TIMBERS MATCH REPORT
TUKWILA, Wash. — With goals from forwards Kenny Cooper and Jorge Perlaza, the Portland Timbers defeated Seattle Sounders FC 2-0 in a preseason match Friday at Starfire Sports Complex. Friday's matchup was the opening game of the Cascadia Summit, a three-day event featuring preseason matchups between Major League Soccer’s three Northwest clubs – Portland, Seattle and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
The Timbers took a 1-0 lead into halftime, with Perlaza scoring his first goal of the preseason in the 21st minute. Portland then fought off a persistent attack from Seattle in the second half and was able to close out the match with a goal in second-half stoppage time from Cooper to earn its second preseason victory.
Goalkeeper Troy Perkins and the Timbers' defense endured 18 shouts by Sounders FC, including 11 in the second half, to record their fourth straight shutout in preseason. The Timbers have not conceded a goal since the 47th minute of a 1-1 preseason draw against the LA Galaxy on Feb. 8. With the win, the Timbers remain unbeaten in preseason with a record of 2-0-4.
Seattle put the Timbers under pressure in the early going, but as the match settled in, Portland was able to get its attack in motion. Defender Steve Purdy was active in the first half along the right side and helped set up the Timbers' first goal of the night working with midfielder Sal Zizzo in the 21st minute.
A one-two combo between Purdy and Zizzo down the touchline set the midfielder up for a cross into the box near the top corner of the penalty area. The ball dropped into the near post for Cooper, who fired a shot on goal from a couple yards out. Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller made the initial stop, but the ball popped loose out to the back side. Perlaza was making a run at the back post and was free to tap the ball into the back net for a 1-0 lead.
Portland's backline held strong through the second half and caught a couple of breaks when open looks by Seattle missed the mark. Against the run of play late in the game, the Timbers were able to double their lead on Cooper's first goal of the preseason. Zizzo played the ball up-field to Cooper running into the box. With time and space, Cooper squared up for a shot from 15 yards out along the right side. He drilled the ball past a diving effort from Keller and into the top left side of the goal nearly three minutes into second-half stoppage time, sealing Portland’s second preseason win in three games.
Perlaza had a chance to give the Timbers a two-goal advantage minutes after he struck in the 21st minute. Purdy, again getting up the right side, played a cross into the box for Perlaza camped out at near post. With a defender closing in quickly, Perlaza chipped his shot from inside the box over the goal.
Sounders FC out-shot the Timbers 7-4 in the first half and forced Perkins to make three saves in the period. Forward Fredy Montero worked past two Timbers defenders before pulling the trigger on a shot from inside the box in the 37th minute, but his effort was deflected just wide. Earlier in the half, Perkins smothered a header from Seattle's Osvaldo Alonso inside 12 yards.
Seattle's offense found a rhythm in the second half and generated 11 shots. Minutes after the opening whistle of the half, Alonso ripped a shot from distance that just cruised over the top left corner of the goal. Midfielder Steve Zakuani set up Sounder FC's best chance of the night with a well-placed cross from the left side in the 54th minute. The ball fell to Fernandez on the back side, but he lifted his volley from five yards out well over the goal.
The Timbers started to penetrate the Sounders FC backline midway through the second half and was able to work their way into the box from the wings. Midfielder Jeremy Hall tried to find Cooper in the 62nd minute, but with Cooper under pressure, his effort was deflected wide. The Timbers finished the night with seven shots in the contest.
The Timbers return to action Saturday afternoon as they take on Vancouver Whitecaps FC in a preseason match at 4 p.m.; it will be their second and final match of the Cascadia Summit. A live video webcast of the game will be available at www.portlandtimbers.com.
POR: Perlaza, 21
POR: Cooper (Zizzo), 90
POR: GK Perkins, D Purdy, D Brunner, D Goldthwaite, D Wallace, M Zizzo, M Jewsbury, M Lowry (Moffat, 81), M Hall, F Cooper, F Perlaza (Umony, 75)
SEA: GK Keller, D Riley, D Gonzalez, D Parke, D Hurtado, M Evans (Noonan, 85), M Alonso, M Zakuani, M Fernandez (Friberg, 69), F Nkufo (White, 81), F Montero (Fucito, 81)
- Saturday’s schedule of events for the Cascadia Summit includes a supporters summit and coaches forum prior to the Timbers’ match against Vancouver.
- A sell-out crowd of 3,100 attended Friday’s match at Starfire Sports Complex, the home of Sounders FC’s training facility.