2011 Jul 10

Montero pulls Sounders level twice to set up a win over Timbers

Portland Timbers  2 - 3  Seattle Sounders FC
JELD-WEN Field, Portland, OR

46' POR: Own goal (Jeff Parke)
57' SEA: Fredy Montero
69' POR: Jorge Perlaza (Diego Chara)
74' SEA: Fredy Montero (Mauro Rosales, Lamar Neagle)
83' SEA: Osvaldo Alonso (PK)

Portland: Troy Perkins; Steve Purdy, Eric Brunner (sent off 81'), Mamadou Danso, Rodney Wallace; James Marcelin, Diego Chara, Jack Jewsbury, Darlington Nagbe (Sal Zizzo 64'); Kalif Alhassan, Jorge Perlaza (Kenny Cooper 75').
Substitutes not used: Adin Brown, Kevin Goldthwaite, Jeremy Hall, Adam Moffat, Eddie Johnson.

Seattle: Kasey Keller; James Riley, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (Patrick Ianni 57'), Tyson Wahl; Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg, Alvaro Fernandez (Lamar Neagle 66'); Roger Levesque, Fredy Montero (Pat Noonan 89').
Substitutes not used: Terry Boss, Zach Scott, Servando Carrasco, Nate Jaqua.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

Seattle Sounders FC came away winners in their first MLS match at the Portland Timbers' field. Portland took the lead twice from an own goal and a deflected goal, and both times Fredy Montero subsequently brought the Sounders back to level. The match winner came when Osvaldo Alonso made good on a late penalty kick.

The atmosphere in the stadium was great, as both supporters groups were in fine voice starting an hour before kickoff. They each put good effort into their tifo, with Timbers Army hoisting a superbly painted King of Clubs banner that went floor to ceiling. In Seattle's allotted corner ECS displayed a banner that said, "It takes a Sounder to raise a trophy."

Seattle wore their electricity yellow jerseys for the first time in a league match. The players wore a black armband in honor of ex-Sounder Mark Peterson, who recently passed away at the age of 51.

The first half was played with intensity and pressure, but scoring chances were few. Seattle had the first chance 5 minutes in when Roger Levesque was fouled 25 yards from goal. Montero bent the free kick around the wall, and Troy Perkins was there at the lower near corner to push it wide. Two minutes later Mauro Rosales served a cross to Levesque for a header, but the service was a bit too high for the forward.

Portland's Kalif Alhassan looked like was was served free on the right at 17' and took the ball into the penalty area, but Alonso recovered to stop Alhassan's progress, and he slipped and fell trying to cut back.

Seattle had some good looks in the last half of the first half. A cross past goal at 27' gave Rosales a chance from a steep angle, but he skied the shot. A minute later Rosales crossed a ball to give Montero a chance out from the near post, and he missed the near post by a foot. Erik Friberg put a nice ball through to give Alvaro Fernandez a shot 10 yards from goal, and Perkins did well to come out for the block. On the resulting corner kick, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado headed a shot just wide.

46' POR: Own goal. Portland scored in the opening minute of the second half. Alhassan received a forward pass from James Marcelin and turned the corner around Tyson Wahl when the defender stabbed at the ball and missed. Alhassan went to the end line and crossed low to the near post, where defender Jeff Parke was ball side of Jorge Perlaza, but the ball hit Parke's ankle and deflected in. 1-0 Portland.

At 54' Seattle's Hurtado stayed down with a knee injury after he and fellow Colombian Diego Chara kicked the ball simultaneously and Hurtado had to leave the pitch, soon replaced by Patrick Ianni. Rather than put the ball out, Portland continued their attack and Rodney Wallace's cross went through the goal area, where Perlaza whiffed on it in front of goal.

57' SEA: Montero. Alonso won the ball in his own end and carried it half the length of the pitch, then dished a square pass to Montero. Marcelin received a yellow card for a tactical foul on Montero, who had turned on goal 25 yards out and left of the arc. Montero took the free kick and struck another beauty, bending it just over the wall and down to bounce on the goal line and go in at the lower near corner. 1-1. Montero celebrated by taking off his shirt and whipping it around like it was a scarf. For taking it off, he received a yellow card.

