2006 Jul 21

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

Portland: Josh Saunders; Scot Thompson, Mike Randolph (Alejandro Gutierrez 90'), Michael Nsien, Jacobi Goodfellow; Lee Morrison, Oral Bullen (Tom Poltl 59'), Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar, Luke Kreamalmeyer, Byron Alvarez; Drew McAthy (Troy Ready 80'). Substitutes not used: Elfvin Bayard, Salim Bullen, Sergio Iniguez, Josh Brown.

Seattle: Chris Eylander; Danny Jackson, Noah Merl, Jake Besagno; Seyi Abolaji (Jake Sagare 64'), Jordan Harvey (Gabe Sturm 80'), Ben Somoza (Maykel Galindo 58'), Kevin Sakuda, Andrew Gregor; Roger Levesque, Cam Weaver. Substitutes not used: Nate Boyden, Santa Maria Rivera, Jamal Sutton.

76' SEA: Besagno (Gregor)
77' SEA: Weaver (Galindo)
88' POR: Alcaraz-Cuellar

Additional match reports: Sounders, Timbers, Oregonian, Portland Tribune. SounderCentral.

Match report by Ron Stickney:

On a very hot evening in Portland, the Seattle Sounders took a 2-1 win over the Portland Timbers. Seattle's defense returned to form and played well enough to win, and goals in two consecutive minutes from Jake Besagno and Cam Weaver secured the win. A late goal by Portland's Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar gave Portland a chance at a point in the end, but the Sounders prevented any chances at a tying goal.

The match was a difficult one for the players due to the heat. Portland saw a high temperature of 104 degrees F for the day, and with no breeze it didn't cool down much for the match. Fox Soccer Channel televised the match live.

Serving suspensions this match for red cards were Sounders midfielder Leighton O'Brien and Timbers head coach Chris Agnello. Assistant coach Gavin Wilkinson filled in for Agnello.

First Half

Portland had their chances in the first 10 minutes. In the opening minute Oral Bullen took a pass 15 yards from goal and got a chance to shoot when his marker slipped, but the shot went a yard wide of the near post. In the 7th a 30-yard free kick up the middle was wasted high by Alcaraz-Cuellar. In the 10th after Seyi Abolaji gave the ball away with a weak backpass, Byron Alvarez took off with the ball towards goal, drew a defender, and sent a short pass left for Drew McAthy's 15-yard shot, and Chris Eylander collapsed to make a fine save.

In the 13th minute Seattle put the ball in the net, but Roger Levesque was offside on the play. On the play, a cross from the right to the far post was headed back across the goal mouth by Jordan Harvey. Levesque was on a run towards the other post and knocked it into the net from 3 yards, but he was just a bit too early with the run and was closer to the goal line than Harvey when the pass was made. When the ball went in, Levesque continued his run around the goal and in front of the Timbers Army fans, but the flag was up and Timbers Army had the last laugh on the play.

In the 19th Portland earned another 30-yard free kick up the middle, and this time Alcaraz-Cuellar sent it to the lower left corner, forcing a diving push wide by Eylander.

Seattle's first shot came midway in the half on a free kick play with the ball spotted left of the penalty area. Gregor bent the free kick towards the spot, and Besagno got a head on it, but he was tightly marked and the shot went over the bar. It would be Seattle's only good chance of the half.

The last half of the first period saw just one scoring chance when Portland's Luke Kreamalmeyer was served just inside the area and he earned a shot between two defenders after a cut-back move, but Eylander had it covered at the near post for a save.

Halftime: Portland 0-0 Seattle

Two minutes into the second half the match came to a halt for 11 minutes when 3 banks of lights went dark. This was a bit embarassing on national TV since the stadium is named for Portland's electric utility. The match restarted with one bank of lights still dark, and eventually they came back to life.

The Sounders were gifted with an opportunity in the 53rd minute when a high bouncing back pass had to be chested down by goalkeeper Josh Saunders, allowing Levesque to steal the ball. Levesque took it out wide, unmarked, and crossed back in to the near post, but a defender managed to beat the attacker to the cross and send it out for a corner.

In the 62nd a long free kick from Gregor went to the far post where Levesque got up to head a shot down, and Saunders made an excellent save down low.

A minute later it was Alcaraz-Cuellar again with a 25-yard free kick up the middle, this one missing the top far corner by a yard.

Abolaji and Alvarez both came up limping after contact in the 64th minute, and Abolaji had to be carried off, replaced by ex-Timber Jake Sagare.

In the 66th another Gregor free kick led to another chance when he rolled it to the near side of the crowd for substitute Maykel Galindo, who shot low to the near post, and Saunders collapsed on it for the save. A minute later Levesque's cross from the left corner went through the goal area untouched with four Sounders attackers interspersed with defenders along the 6-yard line, and none of them stepped up to finish. It was as though the last three Sounders all expected the ball to be knocked in before it got to them, and they were all seemingly caught flat-footed.

76' Besagno (Gregor). The goal came from yet another Gregor free kick play. A long free kick was sent to the spot where Besagno, back to goal, trapped it after it deflected off a defender. Finding himself open, he quickly turned, set up, and fired a shot to the left of Saunders and into the back of the net. 1-0 Seattle.

77' Weaver (Galindo). Just a minute later a Seattle counterattack gave the ball to Galindo speeding up the left side open. He sent a perfect cross to the far post for Weaver's run, with the Portland defense nowhere near, and Weaver powered a first-time shot low under a diving Saunders. 2-0 Seattle.

Portland nearly scored in the 80th after crossing the ball through the penalty area twice. A nice cross to the center gave Alvarez a header in close, and Eylander again collapsed nicely to make a reaction save. The rebound popped back up in front of goal and Scot Thompson came crashing in to head it on goal, but fortunately for Eylander it went right into his arms. The 85th minute saw Alcaraz-Cuellar get served standing on the 18-yard line. He held the ball a second or two, then launched a shot a yard over the bar.

88' Alcaraz-Cuellar. Alcaraz-Cuellar got one more 25-yard free kick up the middle, and this time he hit it perfectly, bending a shot over the wall and inside the left post before Eylander could get there. 2-1 Seattle.

The last chance was Seattle's, when Galindo's cross was cleared back to him for a shot from 12 yards, and he missed the top far corner by inches with a blast.

Final: Portland 1-2 Seattle

           Portland   Seattle
Shots:       12         7
Saves:        2         6
Corners:      2         2
Fouls:       17        22
Offsides:     3         3

21' POR: Goodfellow cautioned for a tactical foul in the circle
22' POR: Alvarez cautioned for a tactical trip from behind on Abolaji
42' SEA: Abolaji cautioned for holding at the touch line
75' POR: Thompson cautioned for a challenge in the air

Referees: Yader Reyes; David Grbavac, Patrick Duffy; Rich Wallace

Attendance: 6,215