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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sounders FC Reserves 0-2 Portland Timbers

The Seattle Sounders Reserves Fell to a Strong Portland Timbers Side in an Exciting Match in Tukwila, Washington

Seattle Sounders reserves played host to rivals Portland Timbers at Starfire Sports Complex, losing to the visitors in a bitter home defeat. 

From the starting whistle, Timbers were pressing the Sounders defense and putting lots of pressure on center backs Daniel Steres and the first team defender and Reserves Captain, John Kennedy Hurtado. Fans were hoping for the return of Steve Zakuani who is at the tail end of a long spell on the sidelines due to a broken leg last season, but the winger was only a spectator. Fans did get to see some action from newly signed striker Eddie Johnson, who was acquired from the Montreal Impact in exchange for the attacking duo of Lamar Neagle and Mike Fucito. 
Sounders succumbed to the steady pressure from the Timbers and by the fourth minute they were down a goal after Hurtado sent an unfortunate free header into the back of his own net. Minutes later, the home side almost found themselves in even deeper trouble, when Timbers striker Bright Dike watched his strike ping off of the crossbar rather than curl into the back of the net. 
In the eighth minute the home side were able to get their own attack going but Ochoa was unable to keep his cross low enough even for the likes of Sivebaek and Rose in the penalty area. Danish winger Christian Sivebaek proved to be a main man for the team, playing a pivotal role in every one of the Sounder attacks at goal as well as using his pace to track back and break up Timbers play. 
In the 22nd minute, the Timbers struck again with a fantastic finish to the bottom corner from the Timbers #19 Bright Dike. In the attacks from the Timbers leading up to the goal, keeper Andrew Weber picked up an ankle injury and was replaced by former Kitsap Pumas starting keeper Byran Meredith. Meredith was a good substitution and was able to keep the ball out of the back of his own net for the rest of the game.
Portland eventually sat back after two goals and about twenty five minutes of domination and the possession was split with lots of play happening in the midfield. 
Timbers Keeper Rowe Saves Carrasco's Free Kick
The Sounders threatened the Portland goal in the 30th minute when Servando Carrasco struck a fantastic free kick to the bottom post of the Timbers goal, but he keeper followed up with some world class playing and made a full stretch save, knocking the ball out of play just beyond the goal post. 
Before the halftime whistle the Timbers would get a few more looks at goal thanks to a scattered Sounders defense but Meredith denied them any more goals and the halftime score was 2-0 in favor of the visitors. 
The Sounders regrouped at halftime and were on the attack in the second half. In the 49th minute the Sounders won the first corner kick of the half but the Timbers defense handled it smoothly. Much of the second half was played between the Sounders offense and the Timbers defense, exposing the short comings the home side had in terms of their finishing. They were able to break through the defensive midfielders of the visiting side but would find themselves shut down and unable to get the necessary shot off. The Sounders best chances came in the 65th and 68th minutes but the through balls were too hastily collected at the feet of the Sounders attackers and were turned over to the Portland defense. 
The home side were unable to recover from their first half goal deficit and the match finished out in a 2-0 loss to the home side. The home fans did have some positive things to focus on, however. Eddie Johnson looked solid and is slowly gaining his match fitness. Despite an own goal, Hurtado was the strongest player in the Sounders defense and saved the side from several other goals. Their young goalie Meredith had a strong performance even though he came off of the bench and the young midfielders were solid. Timbers can head back down south to Portland the victors in this enticing demonstration of young talent but there will surely be many more Cascadia derbies to come.

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