Five minutes later Montero had another chance off a give and go played up the middle, and Perkins came out for a fine save of the 15-yard shot.

At 64' a long Jack Jewsbury free kick almost found the head of Mamadou Danso, but Keller got to it first. Two minutes later another Portland free kick was served into the goal area and fell, and Levesque cleared it away. Another two minute and Danso served a ball to the far post and Wahl let substitute Sal Zizzo cut in front of him to volley a shot, fortunately well off target.

69' POR: Perlaza (Chara). On a counterattack after a Seattle corner kick play, Chara beat three Seattle defenders to send a long ball forward for Perlaza, who beat the offside trap and approached the top corner of the penalty area. His shot deflected off Tyson Wahl's outstretched leg and looped over Keller and under the bar. 2-1 Portland.

74' SEA: Montero (Rosales, Neagle). James Riley sent a long ball cross pitch to substitute Lamar Neagle to the left of the penalty area. Neagle juked Steve Purdy, then crossed to the far post, where Rosales took one touch to sent the ball to Montero at the opposite post. Fredy tapped it into the large open space vacated by Perkins, who had gone to protect the far post. 2-2.

82' SEA: Alonso (PK). From Friberg's drop pass, Alonso played a nice ball forward over everyone for Neagle to run onto. Neagle ran by Eric Brunner too easily, and from behind Brunner tried to clear the ball with his boot up near Neagle's face. Brunner kicked the ball into Neagle's face, then Brunner's high leg came down on Neagle's shoulder, taking Neagle down from behind with the ball loose in front of Neagle. Referee Jorge Gonzalez immediately pointed to the spot, then pulled out a red card for Brunner for fouling to deny a goal scoring opportunity. Alonso sent the penalty kick low to the right corner, just beating Perkins' dive to that corner. 3-2 Seattle.

At 84' Zizzo's cross gave Alhassan a chance to level the match, but he wasted the shot well over the bar. Two minutes later Zizzo fed Alhassan for another chance that he wasted well wide of the near post.

Montero came close to a hat trick at 87', when Rosales' cross set him up for a header aimed downwards. Perkins saved with his hand at the goal plane. The ball popped up and came down with spin, jumping back towards the goal, and from inside the goal Perkins pounced on the ball on the goal line.

Portland had two chances at the end. A long ball led to Chara's header, caught by Keller at the bar. Finally, a long free kick was driven too far, at Keller, by Jewsbury.

          POR  SEA
Shots:     11   14
Saves:      4    3
Corners:    5    3
Fouls:     11    9
Offsides:   1    0

56' POR: Marcelin cautioned for a tactical foul on Montero
58' SEA: Montero cautioned for taking his shirt off in a goal celebration
63' SEA: Alonso cautioned for tripping from behind
78' SEA: Rosales cautioned for kicking the ball into the stands after being incorrectly whistled for handling
81' POR: Brunner sent off for fouling Neagle from behind to deny a goal scoring opportunity

Referees: Jorge Gonzalez; Greg Barkey, James Conlee; Allen Chapman

Attendance: 18,627

Postmatch Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Head Coach

General thoughts on the win: "It's definitely a nice win. It's a great advertisement for the sport. If you can't come to a game like this and walk away saying, 'Hey, this is pretty exciting, this is a lot of fun.' ... Five goals in the second half. It's what a derby game is all about."

On Fredy Montero scoring two equalizing goals: "It shows a lot of good character by our team to come back twice. Fredy has been putting in extra work this year on the free kicks and has gotten two pretty good free kicks for us in the last five games. That's because of all the extra work he's done. When you do extra work you get rewarded. The second goal he got was a great cross by Rosales. He picked him out. He was unlucky not to get a third off his header. I was very pleased with how he played and what his work rate was all about today."

