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Portland Timbers 2-3 Seattle Sounders: Montero Brace, Alonso Penalty Give Seattle Huge Win Over Rivals

Things began in much the same manner as so many derbies before it; tentative, chippy and with much tension but little explosiveness, each side crafting a few chances but none clear cut and the first half whistle sending the teams to the locker room with the score just as it was at the start. But if the first 45 were a standoff the second 45 were a shootout. Portland got on the board first thanks to a Jeff Parke own goal that the Seattle defender was helpless to prevent and it was off to the races from there. When all was said and done the two sides had combined for five goals between them with the Sounders coming out on top, a huge win for a team that once again showed an ability to fight back and earn results under difficult circumstances.

Things didn't start too well for Seattle as the Timbers managed to take control of the run of play early on, not doing a great deal to threaten but preventing the Sounders from putting together much in the way of an attack. As the half progressed Seattle managed to open up the Portland back line and the Sounders had two excellent chances, the first coming when Roger Levesque was sprung on the counter but found himself unable to find the angle for a shot and the second coming after Erik Friberg found Alvaro Fernandez in space in the box, but Timbers keeper Troy Perkins was able to get down quickly to cut off the angle and keep things level. Despite things being even at the half there was a definite feeling that momentum favored the Sounders, but that didn't last for long; just after the first half kick-off Kalif Alhassan blew by Tyson Wahl down the right flank and put a cross into a dangerous area, Jeff Parke helpless to get out of the way as it glanced off his back and past Kasey Keller into the net.

Things quickly went from bad to worse for the Sounders, as just five minutes after the Timbers went ahead defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado went in for a challenge and suffered an injury to his right knee. Much to the dismay of Sigi Schmid the Timbers continued their attack and Jorge Perlaza very nearly made it 2-0, just missing a tap in from a cross with the ball ultimately rolling into touch. Hurtado went to the sideline and wouldn't return with Patrick Ianni coming on in his place and as of now the extent of the injury is unknown pending an MRI. Things took a turn for the better just five minutes after Hurtado's injury however, as Fredy Montero curled a beautiful free kick around the wall and into Troy Perkins net from 27 yards out, giving Montero his fourth goal on the season.

As the frantic pace continued, the ball moving end to end with minimal stoppage in play and each side enjoying plenty of dangerous play the Timbers would climb back ahead in the 69th minute after Jorge Perlaza found space down the right flank (which was something of a theme on the night) and sent in a shot that deflected off of Tyson Wahl and past Keller. The Sounders stormed back however, and just five minutes later it was Montero again, getting onto the end of the final ball of a fantastic sequence of cross-field passes, first from James Riley, then Lamar Neagle and finally volleyed by Rosales to Montero who timed his run perfectly to split the defense and tap in past Perkins.

From there on out it was all Sounders and when Lamar Neagle was dragged down in the box (by a high boot nonetheless) earning a penalty and a sending off for Eric Brunner, Osvoldo Alonso stepped up to convert the penalty to put Seattle ahead of the Timbers for good. To be certain it wasn't the most dominant performance of the year for the Sounders, but in a hard-fought, well played derby match that was contested at a pace that was for more suited to their opposition Seattle found a way to emerge with a huge three points, keeping pace with LA Galaxy and gaining ground on FC Dallas. Montero was unquestionably the man of the match; his play in the build up was typically excellent but it was of course the brace that made him stand out. On a day that the team as a whole as not at its best, Montero came up huge and in a game that was clearly calling out for a big performance to separate the sides.

The Sounders unbeaten run now stands at eight games and the Sounders will next play host to the Colorado Rapids with a chance to create some significant separation between themselves and the lower half of the teams competing for a playoff slot in the West. There's also the distinct possibility that the Sounders will have a brand new Designated Player in house (though almost certainly not available) as the transfer window opens Friday.

For more on this game and all things Seattle Sounders, visit Sounder At Heart.