JUNE 30, 2005
Grande shot from 45 yards only goal in 1-0 Impact win over Timbers
In an enjoyable match that was pretty even from start to finish, it was a 45-yard floater by Montreal's Sandro Grande in the 58th minute that was the only goal as the Impact defeated the Portland Timbers by a 1-0 score in front of 5,435 at Portland's PGE Park.
The Timbers would have the first scoring chance of the match in the 4th minute, when a Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar free kick from just outside the box appeared headed for the upper left corner, but was punched just over the bar by Montreal goalkeeper Greg Sutton. Shorley afterwards, the Impact had their own good chance when an Ali Gerba header off a cross from Adam Braz was just wide right. The Impact had another good chance two minutes later, when a collision between Portland goalkeeper Josh Saunders and Impact forward Eduardo Sebrango near the top of the box had the goal momentarily open, and while Sebrango was able to get a foot on the ball, his shot was weak and easily cleared by the Timbers defense.
The Impact would have the next two chances, with a shot by Gerba in the 9th minute going wide to the right, then in the 20th minute, a shot by Mauro Biello from the top of the Timbers box was right at the Timbers keeper and easily saved.
In the 26th minute, Portland's Paul Conway dropped a pass to an open Edwin Miranda at the top of the box, but his open shot was well over the bar. The Impact had their best chance of the first half in the 27th minute, when Biello dropped a pass to Sandro Grande, but his low hard shot from 20 yards out was tipped just left by a diving Saunders. Each team wasted opportunities in the 35th and 36th minutes, with Portland's Tom Poltl and Montreal's Biello missing the goal on good scoring chances, and the half would end scoreless.
In the 53rd minute, the Impact nearly opened the scoring when Grande put a shot just wide right from 28 yards out on an Impact free kick. Two minutes later the Timbers had a good chance of their own, with an Aaron Lines cross finding Alcaraz-Cuellar open at the far post, but his header from 6 yards out had nothing on it and was easily collected by Sutton.
In the 60th minute, the only goal of the game would come quite unexpectedly from an Impact free kick 45 yards from the Timbers goal. Saunders, the Timbers keeper was looking for a cross into the far side of the box, and judging that Saunders was too far off his goal, Grande put his free kick towards net instead, and the shot slipped just inside the right post, just out of the reach of a retreating Saunders, and the Impact had taken a 1-0 lead.
But after the Timbers goal, several Impact players appeared intent on celebrating the goal behind the Timbers net in front of the Timbers Army, but were stopped near the Timbers endline by Alcaraz-Cuellar, and before long most of the 22 players on the pitch were pushing and shoving near the Timbers endline. The referees consulted and no ejections were issued, but Alcaraz-Cuellar and Nevio Pizzolito were given yellow cards for the incident.
For much of the rest of the match, it would be the Timbers on the attack, with the Impact looking to protect their one goal lead. In the 66th minute, a cross from Portland's Shaun Higgins found forward Fadi Afash completely open behind the Impact defense only about 10 yards out, but he mis-hit the header and it went straight up in the air, to be easily collected by Sutton. After avoiding a near-disaster when a Saunders clearance was partially blocked by an attacking Impact forward, the Timbers had another good chance in the 75th minute when a Lines free kick was just over the bar from 25 yards out.
In the 83rd minute, the Timbers had perhaps their best chance to equalize when a Lines corner kick bounced through the crease untouched, then after a failed clearance by the Impact defense, was knocked just high and wide from 20 yards out by Miranda.
The Impact had one last chance to widen the score when a nice chip from the left side by Lars Lyssand forced a retreating Saunders to tip the shot over the bar.
The Timbers had a few late corner kicks and free kicks, but the shots and crosses were easily cleared, or snagged by Sutton, and in the end the one goal would be enough as the Impact held on for the 1-0 win.
Greg Sutton had three saves for the shutout, while Josh Saunders also recorded three saves in the losing effort.