On the Timbers' first goal: "Obviously it's early in the half. The switching ball I thought we were too far off of the guy, so the guy slips in behind Tyson and then the guy comes in. It looked like it went off Jeff Parke. So we ended up scoring five goals tonight actually. I thought we didn't do well with balls that got switched across the field and that's what really opened up Portland's front."

On Neagle's contributions off the bench: "One of the reasons we wanted to get Neagle on there is we felt we could get behind Purdy with Neagle's speed. I told Lamar to make sure he made runs off the ball, which he did. It was a good short-short-long combination. He ran hard behind and Brunner wasn't left with a lot of choices, or else Lamar brings that ball down and buries it."

On Montero not taking the penalty kick: "The guys who were up for penalties today were Fernandez and Alonso. So when we got the penalty, I think Ozzie wanted to defer to Fredy to give him the chance at the hat trick, but I said no."

On Hurtado's injury: "We'll have to see. He hurt his knee but we think it's just an MCL or something like that. Anything I could say right now is just a guess."

On environment compared to before: "Obviously they're no longer in the USL; they're in MLS now. The environment's better because the stadium has fans on all sides of it now. You don't have an open side like you had before. Certainly the environment's good. It's second-best in the league."

On quick change in emotion between Hurtado's injury and Montero's first goal: "The second half was not for anybody with weak hearts, going back and forth like that. The emotional lift from scoring that free kick - getting that goal back as early as we did - was really important. If we had had to keep battling for 10-15 minutes longer to get that goal back, it would have given them a better chance at things. But being able to come back right away both times and score was what really made the game a little bit easier for us."

Did you watch the U.S. women's game coming in? Any boost from that one?: "We had to get on the bus before they actually finished. Maybe some of the guys saw the tying goal by Wambach. I think Ozzie had it on his phone or something like that so they were watching it a little bit ... It was a great attitude from our team today, showed a lot of character. I thought Portland played with a lot of enthusiasm. They switched their style around a little bit by coming out in more-or-less a 4-3-3, or you could even call it a 4-5-1. We had to adjust to that; we caught it when we saw their lineup. But I thought the guys did a good job of that. Roger and Fredy took turns on Marcelin and I thought that was important for our game today."

On how the Portland-Seattle rivalry compares to other rivalries in U.S. sports: "Being from Southern California, this is like UCLA-USC. This is Texas-Texas A&M. I think the college rivalries are sometimes more intense than the rivalries are at the pro sports level, with the exception of maybe Red Sox-Yankees or Celtic-Lakers or something like that. I think it's very comparable to the best college rivalries that you see. For somebody who watched the game today, this is what we hope it's like in every stadium we go to. Even the fans in other MLS cities who watched this game - imagine what it would be like if they could recreate this environment at every stadium in the league. It would shoot the game through the top. It would become must-see TV."

Coincidence all three goals came in front of your fan section?: "Yeah, total coincidence ... Certainly it was nice to reward them. I thought we had a good sprinkling of Sounders fans throughout the entire stadium beyond just our allocated block. I don't know how they succeeded in getting all those tickets, but they did. It was tremendous. It was a tremendous feeling. We talked before the game about being the first Seattle team to win here. This is the first time they're back in MLS, and we wanted to be the first team. We always talk about being the first at something. All those guys have to be very proud, because they are the first Seattle team to win at Portland in a regular season game."

What do the comebacks say about your team?: "I think we've matured. I think we've grown. Our character is better. We don't let a setback take us down. Last year, if something negative happened, it sort of impacted us for a little bit and we struggled to find our game again. Our psychology is a lot stronger. The character of the team is stronger. That's been our big change over the last two months."

How has that happened?: "Maturity. They've grown up. You say enough things finally some of it sticks. With them, the whole coaching staff, the fitness level of the team, the coaching staff talking to guys individually, talking to guys in groups, telling the group, 'There's a way to win the game, you just got to find a way.'"

