Sounders claim Cascadia Cup lead behind Johnson goal, Gspurning saves

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Goals were in the offering early, but it took a mid-second half Eddie Johnson header to put Seattle ahead on the match.

The result took time to develop. Both the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders had moments when either could have claimed the lead, but it was only Eddie Johnson that finished a shot today. The win puts Seattle into the lead in the Cascadia Cup, the Playoffs by pure points and third overall by points per match.

Sounders FC created a vast majority of their chances from flank play and the spectacular. Twice Clint Dempsey would try a bicycle in heavy traffic. Neither would go in, but the chances came. Seattle peppered Donovan Ricketts from near and far.

The moment that redefined the match was when Johnson was hacked down. After a few moments in pain he stood up, strode to the box and perfectly placed header off of Mauro Rosales service. EJ now has six Cascadia Cup goals to lead all active players in the MLS era. Rosales was an early second half sub for Joseph.

During the first twenty minutes Shalrie Joseph had two clean headers that just didn't get the angle to go on goal. Those 20 minutes were a clinic on what Seattle soccer can be even facing a squad designed around the possession game. Sounders FC created chances and owned the flow of the match.

Portland came back, but failed to finish their opportunity. A Valeri pass through two lines of Sounders sprung Ryan Johnson, but Michael Gspurning sprinted off his line to save the sure goal. Gspurning would have three other saves, only one could be called simple.

The central thirty minutes is the time that the Timbers excel usually. On Sunday night they were stymied. On the match and by nearly any segmentation they failed to own possession, duels, shots and chances. Instead they were average.

Seattle was not. Sounders FC was the better passer, more creative, won more duels and owned the match. Only the score line was close.

Now unbeaten in 10 straight at home and 10 matches over 40,000 in attendance Green-Blue-Green enter the stretch run primed for greatness. They do so showing upstart Portland that the enemy's goal is down.

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