Timbers one-up Sounders in double overtime thriller

SEATTLE - Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar scored the game-winning goal in the final seconds of the second overtime as the Portland Timbers defeated the Seattle Sounders 4-3 before 3,457 Saturday night at Qwest Field.

The Timbers (10-6-0, 30pts) tied the match three times and took their only lead of the game when it counted, in stoppage time of the second overtime when Byron Alvarez crossed a ball from the right side to a waiting Alcaraz-Cuellar, who redirected it into the back of the net for the game-winning, “golden goal.”

The victory marked the Timbers’ fifth straight over their I-5 rival, dating back to last season. It also clinched the season series with the Sounders for the first time in four seasons.

The Sounders (7-9-3, 24pts) put the Timbers on their heels in the 31st minute when former Timber Ben Somoza took a corner kick and plated it for Marco Velez, who made good from the back post.

Portland countered minutes later, as Alex Bengard placed a free kick onto the boot of Lee Morrison, who dialed in his first goal of the season with one touch.

Velez put his second goal of the evening on the board in the 61st, booming a shot from 35 yards out over the fingertips of goalkeeper Josh Saunders.

The Timbers sent all but one defender into the attacking third of the pitch in the 73rd minute and hammered at the Sounders back line until their diligence paid off when Alcaraz-Cuellar crossed to Alan Gordon, who made it 2-2.

Just moments after Seattle’s Zach Scott was sent off with a red card, Saunders was called for an intentional foul in the box that set up a penalty kick for Jonathan Bolanos, who cashed in for the 3-2 advantage in the 81st minute.

Desperate for a goal, Portland tied the match for the third time of the evening in the 83rd after a Seattle defender flipped a header behind his own ‘keeper and Alvarez punched it in, forcing overtime.

The Timbers continue their three-game road set in Edmonton, where they’ll face the Aviators on Tuesday, July 20 at 6 p.m. (Pacific) in a match that was originally scheduled for July 29.

TIMBERS NOTES: The pitch at Qwest field had a different look Saturday, with real grass laid over the usual field turf in preparation for the Chelsea/Celtic match later this week … more than 50 members of the Timbers Army made the trip north for the game … the Timbers are now 3-2 in overtime this season.

SCORING SUMMARY: Velez, 31’ (Somoza); Morrison, 35’ (Bengard); Velez, 61’ (UA); Gordon, 73’ (Alcaraz-Cuellar); Bolanos, 81’ (PK); Alvarez, 83’ (UA); Alcaraz-Cuellar, 110’ (Alvarez).

PENALTY SUMMARY: POR Gregor, YC (22’), Alvarez, YC (29’), S. Saunders, YC (80’); SEA Bolanos, YC (45’), Scott, YC (51’), Scott, RC (76’), Levesque, YC (99’).

LINEUPS: PORTLAND (10-6-0) J. Saunders GK, Morrison D, Wilkinson D (Thompson 81’), S. Saunders D, Winters D, Alcaraz-Cuellar M, Bengard M, Gregor M, Sagare M, Gordon F, Alvarez F; SEATTLE (7-9-3) Burpo GK, Velez D (Kinoshita 76’), Scott D, Edwards D, Sakuda D, Brown M (Sawatzky 56’), Bolanos M, Somoza M, Jenkins M (Nguyen 45’), Smith F (Tomlinson 73’), Levesque F (Percell 102’).