On Keller being named to First XI: "It's tremendous for Kasey. Unfortunately it's one of those things again where we have a (CONCACAF Champions League) play-in game, so it makes it difficult. I think for Kasey to be voted in as a first-team all-star in his last season is a reflection of the respect that he deserves because he's an outstanding goalkeeper."

On wearing black armbands for Mark Peterson: "We talked about that. We told them it was very important for us to have the connection to the tradition of the old Sounders. We're the new Sounders but we have a link to the old Sounders. Mark Peterson was the last Sounder to score a goal here in Portland before Portland left the league. He got the Golden Scarf from the fans and that showed he had the respect and that fans knew about him. It was a proper tribute for us to recognize him because the link to the tradition of the old Sounders is very important to this group."

Fredy Montero

What does the performance means to you individually and for the team?: "For me it was amazing. I feel really happy because I scored twice. I think the most important thing is the three points for the team. We're looking forward to the playoffs."

Think you could've had three?: "When you haven't scored the last game, you are thinking to score -- even just one. Know what I mean? Now, I score two. I feel happy."

Think you could've taken the PK?: "Sure. I feel confident, you know? As Sigi said, the penalty is for Ozzie. He's the boss. I had to say, 'OK Ozzie. Let's score a goal.'"

On the fans: "The fans are amazing. They come here from Seattle, support us all 90 minutes. We were down after the first goal. We kept playing hard and we scored. We tied the game two times."

On scoring on free kicks: "When the games are really close I don't have that many opportunities to score. Free kicks are a good chance for me to score, like today, you know? I feel really happy because it was a great moment in the game for us."

On hearing Portland fans: "All the game I heard what they said, but my job is to play for the Seattle Sounders. I have many fans who support me and who are behind me. I feel so happy to be on this team and I'm so happy to be here."

On Hurtado going out: "It was frustrating because he had to come out. The team was really sad to see your teammate out of the field. We're around to support him no matter what happens."

Jeff Parke

Was the atmosphere what you expected?: "It was everything and more. It was great. The stadium was loud. It feels like the fans are right on top of you. The field is small, compact, so a lot of action, a lot of guys bumping and running and stuff, so you've got to have your A-game today."

On own goal not being the winner: "It was good. I was (upset) that it happened, but it's just part of the game. It's unfortunate, but the boys responded well. Fredy had a helluva game, had some good goals. We got on top of them quick. It was a blessing in disguise. It woke us up and I think we stepped it up after that."

On the wild second half: "It was good ... I don't know how many times we've had (crappy) goals like that go in on us this year. It's unfortunate, but you've got to work harder. The harder you work, the better things come and the easier things come. We worked hard today, it was end to end. I felt like we obviously did enough to get the win. I thought we outworked them."

What's the mood like in here?: "It's good. Unfortunately Jhon went down with an injury, which is unfortunate for him, but I think he might be all right. But it's great for the team, and all the fans that came down can go back on a high. We're doing well right now. We've gotten a lot of wins lately and we're on a bit of a roll."

Excitement but also exhaustion at the final whistle?: "I felt like I could keep playing. It was good. I think we were getting the better of them. They were just dropping balls in; that was basically their attack, but for the most part, when the final whistle blows, it's definitely a bit of a relief because you can look up at your fans and everybody's going nuts. You know that you've got the win. You can go home and sleep a little bit better tonight."

Even more so because of the emotion of the game?: "Yeah, because you're going in on a high, then mentally now you're just kind of exhausted and tired, but you can go home smiling. Probably people will be honking when they pass us. It was a good win for our club and fans."

Roger Levesque

What did you hear out there?: "Just a big roar. All of it was a big roar. Nothing in particular, whether it was the Sounders fans or the Timber Army, just all background noise. It was awesome though."

How did this compare to other games here?: "There's no question about it, this was as exciting of an atmosphere as I've played in here in Portland. With the game going how it did, us going down a goal, fighting back, going down a goal, fighting back. It just kept building and building and creating that drama to the very end, and the good guys came out on top."

