Osvaldo Alonso scored in the 90th minute as the Seattle Sounders FC fell behind, 2-1, to the Portland Timbers in the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinals on Saturday night at CenturyLink Field.
Seattle Sounders 1-2 Portland Timbers
Seattle will visit Portland in the second leg of the conference semifinals on Thursday, November 7. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. PT at JELD-WEN Field and will be broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Network.
The winner of the two-game, aggregate-goal series will advance to the Western Conference Championship to face the victor of the Salt Lake-Los Angeles series.
Portland struck first with a goal in the 15th minute. Jack Jewsbury brought the ball up the right flank and sent a cross to the near post where Ryan Johnson flicked a header to the far netting for his first career playoff goal.
The Timbers doubled the lead in the 67th minute when Kalif Alhassan found Darlington Nagbe in the box. Nagbe poked a low shot past Hahnemann for the 2-nil lead.
Alonso netted Seattle’s lone goal in the final moments of the game. Shalrie Joseph flicked on a Brad Evans throw-in that fell to Alonso in the box. Alonso hit the shot first-time down the center of the goal for his second-career playoff goal.
Clint Dempsey nearly scored the equalizer in second-half stoppage time with a header off of Marc Burch’s cross but his attempt was saved by Donovan Ricketts.
Dempsey was dangerous throughout the match, taking a game-high six shots. In the 20th minute, he blasted a free kick from 25 yards out that dipped over the wall, but Ricketts dived to tip the ball out for a corner kick. In the 29th minute, Dempsey sent another dangerous free kick towards goal but his 35-yard attempt sailed just over the crossbar. In the 75th minute, a bouncing ball fell to Dempsey in the box but his half-volley from 10 yards out skimmed the post.
In the 87th minute, Mauro Rosales whipped a corner kick into the box and Dempsey’s header skipped off the surface and hit the crossbar before sailing out of bounds.
Marcus Hahnemann made his first postseason start for Sounders FC, recording three saves. In first half stoppage time, Hahnemann dived to stop Jewsbury’s long-range attempt and, in the 64th minute, he stopped Kalif Alhassan’s shot from six yards out and smothered the rebound.
Seattle started the match on the attack, taking nine first-half shots and earning eight corner kicks. In the third minute, Evans’ long-range shot was deflected just wide of the post and his six-yard volley five minutes later bounced to Ricketts. Overall, Sounders FC outshot Portland 20-10, and earned 11 corner kicks while conceding one.
Lamar Neagle was issued his second yellow card of the 2013 MLS Cup Playoffs. He will serve a one-game suspension in the second leg on Thursday.
Tonight’s attendance of 38,507 marked the second-largest crowd for a Sounders FC postseason match. The largest attendance was 44,575 for the second leg of the 2012 Western Conference Championship against the LA Galaxy.
POR – Ryan Johnson (Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara) 15′
POR – Darlington Nagbe (Kalif Alhassan) 67′
SEA – Osvaldo Alonso (Shalrie Joseph, Brad Evans) 90′