SEATTLE, Wash. - The Portland Timbers were held to just five shots in a 1-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders in their first road match of the year at Qwest Field Saturday. The Timbers suffered their first loss of the 2007 USL First Division season.
Timbers midfielder Andrew Gregor made his return to Seattle after joining the Timbers in the off-season. Gregor played seven of his 10 professional seasons with the Sounders.
The Northwest rivalry didn’t take long to reach mid season form. Gregor was issued a yellow card in the 13th minute for a hard tackle on Seattle defender Adam West. Minutes later, Sounder defender Zach Scott was given a yellow card with a retaliation tackle on Gregor. There were 29 fouls called throughout the match.
The Sounders (1-2-1, 4pts) applied heavy pressure on the Timbers (1-1-0, 3pts) from the opening whistle. With two early scoring opportunities falling short, the Sounders found the back of the net in the 20th minute for the 1-0 advantage.
Midfielder Josh Gardner sent a sharp cross into the box about 15 yards from goal. Timbers goalkeeper Josh Wicks left his line and was able to get a hand on the ball, but then collided with teammate Shaun Higgins - knocking both players off balance. Sounder forward Nathan Knox finished the loose ball from a few yards out for his second goal of the season.
Higgins had the Timbers best scoring opportunity in the 33rd minute. With the ball served into space, Higgins 23-yard blast sailed just feet over the crossbar.
The Timbers nearly found the equalizer in the 47th minute on a shot by forward Chris Bagley. Midfielder Luke Kreamalmeyer worked the ball inside the box along the end line near the right post. He passed the ball back towards the top of the box to Bagley slashing through. Bagley’s shot missed wide.
The Timbers found a few leaks in the Sounders’ backline at times throughout the second half, but shot opportunities from inside the box were deflected and denied by Seattle’s defenders.
The Timbers return home for three matches at PGE Park in five days, starting with an international exhibition against Mexico’s Club Necaxa on May 9. The Timbers then face the Sounders May 11 and Rochester Raging Rhinos on May 13 in Portland.
Notes: Timbers midfielder Lawrence Olum made his first professional appearance entering the match as a sub in the 89th minute … The Timbers suffered their first loss and first shutout of the season at the hand of the Sounders … The Timbers last win in Seattle was April 30, 2005 with a 2-1 decision …
POR: GK Wicks, D S. Thompson, D Higgins, D Knowles, D Morrison, M Gregor, M Dombrowski, M Kreamalmeyer (Jordan, 76), M Ready (Lara, 58), F Harrington (Hague, 62), F Bagley (Olum, 89)
SEA: GK Eylander, D Merl, D Jackson, D Scott, D West, M Sakuda, M Alcaraz-Cuellar, M Gardner (Treschuk, 82), M Le Toux (Howes, 65), F Levesque, F Knox (Schmid, 68)