Difference in second half?: "With them scoring that goal right off the bat, that forced us to come out and play. We knew we had to go at them. The first half we were still trying to feel each other out a little bit, both teams were getting a lot of players behind the ball defensively, so not a whole lot of room to attack. But once they get that goal a minute into the second half, then at that point it's a battle. We got to go. We need a goal. We need something to get back into this."

On being booed: "Not a huge shock. I was expecting some positivity coming from the Portland fans, but not so much. Maybe next year."

On Neagle's impact: "He came on and changed the game. Involved in that pretty second goal for the group -- the ball across to Mauro, Mauro back across and Fredy finds himself in a great spot to finish it. Then making the run; the third-man run is simple soccer and something we always tell the youth teams. The ball went back to Ozzie, he put him in behind and he used his athleticism to get himself in that spot."

As good of a regular season win as you can get?: "Especially with how the game went, being able to fight back and show that character. It's something that we've been maybe searching for a little bit the last couple of years. This team has the confidence going for it, and now our next focus is the Open Cup on Wednesday."

What did you think of the tifo?: "I would say the Emerald City Supporters win in a landslide ... It's great to see the Timbers Army come out and support their team though. They were here and in it the whole way, and I'm sure they'll be back."

Is the Timbers Army bigger?: "It's definitely grown. That passion and that character is still there and still at the core of it, but definitely a lot bigger. You look up into that section and it used to be right behind the goal, and it's just sort of expanded out. The support is definitely there, that excitement for soccer here in Portland."

Still second best?: "I would say so. Emerald City Supporters are right at the top of the list."

Osvaldo Alonso

On taking that late PK: "There were many things on my mind: it's a 2-2 game, in Portland, lot of people -- I was very nervous. I scored the goal and we got the three points, and that's most important for the team."

Was Montero thinking about it?: "Before the game, on the board Fernandez was first and I was second. But Fernandez was not in the game so I took the responsibility. I scored the goal and was very excited for that."

Do you like that role?: "Yeah, it's great. If I get the opportunity, I take it."

Kasey Keller

You said games like this are about heart, what did this game tell you about your team?: "You come back twice and then you take the lead. That shows you what's going on with this team right now. It's a team effort and the team's putting in the effort and we're certainly getting the rewards for it. Especially when you go down with as unlucky as we had on two occasions. I think at different times in the last three years the team might have folded and that's not the case right now. The team knows that we're capable of coming back in any kind of situation and we can get results out of it. Even going down twice you think maybe it's a draw. Maybe we'd be happy with that. Not only did we get the third goal, but we had a great chance to get a fourth. Just a great team effort, and obviously there's a lot of happy Sounders fans making the 180-mile trip. That's the most important thing for us. Not to mention the rivalry and all of that stuff, but let's take that out of the equation. If our ultimate goal is to win something this year, that's a big three points. L.A. keeps winning, Dallas lost, but Salt Lake is right behind us. You've got to keep winning if you want to win stuff. What are we now? Eight games unbeaten with five wins? There's nothing wrong with that. We're very happy with how things are going right now."

On the own goals and deflections: "It happens. It's part of the game. You go on little streaks where you take a deflection and you're totally beaten and it hits the post and goes out. Or you have everything covered and it takes a deflection and it happens on you. That's just part of the game, and what is key is you put balls in nasty positions and things happen. The first goal in particular. The second goal was just unlucky, totally unlucky, but the first goal you've got to say look the kid did well. He got there, he whipped the ball across the front, and it hit somebody's ankle. Unfortunately it was our guy, but it could have been their guy, it didn't matter, and it's in the back of the net. But all credit. Nobody got their head down. Fredy pops up with a great free kick, and obviously you saw what he did against Toronto. He does it again today, that's big. Just a fantastic team-goal the second one. I thought Flaco had a great game, and then Lamar came in and made a great impact: crosses it over, Mauro great touch, Fredy bangs it home. Then, a real simple ball -- you can't coach speed and Lamar's got some speed. You put it over the top and he's through. It was funny because the ref and I were talking before the game about the Women's World Cup game [between the U.S.A. and Brazil] and the sending off and that stuff. He said it's such a travesty because the rule was designed to stop you from booting somebody from behind from 30 yards out when he's on a breakaway, not when you actually get double penalized with the penalty and the red card. He said they don't want to do it but there are strict rules from FIFA and there you have it. You have the exact same situation, and he has to send Brunner off. As a pro, you never want to see that happen. It made for an interesting last 10 minutes, that's for sure."

