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Sounders beat Colorado, advance to Western Conference semifinals on Saturday

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Brad Evans (Photo:

SEATTLE — Sounders FC ousted the Colorado Rapids 2-0 Wednesday night in the Knockout Round of the MLS Cup Playoffs, setting up a rivalry bout with the Portland Timbers in the Western Conference Semifinals beginning Saturday at CenturyLink Field.

Seattle got a first-half goal from Brad Evans and clung to the lead, even when playing down a man for the final 10 minutes of play when goalkeeper Michael Gspurning was sent off for handling the ball outside the box.

Gspurning had played well through 85 minutes, making saves on both Colorado shots on goal, but a high arching ball from the midfield pulled him off his line and he fielded the bouncing ball just outside the box, drawing the red card.

Marcus Hahnemann subbed into the match and was forced into immediate action on the ensuing free kick, but held the Rapids off the board and Eddie Johnson added a stoppage-time goal to put the Sounders through to the next round.

Sounders FC was the early aggressor and in the third minute Adam Moffat ripped a shot off a pass from Johnson, but Clint Irwin made the stop and cleared the loose ball before Clint Dempsey could get to the rebound.

The pressure finally paid off in the 28th minute as Evans gave Seattle the 1-0 lead.

Later, Johnson broke through, slotting his shot past Irwin for the 2-0 lead.

Seattle will face the Timbers in the two-leg, aggregate-scoring series starting Saturday at CenturyLink Field.

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