It took 120-plus minutes and penalty kicks, but the Seattle Sounders remained on track to defend their U.S. Open Cup.
And it was only fitting that an old Portland Timbers nemesis from back in the USL days, Sounders defender Zach Scott, was the one to seal the deal in this the greatest of Northwest derbies that will only intensify when both clubs are in MLS next year and beyond.
15,422 fans showed up for Wednesday's third round match, falling just short of last year's record-setting total. Photo: David Jacobson | Portland Timbers
Scott, the Sounders’ fifth PK shooter, converted to give the Rave Green a 2-1 win (4-3 on penalties), propelling the Sounders into the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals against the Los Angeles Galaxy in Seattle next week. The match is set for July 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the Starfire Sports Complex in nearby Tukwila.
Sounders FC, last year’s Open Cup champion in its inaugural season, got a stiff challenge from the host Timbers before 15,422 at PGE Park, a season-high attendance for a game in the Rose City. But Seattle held on late though the Timbers of USSF Division 2 were more the aggressors on offense.
The Timbers failed to avenge a home loss to the Sounders on July 1, 2009, also a U.S. Open Cup third-round game, and couldn’t take advantage of a one-man advantage during the overtime periods.
Seattle scored early to take a 1-0 lead, forward Nate Jaqua heading in a centering pass from Sanna Nyassi in the 13th minute. Jaqua was playing in only his second game of the season after a short substitute stint in Sounders FC’s loss at Philadelphia Sunday.
But the Timbers went on the attack, as forwards Ryan Pore and Bright Dike put pressure on the Sounders’ defense time after time.
Pore, a former trialist with Seattle during its inaugural season, set up Dike, a former first-round pick of the Columbus Crew in this year’s MLS Superdraft, for the equalizer in the 38th minute. Pore gathered in a failed clearance from Sounders defender Tyson Wahl and fed Dike, whose shot squirted under goalkeeper Kasey Keller’s arms and into the net.
Seattle opened with only two regular starters after playing in a match just three days earlier. They were Keller and defender James Riley. But Sounders coach Sigi Schmid showed a desire to win when he inserted fleet midfielder Steve Zakuani and scoring striker Fredy Montero into the match in the second half.
The game went into extra-time periods, and Sounders defender Taylor Graham was sent off with a second yellow card in the 101st minute when he fouled Dike just outside the box.
In the penalty-kick round, Keller saved a pair of shots, one from Pore, and Nate Sturgis, Steve Zakuani and Fredy Montero converted their PKs for Seattle.
POR: GK Cronin, D Thompson, D Danso, D Smith, D Joy, M Nimo (Lopez, 69), M McManus, M Marcelin (Keita, 109), M Suzuki (DeMartin 85), F Pore, F Dike
SEA: GK Keller, D Riley, D Scott, D Graham, D Wahl, M Nyassi, M Sturgis, M Seamon (Ianni, 102), M Montano (Zakuani, 69), F Levesque, F Jaqua (Montero, 65)
SEA: Jaqua (Nyassi), 13
POR: Dike (Pore), 38