It's pretty late, so I'll keep this simple: Thank you Kasey Keller and thank you Zach Scott.
If Keller's place in Sounders lore was ever in doubt, I think he sealed his spot today. He probably could have done better on the Timbers' goal, but the two saves he made in the penalty shootout were a thing of legend.
On the flipside, Zach Scott came through in a big way just as it seemed as though the Sounders were poised to breathe new life into the Timbers. His perfectly placed shot in the top right corner sealed the victory and sent the Sounders into a fourth-round matchup with the Galaxy at Starfire on Wednesday (tickets go on sale today/Thursday).
Of course, it would have been nice if the result didn't require heroic efforts. But the reality was the Sounders were outplayed for much of the night. Although the Timbers had a tough time making the most of their opportunities, they probably had more solid chances than the Sounders. They also seemed to have the better of the midfield play, and seemed poised for victory after Taylor Graham was sent off for his second yellow of the match.
All of this came as a bit of a surprise, I thought, after the Sounders had the better of the play in the early going. That eventually resulted in as a pretty of a goal as we've seen all season at 13' when Miguel Montano's cross was deftly flicked back toward the goal by Sanna Nyassi where Nate Jaqua put away the header for his first competitive goal of the season.
That was just about the only highlight the Sounders produced. For much of the match, they were forced back on their heels as the Timbers pushed for the equalizer.
The Timbers found it at 38' as Bright Dike eluded the tackle of James Riley and caught Keller going the wrong way.
The score stood even for the rest of regulation and through the two 15-minute overtimes, with neither side mounting much sustained pressure.
The penalty shootout victory hardly means much in the grander scheme, but it should remind many of us why we love this game. It certainly isn't always pretty, it can definitely be frustrating, but games like this are still exciting. Also, it's nice to know that whatever happens the rest of the season, we know we can hang this over the heads of our southern neighbors when they're introduced to MLS next season.