Timbers surprise Sounders in exhibition
In front of a bipartisan crowd of 3,100, the expansion Timbers escaped with a surprising 2-0 win over Sounders FC in the teams' first meeting as Major League Soccer foes.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Whitecaps FC vs. Timbers at Starfire in Tukwila, 4 p.m.
Whitecaps FC @ Sounders FC, 3 p.m.
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TUKWILA — Loud drums, waving flags, rhythmic chants and smoke filled the Starfire Sports Complex, but this time the support wasn't exclusively for Sounders FC.
The Cascadia Summit, a three-day event featuring Pacific Northwest rivals, kicked off Friday night with just as much attention on the spirited fans in the stands as the action between Seattle and Portland on the field. And in front of a bipartisan crowd of 3,100, the expansion Timbers escaped with a surprising 2-0 win in the teams' first meeting as Major League Soccer foes.
"I'm sure the Portland fans are going to have a nice, happy drive home ... and I'm disappointed for our fans," said Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid, whose team is 4-3-2 during the exhibition season. "But as I said, we've got to make sure we're ready on March 15 (for the season opener). That's the most important goal right now."
A competitive tone between the rivals was set in the sixth minute when Seattle midfielder Osvaldo Alonso fouled Portland's Jack Jewsbury on a slide tackle, a hard challenge that earned the Cuban a yellow card. That intensity never relented.
Similar contention was expected in the stands, where the two fan bases came in through separate gates and sat in separate stands to avoid incident. Seattle and Portland supporters each also had their own restrooms and beer gardens.
On the field, the action was surprisingly even between Sounders FC and the first-year Timbers in the first half. The visitors took a 1-0 lead in the 21st minute when Colombian forward Jorge Perlaza tapped in a rebound after Kenny Cooper's shot was saved by Kasey Keller.
Cooper later added another goal in the final minute of the game.
"To be fair I, think the best team on the night won this game," said Portland coach John Spencer.
Trailing by a goal for most of the second half, Seattle dominated the scoring chances and finished with an 18-7 advantage in shots. The home team blamed the common bugaboo of creating well, but missing chances.
"Obviously everybody's disappointed we lost the game," said Steve Zakuani, who put the loss in perspective and said the team won't panic. "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."
Spencer's team is 2-0-4 in the exhibition season with four straight shutouts, but he said it will take a lot more than drawing first blood against the rivals to achieve the team's goals this season. And in the end, he said, the crowd was the star.
"I think it was brilliant; the atmosphere is what it's all about," Spencer said. "I said to the players before the game, nobody moves to the Pacific Northwest for the weather."
• Vancouver didn't play in the round robin Friday but did announce the signing of its first designated player, French forward Eric Hassli, who played previously at FC Zurich in the Swiss Super League.
• The three-day event continues Saturday with an hourlong supporters' summit at noon and a Q&A session at 1 p.m. with the three head coaches. Portland plays Whitecaps FC at 4 p.m.
• Sammamish native Taylor Mueller, who played collegiately at Washington, made the trip with the Timbers but did not see the field.
• Sounders FC had previously played the Timbers three times since making the jump to MLS — two wins in the U.S. Open Cup and a 1-0 exhibition loss last year at Qwest Field.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org
TIMBERS 2, SOUNDERS FC 0
|Portland||1 1 — 2|
|Seattle||0 0 — 0|
Sounders FC — Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Alvaro Fernandez (Erik Friberg 69), Brad Evans (Pat Noonan 85), Osvaldo Alonso, Steve Zakuani, Fredy Montero (Mike Fucito 80), Blaise Nkufo (O'Brian white 89). Reserves: Patrick Ianni, Michael Tetteh, David Estrada, Zach Scott, Servando Carrasco, Taylor Graham, Terry Boss.
Portland — Troy Perkins, Steve Purdy, Kevin Goldthwaite, Eric Brunner, Rodney Wallace, Sal Zizzo, Peter Lowry (Adam Moffat 80), Jack Jewsbury, Jeremy Hall, Kenny Cooper, Jorge Perlaza (Brian Umony 75). Reserves: Eddie Johnson, Kalif Alhassan, David Horst, James Marcelin, Jake Gleeson, Ryan Pore, Adin Brown, Chris Taylor, Freddie Braun, Spencer Thompson, Bim Ogunyemi, Rodrigo Lopez, Quavas Kirk, Taylor Mueller, Jake Gibson, Mamadou Danso.