2011 Mar 4

Portland Timbers take inaugural Cascadia Summit preseason match

Cascade Summit preseason match:
Seattle Sounders FC  0 - 2  Portland Timbers
Starfire Stadium, Tukwila, WA

21' POR: Jorge Perlaza (Kenny Cooper)
90' POR: Kenny Cooper (Sal Zizzo)

Seattle: Kasey Keller; James Riley, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez; Alvaro Fernandez (Erik Friberg 69'), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans (Pat Noonan 85'), Steve Zakuani; Fredy Montero (Mike Fucito 80'), Blaise Nkufo (O'Brian White 80').
Substitutes not used: Terry Boss, Patrick Ianni, Taylor Graham, Zach Scott, Michael Tetteh, Servando Carrasco, David Estrada.

Portland: Troy Perkins; Steve Purdy, Kevin Goldthwaite, Eric Brunner, Rodney Wallace; Sal Zizzo, Peter Lowry (Adam Moffat 81'), Jack Jewsbury, Jeremy Hall; Kenny Cooper, Jorge Perlaza (Brian Umony 75').
Substitutes not used: Adin Brown, Eddie Johnson, Kalif Alohassan, David Horst, James Marcelin, Ryan Pore, Chris Taylor, Freddie Braun, Bim Ogunyemi, Rodrigo Lopez, Quavas Kirk, Taylor Meuller, Jake Gleeson, Mamadou Danso.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

The Portland Timbers scored early and late to beat the Seattle Sounders in the inaugural Cascadia Summit match during the final phase of the preseason. Portland's goals came from Jorge Perlaza and Kenny Cooper. Troy Perkins was in goal for the shutout.

The first 20 minutes saw a lot of hard work both ways, but no shots.

21' POR: Perlaza (Cooper). Cooper took the first shot of the match from the 18 after Sal Zizzo sprinted up the right touch line to center the ball. Kasey Keller got down to make the save, but couldn't hold onto the ball and it spilled in front of the far post where Perlaza was wide open to tap it in. 1-0 Portland.

Seattle's first shot came a few minutes later on their first corner kick, taken by Osvaldo Alonso, with Jeff Parke heading a hard shot at the lower near corner and Perkins getting down for the save.

Another few minutes and Perlaza had a golden chance to score his second from Zizzo's cross, but he skied the shot.

Blaise Nkufo had been playing up high with Fredy Montero as the withdrawn forward. On the half hour they switched places and Nkufo had some success as a strong target. Alvaro Fernandez beat the trap and was wide open ten yards from goal to head a cross, but he missed by a yard with a good opportunity to score. Alonso's long free kick bent low around the wall to force a save. The half ended with Seattle seeming to be gaining momentum.

The second half went Seattle's way until the last half minute, when Portland took their only shot of the half and scored on it. Seattle had several good opportunities among their seven shots but failed to find the net. The first chance was Alonso's when he stole the ball in midfield and advanced for a 25-yard line drive that went an inch over the bar. The best chance for the home side came when Steve Zakuani worked the left side to serve a ball into the box. The ball was deflected to the far post and Fernandez had a chance to set up a volley 7 yards from goal, but he shot over the top corner. The Sounders could have had more chances than they did but they seemed to be making more errant passes than the visitors.

90' POR: Cooper (Zizzo). In the last of three minutes of added time, Seattle's defense missed the offside trap on Cooper and left him all alone to receive Zizzo's pass inside the penalty area and blast a hard shot past Keller for the insurance goal. 2-0 Portland.

          SEA  POR
Shots:     11    6
Saves:      2    3
Corners:    7    2
Fouls:      6   12
Offsides:   2    3

5' SEA: Alonso cautioned for a late tackle
54' SEA: Hurtado cautioned for a tactical foul
69' POR: Jewsbury cautioned for a late tackle

Referees: Dave Gantar; Darren Clark, Cameron Blair; Drew Fischer

Attendance: 3,100

Postmatch Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Head Coach

General comments: "I thought our second half was better than our first. I thought we created chances, obviously didn't score, so that's disappointing. I thought there was one handball, sometimes you get those, sometimes you don't. Really ticked at the last goal that we gave up and the first goal I thought was a soft goal. I think it's one that we should not have given up. It is what it is. It's preseason. We tried to push some guys 90 minutes; we got 90 minutes out of some guys. I think there was a little bit of fatigue for somebody like (Jhon Kennedy Hurtado) at the end of the game, because it's been a long time since he's played 90 minutes. On the same token, it's better to build that fitness now than to pull him out of the game and not build it. It's preseason. What's important is that we finish our chances when the season starts, but we've got to bury chances at practice and bury chances in practice games."

Could you have made more subs?: "We could have gone more subs. We could have subbed the whole team if we wanted to. But we had sort of made the decision we were going to see how the game was going to go. We came out at halftime and said, 'Let's see how it goes.' I thought we took over control of the game in the second half and their danger came in with counters and so we got some guys more and more minutes and see how many guys we could to push to 90. So we got a few guys through to 90 - that's for sure."

How disappointing is it to lose to a rival, in front of a crowd for the first time, after all the buildup with the rivalry?: "Extremely disappointing. I don't like losing. I don't think anybody in that locker room likes losing, but it is what it is. We lost 2-0 tonight. I'm sure the Portland fans are going to have a nice happy drive home ... and I'm disappointed for our fans. But as I said, we've got to make sure we're ready on March 15. That's the most important goal right now."

