The narrative of the past two months finally played itself out in an almost storybook fashion for our rivals to the South. The Portland Timbers, the long insufferable neighbor of the much better Seattle Sounders, finally had their chance in the sun. In front of a home crow, frothing at the mouth for green blood, the Timbers put their boot firmly on the Sounders throat and lopped off the head with one clean swoop.
The penalty kick from a handball call in the 30th minute was deflating, but the Sounders weren't facing an insurmountable hole. Diego Valeri's goal in the 44th minute put the Sounders down three goals in aggregate, and the story of the Sounders history with the playoffs was the main focus once again -- try and dig as deep of a hole as possible and then climb out.
After another Portland goal in the 47th minute made it 3-0 Timbers, at that point it was just going to be 40 more minutes of white noise. The Sounders finally rallied and made some headway, scoring two goals in two minutes, but it was always going to be too little too late.
The season is now over. The Sounders, one of the best looking teams in the MLS, have some deep soul searching to do to get ready for the next season.
POR - Will Johnson (penalty) 29'
POR - Diego Valeri (Rodney Wallace) 44'
POR - Mamadou Dansou (Rodney Wallace, Will Johnson) 47'
SEA - DeAndre Yedlin 74'
SEA - Eddie Johnson (DeAndre Yedlin) 76'
Seattle Sounders FC - Michael Gspurning, DeAndre Yedlin, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Djimi Traore, Marc Burch, Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso (Andy Rose 84), Clint Dempsey, Adam Moffat (Mauro Rosales 58), Shalrie Joseph (Obafemi Martins 49), Eddie Johnson.
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Dempsey 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (3 players, 1); FOULS: 21 (Burch, Yedlin 4); OFFSIDE: 1 (Moffat 1); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Burch, Rosales 2); SAVES: 3 (Gspurning 3).
Portland Timbers - Donovan Ricketts, Jack Jewsbury, Mamadou Dansou, Pa Modou Kah, Michael Harrington, Diego Chara, Diego Valeri (Kalif Alhassan 61), Will Johnson, Darlington Nagbe (Ben Zemanski 82), Ryan Johnson (Maximiliano Urruti 69), Rodney Wallace.
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Wallace 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Wallace 2); FOULS: 14 (Chara 3); OFFSIDE: 1 (Urruti 1); CORNER KICKS: 1 (W. Johnson 1); SAVES: 1 (Ricketts 1).
POR - Pa Modou Kah (caution) 26'
SEA - Marc Burch (caution) 40'
SEA - Clint Dempsey (caution) 49'
POR - Diego Chara (caution) 53'
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Referee's Assistants: Paul Scott, Bill Dittmar
4th Official: Dave Gantar
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Rainy and 50 degrees
Post game quotes
Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid
On the team's performance tonight:
"I thought tonight we got outplayed in the first half. We didn't play well in the first half. I thought they closed us down, put pressure on us, we didn't play forward. I thought we lost the game in the midfield. In the second half, when we switched into a 3-5-2, I thought it was better. You know, we started to get some things, but we can't give up that goal right in the beginning of the half and we got two back. But overall, I think they were a better team than us tonight."
On the effect of Portland's penalty kick goal:
"It was a deflating goal because we were dodging a few bullets. It wasn't that we were playing well at that point. They were putting pressure on us, but it was a hand ball that was on the edge of the 18, it wasn't going anywhere. It looked like the referee wasn't going to call it, then the linesman decided to call it for him. I thought it was a hard call, not was it a handball or not, it was a handball, but it seemed like a harsh call."
On a disappointing end to the season:
"It's disappointing, but when you're adding people during the season it's sometimes tough. Being able to play as a team is something that we have to become better at. In terms of that unselfish running for people at times is something we have to become better at as well, and that's something that we'll improve upon and be better at next season because that was one of the keys for us and with the changes in the lineup game in and game out. We were never able to build upon that and never be able to get the roles down. The roles for people were changing and the roles for people today in the game changed; all that makes it tough."
Sounders FC midfielder Brad Evans
On keys to the match and result:
"Key moments against good teams in the first half, and keeping the ball in good positions and one, two missed passes against a good counter-attacking team and they're gonna put it down your throat. What I saw in the game was a couple missed passes and then they're turned and then we're turned and then we're kind of chasing at that point. Against a good team, they're gonna to make you pay and they did twice. And then the tactics kind of get thrown out the window and we're chasing at that point."
On the point in the game where it started to get away:
"Like I said, a couple key moments in the first half, and they punish us. Against a good team at home, it's going to be difficult to claw back. In saying that, we pulled two goals back in the second half and maybe if we don't concede that third one, I think that we probably get a third one and we make it really interesting. But, one goal shy again and that seems to be the lifeline over the past couple years, just one goal."
Sounders FC forward Eddie Johnson
On the difference in the game:
"No, it's not fight. It's just when you play with confidence, when everyone wants the ball, you can't wait to play a team like Portland that's very good at home. That's one of the best teams in the league, and to put yourself down three goals and then you wake up and want to play ... No, you got to play like that from minute one to minute 90 and we didn't want to play. We put our backs against wall and that doesn't work at this level."
On the team's offense and finding space:
"First of all, to run off space, we got to have guys get on the ball for our strikers to find space. If the game becomes very direct, we're playing into their strengths and that's what [the Timbers] want. They want the ball to myself, or to [Clint Dempsey], in the air. That suits them. But if we can get guys on the ball and have guys that are confident on the ball and play through the middle and then we can get slipped five- or 10-yard balls, then it's easier for them to get their back four disjointed. We weren't able to do that tonight and that's why they were successful."
On changes to the lineup:
"Whoever is out there, there's enough experience up top to score goals - bottom line. We've got enough quality up top to score goals. In a big game like this, guys just got to step up and score goals."