BY: Karen Watson

SEATTLE – Sounders coach Sigi Schmid described his team’s 3-0 defeat of close rivals, Portland Timbers, as “this is what heaven must be like.” It was an accurate description of the evening, with Seattle dominating the match and remaining on top in the Cascadia Cup tournament standings all in front of a record breaking 66,452 home crowd. That’s the second largest attendance for a standalone game in MLS history.

“In my imagination of heaven, this is it. Packed house, beating Portland by three, fans going crazy – it doesn’t get better than that,” Schmid went on to say after the game.

Seattle had all the early momentum, repeatedly exposing the Timbers’ back four and things eventually fell the Sounders’ way in the 25’ on an own goal by Portland defender Futty Danso from a poor clearance of a ball meant for Fredy Montero.

Eddie Johnson widened the gap with a goal in the 28’, his fourteenth of the season, after he was left unmarked and fired it left footed, sweeping the ball into the far corner of the net. The shot was set up off a fantastic cross inside the box from Brad Evans.

Montero almost gave Seattle a third in the 32’, coming within inches but Timbers’ keeper Donovan Ricketts made what could only be described world class save.

Former Sounder and fan favorite Mike Fucito started the second half for Portland and did his best effort to launch some sort of attack to avoid a shutout. The struggling Timbers haven’t won on the road all season.

In the second half Montero did get that third goal, scoring in the 62’off a deflection. Initially ruled an own goal from another bad clearance, this time by Jack Jewsbury,  but after further review MLS officials awarded it to the Colombian striker.  This was his thirteenth on the season, putting him right on the heels of team leader Johnson.

Portland continued to look sloppy and disorganized, leaving them vulnerable to mistakes like when Sounders’ midfielder Christian Tiffert stole the ball from Jewsbury who obviously didn’t realize an opposing player was right there behind him.

Seattle keeper Michael Gspurning had an easy night of it, with Portland relegated mostly to inside their own half. The Timbers best chance of the night came from Franck Songo’o in the 75’, taking a shot from fourteen yard but without much on it and Gspurning was there to easily scoop it up.

Seattle defender Leo Gonzalez was subbed with fifteen minutes left to play due to a minor hamstring strain. Sunday’s match was just the second time this season that Schmid fielded the same starting line up in consecutive MLS games.

The Sounders have already secured a playoff spot with three MLS games left before playoff action begins. The win leap frogged Seattle into third place in the Western Conference, with a game in hand to their closest rivals. They next play second place Real Salt Lake at home on October 17th.

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