Was that a unique atmosphere for a preseason game?: "It was great. It was great because it pumps the players up and you get a better feel for how guys are going to do under a little bit of pressure -- stick in some new guys and see how they do. I thought Erik Friberg came on and played very well in his minutes, especially more inside than outside. You see how guys react, nerves and everything else."

What will your team approach be Sunday against the Whitecaps?: "Obviously we had guys play 90 minutes today so they're not going to play on Sunday. We're not going to push guys to a point of getting injured. For us, it's a situation of looking at some other people. We had some guys who didn't suit up tonight because we knew they'd play Sunday. It's a chance for some guys to make a case for themselves and show that they can bang away goals."

Who did you think played well tonight?: "I think everybody had moment during the game. I thought Zakuani certainly created some danger down the flank and had some moments. I thought Montero had some moments. I thought Blaise had some moments. Fernandez was unlucky maybe not to get a couple goals. Ozzie had some moments. Evans did some things well. Everybody had some moments but the thing is it was just moments and it was like a patchwork quilt. It's got to be a little bit more constant and more consistent. That's something we're looking to attain."

Steve Zakuani

General comments: "Obviously everybody's disappointed we lost the game. It's still preseason but it's a game we wanted to win in front of the fans -- it's the first time they've seen us. Disappointing to lose. They scored two goals from the very few chances they had. Credit to them. That's a very physical team, a very physical game on a very tight pitch, so it makes it difficult to play. I just felt it was a very flat first half and the second half, to be fair, I think we did some very good stuff apart from the final third where we need to get better finishing. I think we dominated the second half, they were just depending on the long ball to Kenny Cooper. We had some good combinations and good movements. Had we been maybe in midseason form we'd have capitalized on a few more, but maybe a touch was heavy at times or that final ball was over-hit -- which will come. We expect that, it's preseason. As much as it hurts we look at the positives and keep moving forward."

The plus side is you created but the down side is you didn't finish: "That's disappointing, but that's always the last thing to come. You go through preseason building your fitness first and then the chemistry and then tactically and we're getting there. I think we moved the ball pretty good, still need to move it a bit quicker. At times it got caught on all of us -- that still needs to come. But I think two weeks away from the season we're at a place where we just need to be better in our own box and better in their box too. That was the difference today. In terms of football and quality we showed second half especially that we can pass the ball pretty well. Portland was just being physical and all that so it's disappointing to lose, but I think as a player I have to look at the positives."

Despite being a preseason game, how much did you feel the rivalry?: "It's always going to be every time we play Portland. We played them last year I think this same stage before the season, at Qwest Field, and they beat us 1-nil and that felt bad too. It's always the same. Portland is going to bring that because of the fans and all that stuff. For the players we want to win of course, but we didn't drop any points. We're not out of any playoff race or anything like that. No one's going to panic. It's a case of 'What did we do well? What did we do wrong?' We have just over a week to fix it before L.A. comes to town. That's what we're going to work on. The negatives are we gave up two goals that we should have defended better as a team. I think the positives are we created a lot of chances, but we didn't finish them. To be fair, I think that's the best we moved the ball all preseason and it's getting there. It's getting there. It takes a while to come but we're getting close."

Portland Timbers

John Spencer - Head Coach

General comments: "The first half I thought we were a bit nervous at times. Then we got a bit confident and started to attack from wide areas. We created a couple of chances and Jorge taps one in. We had another one coming down the right hand side and we blasted one over the bar near post. I thought we were unfortunate not to go in 2-0, 2-1 at the halftime."

On halftime: "I said to them I thought their shape was excellent. I thought their reaction and desire to get to the ball and win tackles was great. We beat a good team tonight but we can't get too carried away. We put the work rate and the effort in and this is what you get. I keep telling them time and time again that talent alone is not enough in the modern game. You've got to have that desire to get there and win your individual battles, and I thought tonight we've done that."

On the run of play in second half: "You can't dominate games for 90 minutes when you're playing against quality teams like the Sounders are. They're a powerful unit and very well coached. We expected them to come out in the first 15 minutes and throw everything they had at us. Again I thought we looked a little bit nervous...I felt at about the 65th minute they'd given us everything that they had, and possibly run out of ideas. I said to the guys on bench if we're smart and still compete and try to attack from the right areas then I think we'll win this game. To be fair I think the best team on the night won this game."

Jack Jewsbury looked like he was wearing the captain's armband, what did you think of him tonight?: "I hope he was, because we gave it to him. Jack is that type of player that goes around and does his business in a very professional manner on the field. He's got great experience. I think tonight it showed and people could see why we traded for him. When we heard he could become available Gavin worked very hard to get him. I'm very happy to have him on the squad."

How important was the win?: "Every win is great. ... It's going to take more than us beating Seattle and the Whitecaps to get where we want to be. We can't look at Seattle as this giant monster. They're a professional team, we're a professional team. They have quality players, we have quality players. The two stadiums are compatible. We play with the same rules and the same ball. When you drop the ball in the middle, you better be ready to fight, because one thing's for sure: we won't play well every week, but we're definitely going to work hard and be physical."

What was the atmosphere like?: "I think it's brilliant. The atmosphere is what it's all about. I said the players before the game, nobody moves to the Pacific Northwest for the weather. Everybody moves here if they're a soccer guy and want to come and play at the highest level, and get treated like a top-class professional. It doesn't matter what organization you're with, whether you're in Portland or Seattle, people look at you as a professional soccer player. I think the guys get a vibe off that. I walked onto the field before the game, I was surprised. It was like being in Europe, it was brilliant. With the fans you get a little bit of a boost, which is nice. I don't mind that. Getting a short, fat, balding Scotsman ready to pump and shout. As long as we come away with the three points and a good win then I'm happy."