SEATTLE – The first time may be the charm for the Portland Timbers.

Behind goals from Ryan Johnson and Darlington Nagbe, the Timbers took control of their Western Conference semifinal with a  2-1 win over the Seattle Sounders on Saturday at CenturyLink Field in front of 38,507 fans. It was the Timbers’ first-ever MLS playoff game.

The series will resume on Thursday at JELD-WEN Field.

The Timbers were able to strike first with a goal that came solidly against the run of play thanks to Johnson's glancing header in the 15th minute. The Jamaican international was able to lose his mark with a run to the near post and Jack Jewsbury placed an inch-perfect cross between Johnson and Sounders goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann.

Diego Chara had helped create the opportunity with a weighted ball toward the end line, allowing Jewsbury to run onto it and whip in his cross.

Aside from the goal, the Timbers were mostly content to rely on their watertight defense and look for opportunities on the counter. They nearly got one in first-half stoppage time, getting out in numbers with Chara leading the charge. But after passing it off to Rodney Wallace, the Sounders were able to break up the chance.


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