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Timbers Advance to Western Conference Championship in Dramatic Penalty-Kick Shootout on the Road against Seattle Sounders FC

November 9, 2018 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Portland Timbers News Release

SEATTLE - Tied on aggregate goals after regulation and two, 15-minute halves of extra time, the Portland Timbers advanced to their third Western Conference Championship in six seasons with a dramatic 4-2 win on penalty kicks against Seattle Sounders FC in the second leg of the Western Conference Semifinals of the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs in front of 39,542 fans at CenturyLink Field on Thursday night.

Sebastián Blanco and Dairon Asprilla each scored goals for the Timbers during the match, but a penalty kick in the second extra time by Sounders FC sent the match to penalty kicks tied 4-4 on aggregate goals. In the penalty-kick shootout, Jeff Attinella saved Osvaldo Alonso's attempt in the third round and Asprilla converted the Timbers final penalty to give Portland the victory in the shootout.

Individual tickets for Portland's home playoff match of the Western Conference Championship go on sale to the general public Friday, Nov. 9, at 1 p.m. (Pacific), and will be available for purchase online at www.timbers.com or by phone at (888) 736-6849. A limited-window, online presale will take place Friday from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. (Pacific) for Timbers and Portland Thorns FC Annual Members and members of the club's Annual Members Waiting List. Group tickets can be purchased by calling (503) 553-5555.

Portland will square off against either No. 1 seed Sporting Kansas City or No. 6 Real Salt Lake in the first leg of the Western Conference Championship in the Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs on Sunday, Nov. 25, with the lower-seeded team playing host to the first leg. Kickoff time and broadcast information will be determined at the conclusion of the conference semifinals series.

MLS Playoffs history

Portland has now appeared in the conference championship three times (2013, 2015, 2018) in its last six seasons. In 15 MLS playoff matches, the Timbers have posted a mark of 7-4-4 with 25 goals scored. The goals-per-game average of 1.67 is fourth-highest among all MLS teams.

Against Seattle

Advancing on Thursday, the match marked the third time Portland has knocked Seattle out of the playoffs (1975, 2013, 2018). Blanco scored for a second consecutive match, concluding the 2018 season with three goals in five matches, including playoffs, against Seattle. Additionally, Blanco is the first Timbers player to score multiple playoff goals against Sounders FC.

Postseason scoring

Since MLS returned to the two-conference playoff format, the 2018 Timbers are just the second Western Conference team to score two or more goals in each of their first three matches of a single postseason. The only other Western Conference team to accomplish this was the 2013 Timbers.

Playoff performers

Diego Valeri has tallied a goal or an assist in each of the Timbers first three playoff matches in 2018, tallying his seventh career playoff assist in the second leg against Seattle. His seven assists are the most playoff assists of any active MLS player. In Valeri's last eight playoff games, he has three goals and six assists. Asprilla made his 2018 postseason debut in the match, recording a goal and an assist. Asprilla is one of two Timbers players to score in three different postseasons for the club, having scored in 2015, 2017 and 2018 along with Valeri. For his career with Portland in the playoffs, Asprilla has recorded three goals and four assists.

Key plays

Pressing near the edge of Seattle's box, Jeremy Ebobisse intercepted a pass by Alonso, dribbled end line and cut back toward the center of the goal, delivering a pass to Andy Polo inside the box, but his shot went just wide of the right post in the 21st minute.

On the counter-attack, the Timbers generated a scoring chance in the 61st minute. Attinella collected the ball and found Valeri running into space down the left side of the field. Valeri surged forward and slotted a pass to the center of the box for Ebobisse, who fired a shot from inside the box, forcing a save by Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei.

Sounders FC claimed in the lead in the 68th minute as Raúl Ruidíaz converted from inside the box. Víctor Rodríguez whipped a cross into the box from the left wing, playing the ball to the far post. Attinella came of his line to claim the cross, but was unable to control the ball as it dropped for Ruidíaz and he converted inside the right post.

The Timbers leveled the match at 1-1 in the 78th minute as Blanco scored for a second consecutive match to put Portland ahead on aggregate goals, 3-2. Jorge Villafaña's cross from the left wing was cleared by Kim Kee-hee, but Asprilla pounced on the clearance, slotting a pass to Blanco near the edge of the box and he unleashed a strike into the bottom, left corner of the goal.

Lucas Melano nearly gave Portland a lead in second-half stoppage time. Receiving a pass from Blanco inside the box on the left side, Melano cut back to the center of the box, sending a right-footed curling strike toward the right post, but Frei dove to his left to make the save.

Minutes later, Seattle took a 2-1 lead as Ruidíaz scored his second goal of the game. Sounders FC played a cross into the box from the left side. Portland attempted to clear the ball, but Ruidíaz pounced on a headed ball inside the box, delivering a powerful volley into the back of the net to send the game to extra time tied on aggregate goals, 3-3.

