Timbers fall in close contest with Seattle

PORTLAND, Ore. - Forward Sebastien LeToux tallied the game's lone strike in the first half to lead the Seattle Sounders to a 1-0 win over the Portland Timbers in the final regular-season contest between the Northwest rivals on Thursday at before a season-high 12,332 at PGE Park.
 
The 32nd and final regular-season meeting between Portland and Seattle featured an evenly matched game despite the Timbers playing a man short due to a straight red card issued to defender Scot Thompson in the 33rd minute. Both sides finished the match with seven shots apiece.
 
Thursday's match marked the final regular-season match between the Timbers and Sounders due to the city of Seattle being awarded a Major League Soccer expansion franchise in 2009 seeing the end of Seattle's USL club.
 
Goalkeeper Brad Knighton logged four saves and midfielder Lawrence Olum tallied a team-high three shots for the Timbers (5-8-9, 24pts), who face the Charleston Battery at PGE Park on Saturday.
 
LeToux scored his team-high 10th goal of the season to lead Seattle (8-6-8, 32pts) to it's third consecutive win and extend Portland's winless streak to six matches.
 
Like many other games in the rivalry, the match opened in a spirited fashion as both sides attacked the opposing goal with pace. The Sounders took advantage of a deflection off the post in the 21st minute to take a 1-0 lead. Seattle took possession near midfield and moved forward down the right flank. A chip into the box found midfielder Nikolas Besagno running down the near post. Besagno's shot rattled off the post which allowed LeToux to tap in the go-ahead goal from inside the six yard box.
 
In the 33rd minute, the Timbers were dealt a blow with the ejection of Thompson by referee Jasen Anno following a hard tackle on Seattle midfielder Josh Gardner. But a short-sided Timbers squad maintained composure in order to stay in stride with their Northwest counterparts.
 
As the end of the first half came to a close, Timbers defender Justin Thompson powered a header at the left post, but it grazed off the outside of the bar before it went out of play. In stoppage time, forward Bryan Jordan pushed the ball up field into the box, but before he could get a shot off, the ball was cleared away by a Seattle defender.
 
The Timbers thought they had leveled the score in the 78th minute when midfielder Miguel Guante fed midfielder Lawrence Olum a pin-point cross at the near post which he headed into the back of the net. The goal was waived off due to an offside call on Portland.
 
In the final 10 minutes of regulation, Portland gained some offensive momentum and forced Sounders goalkeeper Chris Eylander into action. A free kick by forward Takayuki Suzuki into the box was blocked, but he was able to retrieve the ball and slipped a pass into the penalty area, where Jordan collected it, turned and fired home a shot. Jordan's low rocket was denied on a diving effort by Eylander.
 
The Sounders almost doubled their lead in the closing minutes as a shot by midfielder Youssouf Kante was stopped by Knighton, but the ball popped out and rolled towards the goal line. Knighton was able to recover and secure the loose ball before it could go in.
 
In the Cascadia Cup standings, the Sounders leaped the Vancouver Whitecaps with the win to take first place in the Northwest, fan-based derby.
 
Portland plays host to the Battery on Nike Night at PGE Park on Saturday at 7 p.m., presented by Tursi's Soccer Store. The first 1,000 kids 12 and under receive free Nike skills balls courtesy of Tursi's Soccer Store. Tickets, starting at $11, are available through the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster location, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (503) 224-4400.
 
Notes: A Timbers player has been ejected in each of the last two home matches ... Portland's all-time record against Seattle as members of the USL First Division is 11-16-5 ... Defender Cameron Dunn made his Timbers debut entering the match as a sub in the second half … Seattle held the advantage in corner kick attempts 9-0.
 
Lineups:
POR: GK Knighton, D Knowles, D S. Thompson, D J. Thompson (Dunn, 45), D Griffin (Higgins, 54), M Guante (Walker, 79), M Poltl, M Olum, M Jordan, F Suzuki, F Alvarez
 
SEA: GK Eylander, D Sakuda, D Jackson, D Rodriguez, D Scott, M Kante (West, 90), M C. O'Brien, M Besagno, M Gardner (Treschuck, 79), F Cascio (Levesque, 58), F LeToux
 
Scoring Summary:
SEA: LeToux, 21