2007 Jun 26

US Open Cup, 2nd round:
Seattle Sounders 2 - 1 Portland Timbers
Starfire Sports Complex, Tukwila, WA

Seattle: Chris Eylander; Noah Merl, Zach Scott, Kevin Sakuda, Kenji Treschuk; Leighton O'Brien (Jake Besagno 46'), Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar (Gabe Sturm 83'), Josh Gardner (Santa Maria Rivera 88'), Sebastien Le Toux; Roger Levesque, Greg Howes. Substitutes not used: Ben Dragavon, Adam West, Craig Tomlinson, Andre Schmid.

Portland: Josh Wicks; Cameron Knowles (sent off 41'), Leonard Griffin, Justin Thompson; Scot Thompson, Andrew Gregor, Tom Poltl (Tom Taylor 81'), Shaun Higgins, David Hague (Lee Morrison 46'); Bryan Jordan, Chris Bagley (Kiki Lara 46'). Substitutes not used: Elfvin Bayard, Neil Dombrowski, Troy Ready, Luc Harrington.

19' POR: J Thompson (Gregor)
42' SEA: Alcaraz-Cuellar (PK)
70' SEA: Besagno (Howes)

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

Match report by Ron Stickney:

In a wild match, the Seattle Sounders advanced to the third round of the US Open Cup with a 2-1 win at home over the Portland Timbers. Portland got off to the start they wanted when defender Justin Thompson scored first. Late in the first half another defender, Cameron Knowles, got caught throwing an elbow to Roger Levesque's jaw in front of Portland's goal, resulting in a red card for Knowles and a penalty kick that was converted by Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar. Defender Jake Besagno gave Seattle the match winner midway in the second half.

The midfielders who switched teams for this season figured in the match, with ex-Sounder Andrew Gregor assisting the first goal with a free kick and ex-Timber Alcaraz-Cuellar leveling the score.

Chivas USA, who visited Seattle for a friendly early this month, will return to Seattle as the round 3 opponent in the Cup.

First Half

The Sounders started the match with Kevin Sakuda as right back, and we can't remember the last time the Sounders veteran played as a defender. Rookie Kenji Treschuk started as center back in a 4-4-2 lineup, with Levesque and Greg Howes up front.

Portland did nearly all of the attacking for the first quarter of the match. Gregor took the first corner kick in the first minute, giving Knowles a header that was sent much too high. Bryan Jordan beat Zach Scott up the right touch line to earn a cross from the end line close in on the right, but Sounders sweeper Noah Merl got to it first for the clearance. Just 4 minutes in Chris Bagley had the Timbers' third good chance with a quick shot from 20 yards up the middle but it cleared the bar.

19' POR: J Thompson (Gregor). Gregor's free kick from in front of the Sounders bench bent to the middle 8 yards from goal, where J Thompson got his head above the defenders to head a shot over goalkeeper Chris Eylander's left shoulder and just under the bar. Gregor trotted past the Sounders bench on the way back to his half, probably with a smirk on his face. 1-0 Portland.

Seattle's first chance didn't come until the 25th minute, when Alcaraz-Cuellar in the left side of the penalty area pushed the ball ahead for Josh Gardner, whose cross from the end line to the far post found Sebastien Le Toux open for a 10-yard shot that goalkeeper Josh Wicks blocked with his chest. A defender cleared the rebound from danger. Le Toux soon had another chance with only Wicks to beat when Alcaraz-Cuellar played a nice through ball up the middle, and Wicks played it perfectly, sliding out to block the shot at Le Toux's feet. Gardner earned a shot from the 18 on the left and put a straight, hard shot a yard wide of the far post.

For Portland in the 35th, Leonard Griffin tried a long, low shot that missed the near post by a yard.

The 37th minute saw Leighton O'Brien get taken down defending a through ball his own penalty area, and as he fell he got kneed in the back of the head. He stayed down several minutes getting attention, then was helped off the pitch. He returned to finish the half with a bandage on his head. After the match it was reported that the back of his head was split open and he was taken to the hospital at halftime with a concussion. He probably got sewn back up.

The match was starting to get chippy and in the 39th minute Gardner and then Scot Thompson were both cautioned for an altercation. Gardner, apparently frustrated when a throw-in didn't go his way, threw the ball at Thompson and seemed to hit him where it hurts worst, then Thompson angrily threw the ball at Gardner's back.

