Timbers shut down Seattle, advance to U.S. Open Cup

SEATTLE – The Portland Timbers defeated the Seattle Sounders 1-0 Saturday night at Seahawks Stadium, advancing to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup for the first time in four A-League seasons.

Portland goalkeeper Josh Saunders had a career game for the Timbers, collecting eight saves while facing 23 shots under constant Seattle pressure to earn his first shutout of the season.

The Timbers advance to the U.S. Open Cup after winning the aggregate goal series over Seattle, 3-1.

Jake Sagare took a cross in the 52nd minute from Alan Gordon and made good, knocking the ball inside the far post from the left side, giving the Timbers all the cushion they needed for the 1-0 shutout victory.

It was Sagare’s first goal of the season and the first assist for Gordon, who has notched three points in his first three professional contests.

Portland (3-0-0, 9 pts) has defeated Seattle (0-2-1, 1pt) four-consecutive times dating back to last season.

Seattle dominated the majority of the match, holding a 23-9 edge in shots and a 10-2 advantage in corner kicks.

One of Seattle’s numerous scoring chances came early in the 12th minute, as Kyle Smith found a loose ball and forced Saunders to challenge and make a kick save to keep the match scoreless.

Jason Farrell and Roger Levesque each had scoring opportunities in the 20th minute, but came up short.

The Timbers tuned up the heat on the Seattle defense late in the first half, culminating in a scoring opportunity by Byron Alvarez in the 35th minute.

Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar and Gordon attempted to hook up for a goal in first-half stoppage time, but could not convert, as the ball trickled past the end line.

Gordon, who took four shots on the night, had two good opportunities to convert in the 65th and 67th minutes, but came up short.

On tap for the Timbers is a trip to Vancouver on Sunday, May 23, when they’ll take on the Whitecaps in the first of four matches between the two clubs. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.

TIMBERS NOTES: The Timbers Army had more than 50 members in attendance at Seahawks Stadium Saturday night, making their presence felt throughout the match … Portland has scored the first goal in all three games thus far in 2004.

SCORING SUMMARY: Sagare, 52nd (Gordon).

PENALTY SUMMARY: SEA Scott, YC (33rd); POR Morrison, YC (24th), Alvarez, YC (40th), S. Saunders, YC (59th).

LINEUPS: SEATTLE (0-2-1) Burpo GK, Jackson D, Scott D (Sawatzky 56th), Jenkins D, Aristodemo M (Henderson 65th), Brown M (Edwards 79th), Farrell M, Velez M, Nguyen M (Melo 62nd), Smith F, Levesque F; PORTLAND (3-0-0) J. Saunders GK, Morrison D, Wilkinson D, Heinzen D, Benedetti M, Bengard M, Alcaraz-Cuellar M (Arzate 90th), S. Saunders M, Sagare M, Gordon F (Antoniuk 84th), Alvarez F.