There's really no sugar-coating this one: Saturday's tie feels like a loss. The Seattle Sounders probably had the better of play, gave us something to get excited about, but ultimately were forced to settle for a 1-1 tie with the Portland Timbers on a rainy evening in front of a record crowd at Qwest Field on Saturday.
Up until Mamadou Danso's 65th minute equalizer, this was really setting up to be a special evening. The night got started when ECS unveiled what has to be considered one of the more impressive tifo displays in U.S. soccer history. The nine-part display featured the images of both current and former Sounders and paid respect to every era and iteration of the team.
While the first half was undeniably sloppy, Qwest was really brought to life on Alvaro Fernandez's 52nd minute goal. The goal was made even sweeter by the fact that two of the most hated Sounders -- Roger Levesque and Fredy Montero, both of whom were part of the game-opening tifo -- picked up assists on the display.
"Just so fired up, so excited," Levesque said of the feeling after the goal. "I was really happy for Alvaro to score that goal and take the lead and give the fans a taste of here it goes, here it comes.
"That’s why it’s so disappointing because we had several other chances just after that to maybe put it out of reach. But that final pass, that final move just wasn’t there."
Just a couple minutes after Fernandez's goal, Montero nearly doubled it, but his header hit the side netting. Montero also had a free kick hit the side netting at the end of the first half. He also forced Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins into his only save of the night.
But those were really the only good chances the Sounders had all night. The rainy conditions didn't seem to suit their preferred keep-it-on-the-ground style. The loss of Erik Friberg to a sprained ankle on Friday definitely didn't help. The midgame injury further hampered the Sounders. But they don't make a tie seem anymore acceptable.
This was a stadium that really seemed primed for an explosion. Not the kind that comes from a 52nd minute goal, but the kind you can only get when months' worth of anticipation and, yes, nervousness, are allowed to be fully released.
"This rivalry there’s something more to it, you could really tell the energy," Levesque said. "Playing at home, you try to make your home a fortress and you always want to get three points at home regardless of who you’re playing. Throw on top of that getting the lead and giving it away, that’s definitely tough to swallow. It will definitely be one we think about."
Start counting the days until July 10.