42' SEA: Alcaraz-Cuellar (PK). The moment of truth came in the 41st minute when a Seattle throw-in was popped up and was coming down in front of goal. Referee Hidajet Tica caught defender Knowles cocking his arm and delivering an elbow to Levesque's jaw when Levesque went up for a header. The red card came out fast and Tica pointed to the spot. Alcaraz-Cuellar took the penalty kick and put a low shot to the left side as Wicks went the wrong way. 1-1.

Seattle finished the half with two more chances. First Levesque beat his marker to a through ball deep in the penalty area and tried to chip a shot to the top corner, but Wicks had it covered. Then O'Brien received a drop pass to the 18 from Levesque and O'Brien's chip at the top corner was also taken by Wicks.

Things got rough again in the final minute of the half when Seattle's Treschuk made a skillful run up the left touch line only to get tripped from well behind by the beaten Bagley, a blatant tactical foul. Bagley of course got the obligatory yellow card, and Alcaraz-Cuellar must have said something, because without doing anything physical he earned a yellow card.

Halftime: Seattle 1 - 1 Portland

Three substitutes started the second half, Seattle sending in Besagno for the hospital-bound O'Brien, and Portland putting in Kiki Lara and Lee Morrison for Bagley and David Hague.

It was Seattle first in the second half when Howes' shot from 15 yards was deflected wide to give Gardner a chance, but his right-footed shot was wasted well over the bar.

Then Portland suddenly had a chance when Griffin found himself open 20 yards out and corkscrewed a dangerous shot a half yard over the top far corner.

In the 58th minute a Gardner corner kick from the right went past goal and was headed back to the middle by Howes, where Zach Scott snapped a fine headed shot on goal only to see the man at the post skillfully volley it clear.

For Portland at 62' a very long free kick by Wicks went airborn into the penalty area, where Jordan somehow managed to earn a nicely taken header that missed the lower far corner by two yards with Eylander guarding the near post. At 69' a dangerous cross from the end line by Gregor was cleared nicely by Merl. Portland had defended well to this point, but then Seattle finally put a shot in.

70' SEA: Besagno (Howes). Alcaraz-Cuellar's corner kick from the right was headed well outside the penalty area by a defender at the far post. Le Toux chased down the ball and passed it up the left touch line to Howes, who crossed the ball in the air to the penalty spot. Besagno, up for the corner kick play, got the ball he had hung around for and beat Wicks with a perfect header just inside the far post. 2-1 Seattle.

There was still plenty of action left in the match. At 73' Le Toux beat 3 defenders to enter the penalty area from the right touch line and dropped a pass to Howes for a shot, but it was an easy looper to Wicks. Treschuk was pulled down above the arc giving Seattle a 25-yard free kick that Alcaraz-Cuellar put a yard wide of the lower left corner. Le Toux pushed a ball through the back line for Levesque to run onto, and he fired a worthy shot at the lower near corner, pushed wide by the diving Wicks. Gardner's resulting corner kick was headed 2 yards wide of the far post by Alcaraz-Cuellar.

At 80' Portland got their next good chance when Shaun Higgins earned a 20-yard shot and fired it inches over the bar. Then Jordan won a shot in the middle from 15 yards after a nice series of passes, but Eylander made a good decision by sliding out to block the shot at Jordan's feet. The rebound gave substitute Tom Taylor a shot from 18 that just missed the lower near corner. At 84' a Gregor corner kick had to be pushed over the bar by Eylander at the near corner.

The last chance was Seattle's in the 85th on a counterattack, as Howes' centering pass in front of an open Le Toux was a bit too far in front and was claimed by Wicks.

Final: Seattle 2 - 1 Portland

          Seattle   Portland
Shots:       14        12
Saves:        2         6
Corners:      9         4
Fouls:       15        17
Offsides:     0         2

13' POR: Gregor cautioned
23' POR: Higgins cautioned for failing to give Seattle distance on a free kick
39' SEA and POR: Gardner and S Thompson cautioned for a minor altercation over throw-in direction
41' POR: Knowles sent off for throwing an elbow into Levesque's jaw
45' POR: Bagley cautioned for tripping Treschuk from well behind
45' SEA: Alcaraz-Cuellar cautioned for something he said
68' SEA: Treschuk cautioned for a foul at the halfway line

Referees: Hidajet Tica; Mark Matthews, Manuel Soledad; Cory Dean

Attendance: 711