PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Kris Boyd scored his fifth goal of the season, David Horst converted a header and the Portland Timbers earned a much-needed 2-1 win over the Seattle Sounders on Sunday.
Portland (4-6-4) jumped ahead of its archrival early and held off the attacking Sounders for its first win in the league series since joining the MLS last year.
The Timbers went up in the 16th minute when Boyd slipped past the defense and sent home a cross from Steven Smith. Horst scored just nine minutes later for a 2-0 lead.
Seattle (7-5-4) saw its winless streak extend to seven games, the longest in its MLS history, now in its fourth season. Seattle was coming off a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City and a 4-1 loss to Montreal. Still, the Sounders were favored against the unseasoned Portland squad.
The Timbers entered the match in last place in the Western Division and 16th in the league in goals with 12. Portland took its third shutout in five games last Sunday in a 1-0 loss to the L.A. Galaxy.
And the team's disappointing start and flagging offense led to media reports this week that coach John Spencer's job could be in jeopardy if the Timbers fell flat against Seattle.
The Timbers weren't flat, but the early lead didn't feel permanent against the aggressive Sounders.
Eddie Johnson dribbled past Horst and fired a shot past straining keeper Troy Perkins into the far corner of the net in the 59th minute. Freddy Montero had a narrow miss in the 74th and Johnson barely missed a header in stoppage time.
As the Sounders kept up a desperate attack, things got chippy, leading to several pushing and shoving incidents toward the end of the game. Montero and Portland's Lovel Palmer were both issued red cards in the final minutes.
It was the third MLS meeting for the longtime Cascadia Cup rivals. Last year, in Portland's inaugural season, the teams played to a draw in Seattle before the Sounders won 3-2 in Portland.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.