That clearly wasn't the result the Seattle Sounders were looking for, but a 1-1 tie on the road against a very desperate Portland Timbers team is not awful. As it turned out, the tie probably ended the Sounders' realistic hopes of winning the Supporters' Shield, as they are now eight points behind the San Jose Earthquakes with six games to play. Even a win next week would still leave the Sounders with a sizable five-point gap to close in just five matches.
Still, this was hardly a disastrous result. The Shield was always a long shot and the Sounders are still only three points behind Sporting Kansas City for the second best overall record. If they can finish second, they would earn a CONCACAF Champions League spot as long as at least one of the Earthquakes or Kansas City make the MLS Cup finals.
As for this game, it's hard to know how much you can really take away. Aside from Fredy Montero's brilliant goal, the Sounders did not look great on offense. Without either Mauro Rosales or Christian Tiffert, the ball movement through the midfield was not very fluid. The chances the Sounders did create came mostly from the wings, with Steve Zakuani sending in a couple dangerous crosses.
Defensively, this was not the Sounders' best performance but it wasn't exactly bad either. The Timbers were really only dangerous on counter-attacks and corner kicks. The counter-attacks were probably more the fault of the forwards and midfielders giving balls away too easily and the corner-kick problem was exasperated by the fact that the Sounders gave up nine that predominantly came in the second half.
SEA - Fredy Montero (Michael Gspurning) 57'
Seattle Sounders FC: Michael Gspurning, Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Brad Evans (Marc Burch 79'), Osvaldo Alonso, Andy Rose, Steve Zakuani (Mario Martinez 70'), Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson.
Total Shots: 15; Shots on Goal: 3; Fouls: 11; Offside: 3; Corner Kicks: 2; Saves: 2.
Portland Timbers: Donovan Ricketts (Joseph Bendik 57'), Kosuke Kimura, Hanyer Mosquera, David Horst, Rodney Wallace, Darlington Nagbe, Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara, Sal Zizzo (Kalif Alhassan 83'), Bright Dike, Franck Songo'o (Danny Mwanga 72').
Total Shots: 17; Shots on Goal: 3; Fouls: 12; Offside: 1; Corner Kicks: 9; Saves: 2.
SEA - Eddie Johnson 26'
SEA - Mario Martinez 79'
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee's Assistants: Peter Manikowski; Mike Kampmeinert
4th Official: Jesus Cisneros
Time of Game: 1:53
Weather: Sunny and 64 degrees
All statistics contained in the boxscore are unofficial.
Seattle Sounders FC Quotes
Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid
Thoughts on the match:
"For them it was a very emotional game. You saw by all their players that went out that were injured, cramping up and little niggling muscle injuries toward the end that they spent everything that they had. So from that standpoint I'm pleased that we were able to keep them at bay for the majority of the game. Once we got the lead, I thought we played a little better in the second half, finding Andy Rose coming out of the back instead of Ozzie [Alonso] because they were really cracking down on Ozzie, making it difficult for us to play through him. So, Andy got more involved, we got forward, got a good goal to take the lead, but then we just gave away too many corner kicks and gave them a little bit of dominance in the game. When you give away that many corners eventually you get chances, and we were lucky on the one where they hit the post as well. We had a good chance at the end where we could almost steal it. So, I think at the end of the day 1-1 is a fair result. For our team it's good that we still were able to secure a point in the standpoint of the Cascadia Cup. That's still all open for us right now, so that's good."
On Fredy Montero's goal:
"I thought it was a great goal. At first when he hit it, I thought it had gone over the goal. The individual ability to turn and hit that and volley it takes a lot of skill."
Thoughts on a first-time MLS viewer seeing Saturday's game:
"It's intense, it's competitive, the atmosphere was tremendous. The atmosphere is always great here or at our place, the effort of the two teams was fantastic, you can see it was a very competitive game. It's a man's game. People have to get out there and battle. It's got physical elements to it, it's got its skillful element when you look at the goal Montero scores and when you look at some of the individual play of other players. So, I think it had everything. We always complain about not enough goals, but it's really about goal scoring chances. The drama was there with them hitting the post and at the end with us having a very good look from Ozzie. It had all the elements of what a good sporting event should be."
Thoughts on having the lead on the road in a second consecutive match and settling for a draw:
"Each game, like I said, takes on its own emphasis. Dallas game they were a very hungry team. They were coming off a game that was difficult, so for us to hang on, and today we played a team for them, this was their MLS Cup final. They played and expended the energy that a team would expend in the MLS Cup final. You don't want to expend that energy every time you play, but it's just a little bit different when you say ‘it's now or never,' and they had that now-or-never attitude. So, based on that, it was ok, but I thought once we had the lead we need to do a better job managing the game. We need to do a better job of holding onto the ball. We got complicated sometimes and all of a sudden we're giving up another corner and another corner when really we could have cleared the ball up the field. Those are little things that you gotta do well in those moments of the game."
