Timbers earn point with scoreless draw in Seattle
SEATTLE, Wash. - The Portland Timbers earned a point on the road as they battled the Seattle Sounders to a 0-0 draw before 10,184 fans at Qwest Field on Saturday. Goalkeeper Ray Burse and the Timbers backline held Seattle to just four shots to collect their second consecutive shutout and fourth on the season.
Listen to match highlights, and interviews from the match in Audio News.
Saturday's match between the Northwest rivals marked the final regular-season contest as members of the USL First Division in Seattle. The city of Seattle was awarded a 2009 Major League Soccer expansion franchise, Seattle Sounders FC, which will bring an end to the USL franchise upon the conclusion of the 2008 season.
With the draw, Portland (3-0-2, 11pts) remains unbeaten through the first five matches of the season, and earned its first point in Seattle since the 2006 season – a 0-0 draw on June 2, 2006 at Qwest Field.
Seattle (1-1-2, 5pts) held the Timbers scoreless for their second consecutive match after scoring a total of five goals in their first three matches.
Burse recorded four saves to earn his league-leading fourth shutout of the season, including a diving stop in the 88th minute on a shot by Seattle sub Jason Cascio.
Timbers forward Takayuki Suzuki paced the team with a pair of shots on the night, including a long-range attempt early in the second half. His low drive from 25 yards out skimmed off the ground and wide of the right post. Suzuki also had a header sail over the crossbar during second-half stoppage time.
Midfielder Tom Poltl had a chance to fire home the game-winner in the 76th minute with a shot from distance. The ball rattled around the edge of the box before midfielder Shaun Higgins laid the ball off for Poltl about 27 yards out from the goal. His shot hit off the back of a Sounders defender and arched over the crossbar.
The Timbers escaped two near scoring opportunities by Seattle in the first half. Early in the game, Seattle forward Andre Schmid sailed an open shot over the cross bar from the top left corner of the six-yard box. In the 20th minute, Burse deflected a 25 yard blast by Sounders midfielder Josh Gardner off the cross bar and out of play to keep Seattle off the board.
Late in the match, the Timbers couldn't clear the ball from the box which allowed Sounders forward Sebastien LeToux a shot near the goal line, but he chipped his attempt over the crossbar.
The Timbers continue their stretch of road matches next week as they face the Puerto Rico Islanders on May 16 and Miami FC Blues on May 18. A live broadcast of both away matches will be available on www.portlandtimbers.com, with a live video webcast through USL Live at www.usllive.com.
Notes: Forward Chris Bagley made his first start of the season in Seattle Saturday ... Portland improves its record against Seattle this season to 1-0-1 ... Portland's defense has allowed just one goal in five matches this season.
POR: GK Burse, D S. Tompson, D Knowles, D J. Thompson, D Griffin, M Higgins, M Poltl, M Gregor (Guante, 64), F Bagley (Oka, 68), F Brown (Little, 73), F Suzuki (Olum, 89)
SEA: GK Eylander, D Sakuda, D Graham, D Jackson, D Scott, M Alcaraz-Cuellar, M O'Brien (Kante, 79), M Treschuk, M Gardner, F Schmid (Cascio, 64), F LeToux