On the atmosphere of JELD-WEN Field: "It's a great atmosphere here. It's a great park. At some stage I wish them all the best of success, as long as they're just one place below us. In this country, you want to see franchises like this with this kind of support be successful. It's great the way Philly's had a great second year after having great support and then being able to do that for their fans and reward them. If Toronto can ever figure it out, maybe. They've got a good thing going here, but it's going to take a little time. It's a great place to play a game. It kind of goes back to the decision of playing another year of these games and I'm just happy to have this one in the memory books."

On being named to the MLS All-Star First XI: "It's cool. I just don't know if I'm going to be able to go. That's the tricky part. They want to promote this game and have it be a big thing, but then they schedule stuff around it so some of us won't be able to make it, which is a bit frustrating. It's always an honor. I thank the fans as always for giving me the opportunity. Goalkeepers don't do it without good teammates around them and that makes a big difference as well. We're doing a lot of big things this year."

Portland Timbers

John Spencer - Head Coach

On the overall result: "I think it proved today that if you can't defend, you're not going to win games. I think offensively we did enough, but defensively if we keep leaking goals we're not going to win games."

On the penalty kick call on defender Eric Brunner and the defensive effort: "I think it was 100 percent the correct call, penalty kick and a red card. I don't think there's any question in that. Goals are goals, regardless, and they got 3 points. I think it's lack of concentration, lack of communication, and if you don't talk in this game and you don't mark runners you're going to get punished."

On Seattle forward Fredy Montero's free kick goal: "I thought it was a great free kick. He put it exactly where he had to put it for it to be a goal because Troy Perkins got across quick. It was a tremendous piece of skill."

On a loss to Seattle hurting more than a normal loss: "I think it does (hurt more). You get beat by your biggest rivals at home when you score two goals and you've got the lead twice, I wouldn't say it's unacceptable, but you've got to finish the game off. I think offensively as a team we played well, defensively when you give good players the opportunities and go to sleep you're going to get punished and we got punished."

On the crowd and atmosphere: "I thought it was amazing. It's nothing short of amazing week in and week out. I thought the pre-game was a super show, obviously the fans put a lot of work and a lot of time into it and (I'm) just disappointed we couldn't give them something in return."

On poor habits developing during the winless streak: "I think lack of confidence is the habit right now. You can't hang the back four out to dry and say they've got to defend better, we've got to defend better as a team -- as 11 guys. We've got to try and stem the tide and get back to winning ways."

Eric Brunner

On his foul that led to a red card: "The ball bounced a little bit and he kind of had position on it and I tried to reach around and I thought I got the ball first. But at the same time, we can't let him get behind us like that and make the referee make the decision from that far away."

On the defensive effort: "We're giving up too many goals. As a defense and a collective unit we need to learn how to finish games. Games are going to be tight in this league and we need to do a better job closing them out."

Jack Jewsbury

On the overall result: "I think any time at home when you get the lead twice, you should be able to hold on for the 3 points. I think it's disappointing, obviously it's a big rivalry game, it would be disappointing in any game, but especially in this one, it hurts pretty bad ... If you said we were going to have two goals you'd definitely think we'd be in here celebrating a victory. It's a tough one to swallow. There were some little mistakes that came back to haunt us and let them back into the game."

On being selected to the MLS All-Star First XI: "That's an honor, but it's a little bittersweet today. We could've started a good streak here, it would've been nice."

On moving forward: "We're disappointed with the way the game went, but we've got to learn from our mistakes. I know we keep saying that, but at the end of the day if we don't do that we're (still) going to be in this situation."