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Originally published Saturday, July 9, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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Graham's 2 goals help Sounders head off Timbers

Taylor Graham heard about the intensity of the Seattle Sounders' rivalry with the Portland Timbers. Yesterday, he officially became part...

Special to The Seattle Times

TUKWILA — Taylor Graham heard about the intensity of the Seattle Sounders' rivalry with the Portland Timbers.

Yesterday, he officially became part of it.

Graham, the first-year Sounders defender who played two seasons of Major League Soccer, provided two goals and was a key player at both ends as the Sounders downed the Timbers 4-2 last night at Starfire Sports Complex.

"I'm new to the rivalry, but I could tell it's a special one," said Graham, who scored on a pair of headers after misfiring on his first 15 shots of the season. "We were determined to come away with three points. Luck was on my side to finish two great services."

The match was the first United Soccer Leagues First Division home match played away from Seattle's Qwest Field for the Sounders in 2005. It was played in front of a standing-room only crowd of 3,204.

Sounders rookie midfielder Gabe Sturm and forward Roger Levesque each finished with a goal and an assist.

The Sounders (10-2-4 overall, 7-2-4 league) moved into fourth place in the USL First Division and with 25 points. The Timbers dropped to 5-6-4 with 19 points.

Graham emphatically broke his season-long scoring drought.

"The guys have been joking around before every game, saying, 'You're due,' " said Graham. "At halftime, they were teasing me about having 75 shots on goal and only having one goal."

Sturm gave Seattle a 1-0 lead in the 19th minute on his second career goal on a 15-yard left-footed shot into the left corner of the net.

Seattle went ahead 2-0 in the 45th minute on Graham's first goal of the season, a beautiful 7-yard header into the left side of the net on a free kick by Sturm from 30 yards out.

Levesque cashed in for the Sounders by heading in a rebound of Kevin Sakuda's point-blank shot off Saunders' hands in the 56th minute.

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But Portland cut Seattle's lead to 3-2 on Byron Alvarez's penalty kick in the 60th minute and Shaun Higgins' header in the 68th.

Graham scored his second goal — a spectacular diving header at the left post — on Andrew Gregor's left-footed corner kick from the right in the 89th minute. Graham raced to the fans' side and hugged injured Sounders captain Danny Jackson, Josh Hansen and Chad Brown after the clinching goal.

"We're a team from the first guy to the last guy," Graham said. "Everybody's a big part of this team. Danny's our captain whether he's on the field or not. I just wanted to share the goal with them."

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