2005 Jul 8

Seattle Sounders  4 - 2  Portland Timbers
Starfire Sports Stadium, Tukwila, WA

Seattle: Preston Burpo; Taylor Graham, Ryan Edwards, Billy Sleeth, Zach Scott (Brent Whitfield 61'); Kevin Sakuda, CJ Klaas, Ben Somoza (Franklin Chacon 76'), Gabe Sturm; Welton (Andrew Gregor 61'), Roger Levesque (Jake Sagare 88'). Substitutes not used: James Ward, Jake Besagno, Brett Wiesner.

Portland: Josh Saunders; Gavin Wilkinson, Scot Thompson, Lee Morrison; Brian Winters, Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar, Edwin Miranda, Aaran Lines, Shaun Higgins; Byron Alvarez, Dan Antoniuk. Substitutes not used: Sam Reynolds, Garett Markham, Scott Benedetti, Jarad Weiss, Fadi Afash.

19' SEA - Sturm (Levesque)
45' SEA - Graham (Sturm)
56' SEA - Levesque

60' POR - Alvarez (PK)
68' POR - Higgins (Miranda)
88' SEA - Graham (Gregor)

Additional match reports: Seattle Times, Seattle P-I, Sounders, Timbers.

Match report by Ron Stickney:

USL fans across the nation were treated to a wild match as the host Seattle Sounders defeated the Portland Timbers 4-2. The match was televised live on Fox Soccer Channel. The venue was the cozy confines of Starfire Sports Stadium, after Gold Cup promoters Soccer United Marketing (a subsidiary of MLS) asked the Sounders to not put their cleats on the grass that SUM laid down on Qwest Field. The drive to Tukwila was a pain, but the beer garden was a treat.

Man of the match was unquestionably Taylor Graham with two goals, his first goals of the season. Rookie Gabe Sturm and Roger Levesque each contributed a goal and an assist.

Off the injured list for Seattle were Andrew Gregor, playing his first league match of the season, and Jake Sagare.

It had rained all day, but before the 8:00 kickoff the low sun broke through and the fans in the stands were treated to a nice rainbow that lasted into the first half, a good omen for the home side.

First Half

The first shot was Portland's in the 3rd minute off a free kick from the touch line, headed on goal by Byron Alvarez, but right at goalkeeper Preston Burpo.

Seattle's first chance came in the 10th when a CJ Klaas corner kick was headed at the near post by Levesque, but the man on the post, Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar, headed it out for another corner. The momentum would stay Seattle's way for nearly all of the half.

19' Sturm (Levesque). The ball was centered to Levesque outside the penalty area, and he quickly back-heeled it into the path of Sturm, running full speed at goal. After blowing by his marker, Sturm had only goalkeeper Josh Saunders to beat and the rookie finished clinically with a low shot past Saunders and inside the far post. 1-0 Seattle.

A long cross was headed by Welton from the 18-yard line, just over the top far corner. It was the first of several good chances Welton would earn. In the 29th, Billy Sleeth sent a nice cross from the right touch line to the 6-yard line for Levesque, whose header flashed just a millimeter wide of the base of the far post.

Seattle earned a penalty kick in the 29th when an air ball to the 18 was reached first by Levesque, who headed it over the charging Saunders, then was knocked down by Saunders. Saunders was shown the yellow card for the tactical foul. Welton took the PK but slammed it squarely onto the crossbar.

Portland threatened in the 33rd when Aaran Lines fired a rocket from 19 yards just a foot over the top near corner. Then Dan Antoniuk was sprung up the middle between two Seattle defenders, and he pulled up at the arc to make space and shot low but just wide of the left post.

Back Seattle's way, a long free kick from Klaas wanted to sneak under the bar, but Saunders backpedaled to catch it at the bar.

45' Graham (Sturm). After Klaas was fouled not far from the right touch line, Sturm took the free kick and curled a left-footed in-swinger beautifully to the 6-yard line out from the near post, and Graham headed it down and in. After heading on goal from such set plays countless times this season, it was Graham's first goal of the season. 2-0 Seattle.

Halftime: Seattle 2-0 Portland

After Portland sent in a long shot caught at the bar by Burpo and a long corkscrew shot by Winters that sailed well over the bar, Seattle regained the momentum.

In the 54th minute a long ball forward bounced off the top of Gavin Wilkinson's chrome dome as he didn't even see the ball, and it came down to Welton as Saunders was charging out. Welton touched it by Saunders and had a totally open goal for a target, but he hit the inside of the near post and the ball rebounded across the goal mouth to a defender. It should have been Welton's easiest goal of the year, but his boots were sadly out of calibration.

56' Levesque. On a Seattle attack, Ben Somoza fed the ball ahead to Kevin Sakuda open in close on the right. Sakuda's shot/cross was parried up by Saunders, and it came down 6 yards past the far post for Levesque, whose looping header over Saunders from a steep angle went in. 3-0 Seattle.

60' Alvarez (PK). Just when the match appeared to be turning into a rout, the tide changed and Portland took the momentum for an extended period. Their first goal came from a penalty kick after Alcaraz-Cuellar backed into Sturm at the right edge of the penalty box and may have been tripped by Sleeth, who was double-teaming Alvarez. Alvarez took the PK and sent it hard and low under Burpo as Burpo guessed correctly but didn't get down quickly enough. 3-1 Seattle.

The substitutions then began for Seattle, Gregor and Brent Whitfield first to come in in the 61st, with two more attacking players to follow. Portland did not substitute in the match.

Portland came close in the 66th when a cross was headed at the lower far corner by Antoniuk, and the diving Burpo just barely got there in time to push it wide, then Alvarez' put-back from close on right was blocked by a defender and collected by Burpo.

68' Higgins (Miranda). A cross from the right by Edwin Miranda was headed back across goal and inside the far post by Shaun Higgins. Burpo dove to catch the ball, but just after it broke through the goal plane off the post. 3-2 Seattle.

Seattle's Somoza soon blasted a 20-yarder a half yard over the bar.

Then Portland resumed their pressure when Higgins juked his marker in the arc and blasted a shot right up the middle, but right into Burpo's belly. Alvarez won the ball in the right corner and crossed to give Higgins another chance that was headed just wide of the far post.

Graham (Gregor). A second Graham goal put an end to Seattle's worries. Gregor was fouled at the right flag while killing time with the ball. Gregor took the free kick a yard from the corner arc and curled the ball nicely to the far post where Graham headed it just inside the post. 4-2 Seattle.

Final: Seattle 4-2 Portland

         Seattle  Portland
Shots:      14        16
Saves:       8         3
Corners:     4         3
Fouls:       7         9
Offsides:    1         1

29' POR - Saunders cautioned for a late charge into Levesque
31' SEA - Sakuda cautioned for tripping Lines at the touch line
41' POR - Lines cautioned for what he said after a Portland foul
48' SEA - Sleeth cautioned for pulling down Alvarez in the circle
83' POR - Alvarez cautioned for taking down Klaas at the touch line

Referees: Baldomero Toledo; Josh Wilkins, Brian Armes; Shahram Pourazari

Attendance: 3,204