In a game that doesn't matter the Portland Timbers beat the Seattle Sounders 2-nil through use of effective counters. None were more effective than the final counter where Kenny Cooper scored the winner in extra-time. It was a single game that captured the best of the Sounders, and their worst.
Steve Zakuani, Alvaro Fernandez and Osvaldo Alonso were as strong as any player in the league, particularly in the second half. The wing play was quite stellar. Fredy Montero had to pick up the ball a little too deep, but when he had it the only way that Portland could stop him was through fouls.
But the worst was seen in poor finishing. Alvaro finds himself on that list as well. Blaise Nkufo had some thoughts, but didn't create threats. Perhaps more troubling was a team that as whole struggled on every kind of set-play that was offered. The Rave Green won a plethora of corners and deep free kicks, but wound up with nothing to show.
This is a recap that parallels many of our concerns from 2010, and we have such a small comfort knowing that this game does not count. But after the next 180 minutes of pre-season the games do. There isn't much time for Sigi to tune this up. Maybe Sunday with the younger and faster squad more built for Starfire we will see better things.
But for now, Portland can carve a small notch in their lumber.
Stats and quotes when they come. You'll note in the stats that the Sounders took "shots" but not on goal. Also, look at post-game version of halftime that each Coach reports. Sigi admits that he changed his sub plan, and decided to push his starters longer.
POR - Jorge Perlaza 21'
POR - Kenny Cooper 93'
SEA - Osvaldo Alonso (caution) 5'
SEA - Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (caution) 54'
POR - Jack Jewsbury (caution) 69'
Sounders FC Lineup
Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Alvaro Fernandez (Erik Friberg 69), Brad Evans (Pat Noonan 85), Osvaldo Alonso, Steve Zakuani, Fredy Montero (Mike Fucito 80), Blaise Nkufo (O'Brian white 89).
RESERVES: Patrick Ianni, Michael Tetteh, David Estrada, Zach Scott, Servando Carrasco, Taylor Graham, Terry Boss.
TOTAL SHOTS: 18; SHOTS ON GOAL: 4; CORNER KICKS: 7; OFFSIDE: 3; FOULS: 6; SAVES: 2.
Portland Timbers Lineup
Troy Perkins, Steve Purdy, Kevin Goldthwaite, Eric Brunner, Rodney Wallace, Sal Zizzo, Peter Lowry (Adam Moffat 80), Jack Jewsbury, Jeremy Hall, Kenny Cooper, Jorge Perlaza (Brian Umony 75).
RESERVES: Eddie Johnson, Kalif Alhassan, David Horst, James Marcelin, Jake Gleeson, Ryan Pore, Adin Brown, Chris Taylor, Freddie Braun, Spencer Thompson, Bim Ogunyemi, Rodrigo Lopez, Quavas Kirk, Taylor Mueller, Jake Gibson, Mamadou Danso.
TOTAL SHOTS: 7; SHOTS ON GOAL: 4; CORNER KICKS: 2; OFFSIDE: 3; FOULS: 11; SAVES: 4.
Referee: Dave Gantar
Referee's Assistants: Darren Clark, Cameron Blair
4th Official: Drew Fischer
Time of Game: 1:52
Weather: 40-degrees and light rain
Quotes - Sounders FC vs. Portland Timbers
Sigi Schmid - Sounders FC Head Coach
(General Comments...) "I thought the second half was better than the first. We created chances, obviously didn't score, so that's disappointing. I thought there was one hand ball, sometimes you get those and sometimes you don't. Really taking the last goal and we gave up on the first goal, and that was a soft goal. That was one we shouldn't have given up but it is what it is. It's preseason and we tried to push some guys 90 minutes and we got 90 minutes out of some guys. I think it was a little bit of fatigue for somebody like Kennedy at the end of the game because it has been a long time since he has played 90 minutes. But on the same token, it's better to build that fitness now then to pull him out of the game and him not feel good. It's preseason. What' important is to finish our chances when the season starts so we got to bury chances at practice and bury chances at practice games."
(On substitutions...) "We could have done more subs. We could have done the whole team if we wanted to. We kind of made the decision we were going to see how the game was going to go. We came out at halftime and said, 'Let's see how it goes,' and I thought we took over control of the game in the second half and their danger came in with counters and so we got some guys more and more minutes to push through the 90, so we got some guys through the 90 - that's for sure."
John Spencer - Timbers Head Coach
(General comments...) "The first half I thought we were a bit nervous at times. Then we got a bit confident and started to attack from wide areas. We created a couple of chances and Jorge [Perlaza] taps one in. We had another one coming down the right hand side and we blasted one over the bar near post. I thought we were unfortunate not to go in 2-0, 2-1 at the halftime."
(On halftime...) "I said to them I thought their shape was excellent. I thought their reaction and desire to get to the ball and win tackles was great. We beat a good team tonight but we can't get too carried away. We put the work rate and the effort in and this is what you get. I keep telling them time and time again that talent alone is not enough in the modern game. You've got to have that desire to get there and win your individual battles, and I thought tonight we've done that."
(On the run of play in second half...) "You can't dominate games for 90 minutes when you're playing against quality teams like the Sounders are. They're a powerful unit and very well coached. We expected them to come out in the first 15 minutes and throw everything they had at us. Again I thought we looked a little bit nervous...I felt at about the 65th minute they'd given us everything that they had, and possibly run out of ideas. I said to the guys on bench if we're smart and still compete and try to attack from the right areas then I think we'll win this game. To be fair I think the best team on the night won this game."