyson (PK). Ryan Edwards and Chugger Adair were battling for a ball two yards inside the penalty area and the ball popped up chest high in front of Edwards, and he couldn't resist using his arm to hurry the ball's return to earth. Referee Cory Dean immediately pointed to the spot. Tennyson converted with a low, hard shot just inside the left post past the diving Burpo. 1-1.

For Seattle, Nguyen soon put a nice ball in front of a breaking Ching for a 15-yard chance that went a few yards wide of the near post. Farrell's throw-in from the left side to the near post was headed across the 6-yard line for a Kingsley header, but he couldn't reach enough of the ball and it went wide of the far post.

76' Farrell. After no Sounder could finish a ball that spent too much time rattling around in the goal area, Farrell won the cleared ball and from 25 yards drove a low shot into the far corner. A big goal, putting Seattle up 2-1.

Ex-Sounder Rees Bettinger entered for Portland and soon headed a cross at the right post from 10 yards, and Burpo got there just as an attacker arrived with thoughts of finishing. Tennyson got around the defense on the right for a steep-angled chance from 10 yards, and he fired into the near side netting just as he had done the previous night.

In the 85th minute Portland defender Brent Sancho was pulled to insert an attacker, Noah Delgado. Instead of netting a goal, Portland would concede two.

87' Sawatzky (Ching). From the left side O'Brien sent a cross over the defense for Ching on a far-post run. Ching headed a nice ball parallel to the 6-yard line and Sawatzky outleaped Scott Benedetti to beat Napoleon with a header just under the bar, the ball deflecting off Benedetti's head. 3-1 Seattle.

89' Tomlinson (O'Brien). Benedetti failed to control a ball near the right touch line 20 yards from the flag, and O'Brien claimed possession. With his back to the goal just outside the penalty area, O'Brien chipped a ball over his head in front of Tomlinson on a far-post run. Tomlinson had time to wait for Napoleon's move, then finished into the lower far corner. 4-1 Seattle.

Adair had the last chance of the match for Portland, heading a cross onto the center of the bar, with the rebound cleared.

Final: Seattle 4 - 1 Portland

        Seattle  Portland
Shots:     14       17
Saves:      7        3
Corners:    5        6
Fouls:     20       18
Offsides:   7        2

19' POR - Sagare cautioned for knocking Kingsley down as Kingsley shepherded the ball out for a goal kick.
37' SEA - O'Brien cautioned for fouling Alcaraz to prevent what might have become a breakaway.
72' POR - Costigan cautioned for taking out Kingsley's legs.

Referee: Cory Dean; Jayson Transtrum, Dean Ajir; Fred Mabbott.
Attendance: 2,756