[MLS] Another noisy night of Northwest rivalry emerged Thursday at Qwest Field in Seattle as Portland, which joins MLS next year, knocked off their major-league neighbors on their home field, 1-0.
A goal by Gabriel Obatola, who is on trial with the Timbers, edged the USSF Division 2 team past the Sounders, which staged the match as their inaugural Charity Shield benefit event. It drew a boisterous crowd of 18,606 swelled by hundreds of Timbers fans despite constant rain.
George Josten, a 2008 MLS SuperDraft pick of Columbus who signed with the Timbers last year, set up the goal with a through ball that Obatola slipped past Sounders goalie Kasey Keller in the 44th minute. Josten nearly scored a second goal with five minutes to play but his shot hit the goalpost.
Portland goalkeeper Steve Cronin – formerly of the Quakes, Galaxy, and D.C. United – stifled Seattle with several sharp saves. Early in the match he thwarted Steve Zakuani from short range and tipped away a Freddie Ljunberg free kick headed into the top corner. Late in the match, another free-kick save -- this one off the foot of the “other” Fredy Montero -- stymied the Sounders, who kept pressing until Cronin caught a tame shot from Montero in the final seconds.
Midfielder Alex Nimo has joined the Timbers on loan from Real Salt Lake and came on as a substitute in the 54th minute. Also making his debut was ex-RSL outside back Ian Joy, who served as team captain.
Portland heads south next week to take on more MLS opposition when they play the Quakes in San Jose’s “official” home opener at Buck Shaw Stadium.
March 11 in Seattle
Seattle Sounders FC 0 Portland Timbers 1. Goal: Obatola (Pore) 44
Seattle -- Keller, Evans, Marshall (Parke 46), Hurtado, Gonzalez (Wahl 80), Souter (Estrada 60), Vagenas (King 74), Alonso, Zakuani (Ianni 67), Ljungberg (Levesque 46), Montero.
Portland -- Cronin, Keel, Joy, Smith, Danso, Kirk (Thompson 73), Marcelin (Gaudet 89), Lopez (Nimo 54), Pore, Obatola (DeMartin 61), Josten (Cameron 87).
Referee: Elias Bazakos.