Seattle Sounders 1-1 Portland Timbers: Timbers take a point in first MLS trip to Seattle
The Portland Timbers pulled out a draw in the club's first trip to Seattle as a Major League Soccer team.
By Ryan Scally
The long awaited derby between the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers could not have been played under more appropriate conditions. A boisterous crowd of 36,593 braved a steady onslaught of rain to watch the clubs play out a 1-1 draw.
It had been over 28 years since these two clubs faced each other in a top league match. Pre-game festivities included a very impressive tifo display by the Emerald City Supporters and a strong Timbers Army presence could be seen in the northeast corner of Qwest Field.
The first half began with an even balance of possession. The first shot of the evening came by way of a Fredy Montero long-range effort from about 30 yards out. Portland goalkeeper Troy Perkins dove to his right and made the save.
Seattle would control the majority of possession over the next several minutes. However, it was unable to generate any dangerous scoring opportunities.
After the 5th minute Portland began pushing further into the Sounders half including a Jeremy Hall cross that was played too strongly and into Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller who safely caught it.
The first half certainly saw its fair share of physical play. Notably Seattle midfielder Osvaldo Alonso took a bit of a knock in the 7th minute after a collision with Jack Jewsbury’s studs.
One notably strong performer in the first half was midfielder Diego Chara. Chara beat Seattle's left back several times and was consistently dangerous. He used a combination of speed and nice footwork and generated at least two good scoring opportunities for Portland.
Portland remained dangerous in the 26th minute when Seattle defender Patrick Ianni made a well timed clearance of a Jeremy Hall cross deep inside the Sounder’s box.
Neither goalkeeper was put to the test in the first half. Both Perkins and Keller were only forced to clean up sloppy crosses into their boxes or make the occasional save of wayward shot.
Seattle was forced to make a substitution in the first half when Brad Evens pulled his groin muscle. Midfielder Roger Levesque came on in the 42nd minute and filled in for Evans on the right side of the midfield.
The second half began with Seattle showing enthusiasm and attacking early and often. Almost immediately in the 46th minute Montero played a ball into Portland’s box where he found Levesque. He then played the ball into forward Nate Jaqua who’s shot was cleared for a Seattle corner.The first score of the evening came off the foot of Sounder midfielder Alvaro Fernandez who took a header from Roger Levesque and patiently pushed his shot past a diving Perkins.
In the 56th minute Portland almost netted an equalizer as forward Jorge Perlaza pushed a left footed shot just past Keller. However, Tyson Wahl was able to clear the shot safely for a Portland corner.
Portland scored the equalizer in the 65th minute. A free kick taken by midfielder Jack Jewsbury was well placed and defender Mamadou Danso used the back of his head to knock the ball past Keller who had come off of his line to punch the ball clear.
Portland nearly scored the go ahead goal in the 72nd minute when a sloppy play by Keller and Ianni nearly opened the door, but Seattle managed to scramble the ball away.
The next 10 minutes saw the Sounders pushing hard forward. Portland’s back line remained well organized and was able to deflect Seattle’s attack.
One notably strong performer in the second half was Seattle forward Fredy Montero. Montero was a real concern during much of the second half for Portland’s center backs. He was on the receiving end of several balls and worked well when paired with Levesque to his right.
There were two added minutes of stoppage time and Seattle used both to launch a late push forward. However, Portland’s defense was noticeably bunched in the middle making it nearly impossible for Seattle to play the ball anywhere near Portland’s goal.
Portland will be satisfied to leave Seattle with a draw and a point in the standings. Seattle has to be disappointed and this result will surely only fuel the rivalry between these two Cascadia teams.
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