Sounders FC forward Eddie Johnson
On the physicality of the game:
"It was a physical game, but those are derby games. We just wanted to come in here and match their intensity and start out on the right foot. Last game we didn't have a good start to the game and we went down two goals, which made it difficult to get back into the game. At times, I thought we matched their intensity, we knew they were going to have their home crowd behind them, and I thought 1-1 was a fair result."
On the collision with Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts:
"In the attacking third we got a good understanding when guys get the ball out wide and for a forward it's first nature - one guy goes to the near post and one guy goes to the far. I just tried to make a hard run in the box and I was already celebrating. Andy [Rose] crossed the perfect ball, but [Ricketts] came late and I tried to avoid the contact. By that time it was too late, my momentum was going toward the goal and his ribs hit my bicep. I was just trying to be dangerous in the box, that's been my bread and butter this season, and the guys made it difficult today, but I thought it was a good game."
On the final match yet to play against the Timbers this season:
"Well the good thing is we get to go back to our home stadium and play in front of our crowd. We know it's going to be an electric atmosphere, but these games are tough. The Cascadia Cup is something that they're playing for and something they're looking forward to achieving because it's a goal that's still a realistic goal for them. We know we're trying to get as many points as we can to secure second place in the Western Conference, so it's gonna be a big game, but we need to get the three points at home."
Sounders FC forward Fredy Montero
Thoughts on the result:
"Well we know we can be better, but at the same time we know to tie in this place is difficult. We have one point, which is going to be good for us at the end of the season."
Thoughts on his goal:
"It came from the goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, and the ball bounced. I tried to hold the defender, when I saw I was in the box, I just tried to hit the ball. It was good."
On his goal scoring record in Cascadia Cup games:
"It's always good to score goals in those kind of derbies. Those goals, the people coming from Seattle they enjoy more than me, and I'm happy for them and happy for the team. Let's keep winning games, and hopefully the next game at home we have the opportunity to win again."
Portland Timbers Quotes
Timbers general manager/interim head coach Gavin Wilkinson
General thoughts on the match:
"It took us a while to find the game, in my opinion, and once we did, we started stringing passes together. I thought our response after we conceded that goal was first class. I think the next passage of play, we kept the ball moving. We went from side to side, and we started to develop a little bit of rhythm. I think that was an important response by the players, and I'm pleased with that. You always worry how a goal is going to affect the team, and our team responded positively. After that, when we were down to 10 men, it was tough to manage, but I thought we were unlucky not to come away with a little bit more. I think there was one that came across their goal line from the inside of the post. That could've changed things a little bit more. But happy with the response."
On how Ricketts leaving the match affected the team:
"I think mentally, again, you go back to we let the ball bounce, we didn't charge the first one, we got beat on the second one. And Joe [Bendik], it was his introduction into the game ... We probably should've played with a little bit more of a stronger mentality in that situation. Charge the ball a little bit higher up the field and get him [Bendik] a touch on the ball. The first touch on the ball for him was picking it up out of the back of the net. I thought his mentality, his character showed, and his response. I think he made a fantastic save there, and it was positive from everybody. I think it was an entertaining game."
On having to go on the road to have a chance to win Cascadia Cup:
"We'll accept coming away with a tie. I think coming back from a goal down. If you're a goal up, and you give that away, it's three points lost. I think we salvaged a point today. As I said, unlucky not to take all three. I think most of the second half, performance from us was very, very positive. At least we clawed ourselves back into the game. We gave the fans something to be excited about, and kept the Cascadia Cup very, very much alive, and benefitting us, I hope. We'll go on the road, we have great fan support on the road, and we still get to bring it back to Portland, hopefully, if and when."
Timbers midfielder Jack Jewsbury
On getting a draw:
"I think it's good to see us come back, especially in a huge game like that. Obviously, a bit disappointed, because we wanted to raise the trophy in front of the home fans. But now, we got a little bit more work to do."
On how the Wallace goal energized the team:
"Yeah, it was huge ... You want to continue to press. I thought we did that. We had three or four corners there toward the end of the game. We were able to finish that one. There was another one where Bright [Dike] hits the post. I thought we continued to press. Obviously, the last five minutes, when Diego [Chara] goes down, the game changes a little bit, and just trying to preserve the tie. But overall, I thought everybody fought hard. The energy was there, like you'd expect in a game like this."
On what it meant to come back from a 1-0 deficit:
"I think we have a belief in one another that maybe we didn't have earlier in the season, that we're not going to put our heads down when we go down a goal, and give up a second and third. We have the belief in one another, and this is a confident group. I think we're playing well, and maybe on another day, we get out of here with three points."
Timbers defender Rodney Wallace
How it felt getting the goal:
"Just excited. Just excited that I got this opportunity, and ended on a good note. I think the team played well today, and we just got to build from this performance. Unfortunate that we didn't get the win, but we just got to keep fighting and keep grinding it out."
On getting his first goal of the year in this game:
"Playing in front of these fans, and against a rival like that, it's a great feeling."
On the feeling after coming away with the draw after being down:
"It's always good to get the point. If you're a goal down, you always want to get a goal. You always want to win the game, but unlucky it just didn't go our way with the shot at the end that [Bright] Dike hit the post. But overall, it was a good performance."