PORTLAND -- Zach Scott seems an unlikely hero when it comes to scoring game-winning goals.
However, for the second time in three years it was his penalty kick that advanced a Seattle team through in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
“I don’t know if it’s familiar … there are still butterflies going up there. But it is a good feeling,” said Scott.
It was Scott’s kick from the mark in 2008 that pushed the Sounders, then playing in the USL, through to the semifinal with a shootout victory over the Kansas City Wizards. Wednesday night Scott bested Portland Timbers goalkeeper Steve Cronin to lift the Sounders past their longtime rivals and through to the quarterfinals of the Open Cup after playing to a 1-1 draw in 90 minutes of regulation and 30 minutes of extra time.
“That’s what derby games are and that’s what the Open Cup is as well,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “I thought some guys played very well and at the end we showed a ton of character.”
Meanwhile Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller stopped two Portland shots in the shootout to keep the Sounders in position to win the shootout, capping a great six-save night for Keller.
In an up-and-down game, the Sounders FC got on the board first when Nate Jaqua scored his first goal of 2010. Rookie midfielder Michael Seamon got the play started with a great ball up the left side to Miguel Montano, who crossed to Sanna Nyassi at the far post. Nyassi collected the ball and found Jaqua for a header that beat Cronin inside the far post for a 1-0 Seattle lead in the 13th minute.
Portland forward Bright Dike - a 2010 MLS SuperDraft first round pick of the Columbus Crew - evened the score in the 38th minute when he turned on a ball in the middle of the box and pushed the ball inside the left post.
“It was a shame because I thought we defended tremendous all night,” Keller said. “All-in-all, just a great effort from the guys.”
That effort was made even more impressive as the Sounders FC played the final 19 minutes of extra time down a man after Taylor Graham picked up his second yellow card, resulting in a red card ejection.
But Seattle kept their cool and kept Portland from threatening as the minutes wore on and the game went into a shootout.
Keller dove to his right and swatted away Ryan Pore’s first attempt on net in the shootout. Then after Seattle got goals from Nathan Sturgis, Steve Zakuani and Fredy Montero to take a 3-2 lead Keller got another save, this time stonewalling Ross Smith. Patrick Ianni could not ice the win for the Sounders though, blasting his shot off the crossbar.
Portland scored to even the tally at 3-3, leaving Scott at center stage. Scott lifted his shot past Cronin to give the Sounders the 4-3 advantage on penalties and putting them through to face the LA Galaxy in the quarterfinals next Wednesday.
“Especially in a competition like this where we are the defending champs, this is huge,” Scott said. “We have to take this as far as we can. It’s just another stepping stone toward turning our season around.”
Noting the large contingent of Sounders FC fans who made the drive to Portland for the match, Keller added, “It’s a big night for the team and our fans. This is the enemy and you want to beat the enemy. I’m just really happy for the team and our fans that made the trip down here … they can have a nice drive home now.”
Seattle will host the LA Galaxy at Starfire in Tukwila Wednesday night at 7 pm. Tickets are available Thursday morning at 10 am through Ticketmaster.
Sounders FC - Nate Jaqua (Sanna Nyassi) 13
Timbers - Bright Dike (Ryan Pore) 38
Sounders FC - Nathan Sturgis (goal), Steve Zakuani (goal), Fredy Montero (goal), Patrick Ianni (no goal), Zach Scott (goal).
Timbers - Ryan Pore (save), Doug DeMartin (goal), Mamadou Danso (goal), Ross Smith (saved), Rodrigo Lopez (goal).
Sounders FC - Kasey Keller, Tyson Wahl, Taylor Graham, Zach Scott, James Riley, Miguel Montano (Steve Zakuani 69), Nathan Sturgis, Michael Seamon (Patrick Ianni 102), Sanna Nyassi, Nate Jaqua (Fredy Montero 62), Roger Levesque.
Timbers - Steve Cronin, Ian Joy, Scot Thompson, Ross Smith, Mamadou Danso, Tony McManus, James Marcelin (Mandjou Keita 109), Alex Nimo (Rodrigo Lopez 69), Takayuki Suzuki (Doug DeMartin 85), Ryan Pore, Bright Dike.