2004 May 1

Portland Timbers  2 - 1  Seattle Sounders
PGE Park, Portland, OR

1' POR - Gordon (Henning)
71' POR - Alvarez (Alcaraz-Cuellar)
75' SEA - Smith (Farrell)

Portland: Josh Saunders; Lee Morrison, Gavin Wilkinson, Aaron Heinzen, David Henning (Scott Benedetti 13'); Alex Bengard, Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar, Shawn Saunders, Jake Sagare; Alan Gordon, Byron Alvarez (Dan Antoniuk 83'). Substitutes not used: Bayard Elfvin, Memo Arzate, Erik Cronkrite.

Seattle: Preston Burpo; Danny Jackson, Zach Scott, Ryan Edwards; Chad Brown, Robbie Aristodemo (Marco Velez 46'), Jason Farrell, Sean-Michael Callahan (Darren Sawatzky 66'), Billy Sleeth (Viet Nguyen 69'); Kyle Smith (Scott Jenkins 88'), Roger Levesque. Substitutes not used: Ryan Wittstruck, Kevin Sakuda, Kei Kinoshita.

Additional match reports: Timber Mill (with pictures), Portland Oregonian, Timbers, Sounders.

Match report by Ron Stickney:

The Portland Timbers got off to a quick start in the 2004 season when rookie Alan Gordon scored before half a minute was gone. A red card to defender Ryan Edwards near the end of the first half didn't help Seattle. It took another Portland goal, this one by Byron Alvarez midway in the second half, to get Seattle playing well. Kyle Smith promptly pulled Seattle within one and the short-handed Sounders pressured for the rest of the match, but they could not find the equalizer.

The match doubled as a US Open Cup qualifier. The same two teams will play the second half of the USOC qualifying series in Seattle on May 15.

Interestingly, Ryan Wittstruck was on the match-day roster as the backup goalkeeper even though he did not make the Sounders' 24-man final roster. It seems that backup goalkeeper and rookie Danny Waltman had to serve a one-match suspension due to a red card he received in a bench-clearing brawl in the last match of his PDL season last summer.

First Half

1' Gordon (Henning). From just over the halfway line on the left, David Henning sent a low pass goalward. Gordon ran between Edwards and sweeper Danny Jackson to get there first a bit outside the penalty area, and goalkeeper Preston Burpo, who had charged out, was caught in between. Gordon finished clinically, chipping over Burpo for a first-bounce goal. Gordon, a rookie out of Oregon State, had notched a goal 26 seconds into his professional career. 1-0 Portland.

Seattle soon had a chance to tie when a short drop gave Smith an open shot from just inside the top left corner of the penalty area. The hard shot at the far post was arm-saved by Josh Saunders, but he gave up a dangerous rebound and Billy Sleeth's 10-yard shot from the right was a bit wide.

At 6' Gordon had another good chance for Portland from the 18-yard line but rolled it wide.

Portland's Henning didn't last long, limping off in the 13th minute with a sore hamstring, replaced by Scott Benedetti.

Portland looked best for the rest of the half. Gordon won a ball deep in Seattle's end and centered for Alvarez, who fired a low shot just barely wide right. A cleared Portland corner kick went to Jake Sagare at the corner of area for a long shot, but he missed the far post by yards. Benedetti's free kick was volleyed on goal by Gavin Wilkinson, forcing Burpo's first save.

Meanwhile, Seattle's only good shot was a long header by Smith aimed at the bar, but caught overhead by Saunders.

The red card came in the 42nd minute. A Seattle throw-in deep in Portland's end came down in the crowd just outside the goal area. Saunders leaped over the crowd and just barely got his hands on the ball, then he was bumped in the air and lost the ball as he came down on top of players. As the crowd scrambled for the loose ball, referee Cory Dean whistled a foul against Seattle. A shouting and pushing brawl broke out, and Edwards unwisely elbowed or punched Wilkinson in the head. One card came out of the melee, red for Edwards.

Halftime: Portland 1 - 0 Seattle

For 25 minutes into the second half, Portland continued to look like the only side that had actually started the season. ex-Sounder Alex Bengard had the first two chances of the half. From 15 yards on the left, Bengard fired at the near post and Burpo watched it past the post. A Portland free kick was centered to Bengard for a 25-yard try, sent a yard over the bar.

For Seattle, Jason Farrell headed a long diagonal cross on goal but right at the keeper's feet. At 66', Seattle sent in fresh outside midfielders, Darren Sawatzky replacing Sean-Michael Callahan and Viet Nguyen replacing Sleeth.

71' Alvarez (Alcaraz-Cuellar). Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar's cross from wide right was over the head of the Seattle defender at the center of the 6-yard line, and Alvarez was waiting for it. He sent a soft but accurate shot low to the far post and it went in after hitting the post. 2-0 Portland.

75' Smith (Farrell). In the midfield in Portland's end, Jason Farrell juked right, juked left, and sent a diagonal pass ahead to an open Smith at the arc. Smith sent a quick shot accurately to the lower right corner for the Sounders' first goal of the season. 2-1 Portland.

From this point on, it was almost all Seattle on offense, even though they were a man down. From a Seattle free kick play, Nguyen's diagonal air ball to the penalty spot gave Marco Velez a good chance for a header, but the shot went a half yard over the bar. At 83' a Farrell diagonal ball over the back line gave Smith a shot from 10 yards on the left, but it went right to the keeper's feet. Farrell's square cross from the left found Sawatzky open, but his 15-yard rocket went a yard over the top near corner. Seattle's last shot was Nguyen's 20-yard free kick in added time, headed away by the wall.

Final: Portland 2 - 1 Seattle

        Portland  Seattle
Shots:      16       15
Saves:       5        2
Corners:     2        5
Fouls:      21       18
Offsides:    0        3

26' SEA - Sleeth cautioned for sliding late under Morrison.
28' POR - Alcaraz-Cuellar cautioned for sliding late under Smith at the touch line.
42' SEA - Edwards sent off for punching Wilkinson in the head.
76' SEA - Smith cautioned for a foul in the air on Wilkinson.
90' SEA - Velez cautioned for a foul on Antoniuk.

Referees: Cory Dean; Danny Rhee, Padman Senthirajah; Pat Duffy.
Attendance: 6,891