In extra time, the Timbers equalized to make it 2-2 in the 93rd minute and retake a 4-3 lead on aggregate goals. Winning the ball at midfield, Diego Chara found Valeri open on the right wing and he delivered a pinpoint cross into the box for Asprilla, who deposited the ball inside the right post with a header for his first goal of the 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs.

Less than five minutes later, Seattle pulled ahead 3-2 in the 97th minute to even the series 4-4 on aggregate goals, which would send the match to a penalty-kick shootout, as Nicolás Lodeiro converted from the penalty spot after Blanco was whistled for a handball in the box.

Notes:

The Timbers advanced to the Western Conference Championship for the third time (2013, 2015, 2018) in the last six seasons.

Portland has knocked Seattle out of the playoffs three times in the club's history across all eras (1975, 2013, 2018).

In 15 MLS playoff matches, the Timbers have posted a record of 7-4-4 with 25 goals scored. Their goals-per-game average of 1.67 is fourth-highest among all MLS teams.

Since MLS returned to the two-conference playoff format, the 2018 Timbers are just the second Western Conference team to score two or more goals in each of their first three matches of a single postseason. The only other Western Conference team to accomplish this was the 2013 Timbers.

The penalty-kick shootout was the fourth in a competitive match in all eras of the club, joining 2007 USL Playoffs vs. Atlanta Silverbacks, 2010 U.S. Open Cup third round vs. Seattle and 2015 MLS Knockout Round vs. Sporting Kansas City.

Valeri recorded the seventh assist of his MLS postseason career. His seven assists are the most playoff assists of any active MLS player.

In Valeri's last eight playoff games, he has three goals and six assists.

For the second consecutive match, Sebastián Blanco scored for Portland. The goal was Blanco's third against Seattle this season.

Blanco is the first Timbers player to score multiple playoff goals against Sounders FC.

Dairon Asprilla scored his third career playoff goal for Portland. Asprilla ranks second for most playoff goals by a Timbers player in all eras of the club.

Asprilla is one of two Timbers players to score in three different postseasons for the club, having scored in 2015, 2017 and 2018, joining Valeri.

Asprilla also delivered an assist in the match. It was Asprilla's fourth career assist in the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Andrés Flores made his MLS Cup Playoffs debut in the match.

Alvas Powell made his 2018 postseason debut, appearing in his ninth career playoff match for the Timbers.

The match was the 104th meeting overall between the Timbers and Sounders, dating back to 1975. It marked the ninth playoff match between the two clubs and the fourth postseason meeting in MLS era.

Next game

Portland will square off against either No. 1 seed Sporting Kansas City or No. 6 Real Salt Lake in the first leg of the Western Conference Championship in the 2018 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs on Sunday, Nov. 25.

Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs | Western Conference Semifinals - Leg 2

Portland Timbers (5) vs. Seattle Sounders FC (2)

Nov. 8, 2018 - CenturyLink Field (Seattle, Wash.)

Goals by Half 1 2 ET1 ET2 F (PKs)

Portland Timbers 0 1 1 0 2 (4)

Seattle Sounders FC 0 2 1 0 3 (2)

Scoring Summary:

SEA: Ruidíaz, 68

POR: Blanco (Asprilla), 78

SEA: Ruidíaz, 90+3

POR: Asprilla (Valeri), 93

SEA: Lodeiro (penalty kick), 97

Shootout Summary

1 POR: Melano - Goal

1 SEA: Ruidíaz - Goal

2 POR: Valeri - Goal

2 SEA: Bruin - Missed

3 POR: Blanco - Goal

3 SEA: Alonso - Saved

4 POR: Ridgewell - Saved

4 SEA: Bwana - Goal

5 POR: Asprilla - Goal

Misconduct Summary:

POR: Flores (caution), 41

SEA: Alonso (caution), 70

POR: Valeri (caution), 96

SEA: Ruidíaz (caution), 114

Lineups:

POR: GK Attinella, D Powell (Valentin, 103), D Mabiala, D Ridgewell, D Villafaña, M Flores (Olum 83), M Chara, M Polo (Asprilla, 72), M Valeri ©, M Blanco, F Ebobisse (Melano, 89)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Clark, D Tuiloma, D Cascante

TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Blanco, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Six players tied, 1); FOULS: 16 (Chara, 4); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 3

SEA: GK Frei, D Leerdam (Bwana, 85), D Torres, D Kee-hee, D Tolo, M Alonso ©, M Svensson, M Shipp (Bruin, 80), M Rodríguez (McCrary, 106), M Lodeiro, F Ruidíaz

Substitutes Not Used: GK Meredith, D Francis, M Delem, M A. Roldan

TOTAL SHOTS: 21 (Ruidíaz, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Ruidíaz, 2); FOULS: 17 (Three players tied, 3); OFFSIDES: 5; CORNER KICKS: 14; SAVES: 4

Referee: Jair Marrufo

Assistant Referees: Ian Anderson, Eduardo Mariscal

4th Official: Robert Sibiga

VAR: Chris Penso

Attendance: 39,542

Weather: Clear, 53 degrees

All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial


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