Timbers claim Northwest's best, defeat Seattle 2-1

SEATTLE – The Portland Timbers reeled off two second-half goals and Josh Saunders collected eight saves to defeat the Seattle Sounders 2-1 on Saturday night at Qwest Field.

Byron Alvarez highlighted a three-point evening with a goal and an assist, while Tom Poltl tallied his first strike in a Timbers kit before 6,351 in Seattle.

The Timbers have won four consecutive regular-season contests in Seattle dating back to 2003 in what has become one of the most heated rivalries in North American soccer. There were six cautions and one ejection handed down in Saturday’s match.

New Zealand international Aaran Lines, making his first start with the Timbers, played a nice game of give-and-go with Alvarez in the 51st, sending a through ball to the Portland striker, who slid it past Seattle goalkeeper Robbie Fulton on the breakaway.

The goal was Alvarez’ 30th in three seasons as a Timber, surpassing McKinley Tennyson at the top of the Timbers’ all-time USL goal-scoring ledger.

Poltl provided the difference maker just minutes later when he took a feed from Alvarez and teed off a shot from the left side of the box and into the right side of the net for a 2-0 advantage in the 54th.

Seattle kept itself in the game when Brazilian forward Welton Melo got free and punched a ball past Saunders to narrow the Portland lead, but it was not enough to overcome the two-nil deficit.

Saunders came up big for the Timbers in the first half, turning back two good scoring chances by Melo and Scott Jenkins while finishing the first 45 minutes of play with six saves.

On tap for the Timbers is a road trip to the Metrodome in Minneapolis, where they’ll take on the Minnesota Thunder on Saturday, May 7 at 5:05 p.m. (Pacific).

TIMBERS NOTES: Saturday’s game will be rebroadcast twice on Comcast Cable’s CNW 14 in the Portland area … the first airing will be Friday, May 6 at 6 p.m. and again on Saturday, May 7 at 9 a.m. … the Timbers play host to the Charleston Battery on Thursday, May 12 at 7 p.m. at PGE Park.

SCORING SUMMARY: Alvarez, 51’ (Lines); Poltl, 54’ (Alvarez); Melo, 73’ (Klaas).

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY: POR Higgins, YC (34’), Alvarez, YC (89’); SEA Sleeth, YC (6’), Edwards, YC (20’), Scott, YC (52’), Brown, YC (84’), Brown, RC (90’).

LINEUPS: PORTLAND (2-0-1) J. Saunders GK, Miranda D, Wilkinson D (Morrison 80’), Thompson D, Heinzen D, Alcaraz-Cuellar M (Weis 86’), Lines M, Poltl M, Higgins M (Benedetti 85’), Winters M, Alvarez F; SEATTLE (0-1-0) Fulton GK, Edwards D (Wiesner 86’), Scott D, Sleeth D, Graham D, Whitfield M (Somoza 75’), Sakuda M (Brown 80’), Klaas M, Jenkins M, Melo F, Levesque F.