Timbers stuck in scoring rut, fall to Seattle 1-0

July 21, 2001

A key moment in the match. Preston Burpo (just visible to right), collided with both players just outside the box, ending the potential scoring threat.

7' - Seattle: Brian Ching

Seattle had Brian Ching from MLS's Los Angeles Galaxy on the roster to help fill in the gaps from a few players missing Saturday's match in Portland because of yellow card accumulations. But Ching's goal in the 7th minute paid off for the Sounders as it turned out to be the only goal of the match as the Sounders won the season series over the Timbers with 1-0 win at PGE Park in front of an announced crowd of 11,055.

Matt Napoleon controlling traffic in his own box

Both teams were down a few players as the Sounders were missing Leighton O'Brien and Ryan Edwards for the yellow cards, and the Timbers were missing Matt Chulis for yellow card accumulations as well, and regular Darren Sawatzky starting the match on the bench. Both teams seemed intent on playing an attacking offense as both were in a 3-4-3 formation, with the Timbers moving a defender (Brent Sancho) to midfield in an attempt to light a spark in an anemic offense. Right off the opening whistle, Sancho ran a sprint down the right side and crossed into the box, making it clear that he was going to be part of the offense.

But it was the Sounders who had the first good scoring chance when in the 3rd minute, Scott Jenkins played a high diagonal pass to Brian Ching, who beat the offside trap and was in one-on-one on Timbers goalkeeper Matt Napoleon. But Ching seemed undecided for a moment as to where to shoot, and Napoleon smothered the shot. Both teams then exchanged a few harmless crosses, trying to loosen up the defenses.

Kieran Barton cuts back against Brian Winters

In the 7th minute, a seemingly harmless shot led to the only goal of the game. After a pass across to the top of the box, AJ Utush took a shot from 20 yards out that Sancho lunged in front of. But the shot deflected off Sancho's foot to Ching, who was inside the box about 12 yards out from goal. Ching turned on the ball nicely, playing the shot from well off the ground to get off an early shot, which wasn't particularly hard, but was barely over the fingertips of Napoleon, who was charging to cut off the angle. The shot floated easily into the net and the Sounders had taken an early 1-0 lead.

In the 15th minute, the Sounders were attacking again when Ching headed a ball out of the box to Jenkins, whose hard shot from 15 yards out was stopped by Timbers defender Jeff Clarke. Five minutes later, the Timbers had their first good scoring chance when Mark Baena had a good header off a Sancho cross. Seattle's Preston Burpo made the save, but wasn't able to control and the ball trickled behind him towards the net, but Burpo was able to dive on the ball just before it crossed the line.

Brent Sancho and Viet Nguyen battling for position

In the 25th minute, the Timbers had the first of several free kicks they would have just outside the box. Greg Howes took this one from about 22 yards out, which Burpo saved, then deflected Sancho's follow-up shot wide left. After the ensuing corner kick, the Timbers had perhaps their best chance of the match when Baena's's cross was controlled at about 10 yards out by Michael O'Neill , but he hit the ball with his shin instead of his foot and his shot went well high. In the 33rd minute, the Sounders had another good chance when Sean Henderson took a shot from 15 that Napoleon knocked down then controlled.

Just before halftime, Seattle's Jenkins had an open header off a corner kick from 10 yards out, but headed well wide, and the half ended at 1-0 Seattle.

Jeff Clarke goes high for the header

Seattle had a good chance to double their lead early in the second half, when Viet Nguyen controlled a ball and moved across the top of the box, then hit a hard shot from 15 yards out that hit solidly off the crossbar, then bounced down, but the Sounders were not able to control the rebound and a Seattle foul ended the scoring chance. In the 53rd minute, In the 62nd minute, the Timbers once again were unable to put a shot on net when Sancho's header off an O'Neill cross went just wide right.

Still unable to mount a serious attack, the Timbers substituted in Darren Sawatzky in the 75th minute, but were still having trouble getting the ball into the attacking third. But the Timbers seemed to have a dangerous scoring chance when a long ball from near midfield found Baena running onto the ball alongside Seattle's Kieran Barton. As it turned out, Baena, Barton, and Burpo all reached the same point at the top of the box at the same time. Burpo collided hard into Barton, then Baena, and was given a yellow card for the dangerous challenge, and the Timbers had another free kick just outside the box. Costigan took the shot this time, which was right at the Seattle keeper, and saved easily.

Brent Sancho heads the ball back into the box

It turned out this was the last good scoring chance for either team, and despite the fact that both teams seemed eager to open up play, the early goal turned out to be the difference as the Sounders held off the Timbers for a 1-0 win.

Shots: Timbers 5, Sounders 10
Saves: Timbers 3, Sounders 2
Fouls: Timbers 15, Sounders 18
Offsides: Timbers 1, Sounders 2
Corners: Timbers 2, Sounders 11

Timber Jim watches from 80 feet up
Timbers 3 (O'Neill (yellow, hard tackle), Kevin Legg 63' (yellow, tackle from behind), O'Neill 88' (red, hard tackle))
Sounders 3 (Nguyen 69' (yellow, dive in box), Utush 75' (yellow, time wasting), Burpo (yellow, hard tackle))

Portland: Matt Napoleon, Gavin Wilkinson, Jeff Clarke, Scott Benedetti, Keith Costigan, Brian Winters (Darren Sawatzky 75'), Brent Sancho, Michael O’Neill, Kevin Legg, Greg Howes, Mark Baena
Seattle: Preston Burpo, Kieran Barton, Mike Casale, AJ Utush, Jason Farrell, Sean Henderson, Kei Kinoshita, Scott Jenkins, Viet Nguyen, Brian Ching, Isaias Bardales
Keith Costigan crosses while marked by Jason Farrell

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