That did not go as planned. For the first time in the MLS era, the Seattle Sounders lost to the Portland Timbers. I wouldn't say the Sounders were outplayed, but I don't know that I'd say they were clearly outplayed in many of these seven games that they've failed to win.
Rather, this was a hugely frustrating continuation of an incomplete game being followed by a substandard result. Something has to change.
As feel-bad losses go, this was right up there.
The Sounders created chances, just like they did against Sporting Kansas City. But, also like the previous game, they didn't do enough with them. Brad Evans had a couple chances that he could have done better with. Troy Perkins did an admirable job of the numerous shots the Sounders managed to get on frame, although far too many of their best were from distance. Fredy Montero was largely taken out of the game, and didn't do himself any favors by getting himself ejected. Jeff Parke's availability is now in question after he left the game with what the team only deemed as dizziness.
The positive spin on all of this is that this is largely the same group that started the season 7-1-1 and the Sounders are very much still in the playoff picture. There is also plenty of talent in the locker room. This season can absolutely be salvaged.
Portland Timbers (4-6-4, 16pts) vs. Seattle Sounders FC (7-5-4, 25pts)
June 24, 2012 - JELD-WEN Field
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Seattle Sounders FC 0 1 1
Portland Timbers 2 0 2
POR: Boyd (Smith), 16
POR: Horst (Songo'o), 25
SEA: Johnson (Scott), 58
SEA: Evans (Caution), 18
POR: Chara (Caution), 43
POR: Alonso (Caution), 48
POR: Alhassan (Caution), 53
POR: Smith (Caution), 73
POR: Jewsbury (Caution), 90
SEA: Montero (Ejection), 90+1
POR: Palmer (Ejection), 90+2
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Perkins, D Jewsbury ©, D Danso, D Horst, D Smith, M Alhassan (Zizzo, 54), M Chara, M Nagbe, M Songo'o (Palmer, 78), F Fucito (Mwanga, 66), F Boyd
Substitutes Not Used: GK Bendik, D Chabala, D Purdy, M Alexander
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Boyd, Horst, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Boyd, 2); FOULS: 15 (Boyd, 4); OFFSIDES: 4; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 5
SEA: GK Weber, D Parke (Ianni, 42), D Scott, D Hurtado, D Burch, M Rosales ©, M Alonso, M Evans (Rose, 46), M Caskey (Cato, 75), F Montero, F Johnson
Substitutes Not Used: GK Meredith, D Gonzalez, F Levesque, F Ochoa
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Johnson, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Alonso, 2); FOULS: 23 (Montero, 6); OFFSIDES: 0; CORNER KICKS: 8; SAVES: 1
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Assistant Referees: Peter Manikowski, Mike Kampmeinert
4th Official: Jasen Anno
Time of Game: 1:56
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 67
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial
Timbers head coach John Spencer
Thoughts on the game:
"I'm very, very happy. I thought the first half was a tremendous performance. Expected Seattle to come out and do what they did in the second half. They've got a lot of pride. They're a quality, quality team; top-quality organization. The coach has been at the top end of the coaching spectrum for a number of years, and I expected them to come after us and pin us back and create chances and score a goal. They've got too many quality players not to score a goal; good team. Unbelievable performance from us. First half, I thought the quality was there. Second half, couldn't get a hold of the ball. They dominated most of the play. We dug deep, showed a lot of character, and I'm very, very happy with the three points."
On holding an early lead:
"I think that when you go through a little bit of a barren spell that we did. Let's not forget, we're not getting pummeled 4-0 every week, and battled and embarrassed. We've created a lot of chances in the last few weeks and the last few games, and just not managed to pult the ball in the back of the net for whatever reason. Today, we get two opportunities and we go 2-0 up. To be honest, I think we showed an unbelievable amount of character - I took my hat off to them in the locker room. I said, ‘Not good tactics. Not good coaching. Just sheer hard work, determination,' and they got the just reward today because they got two quality goals."
On Kris Boyd's performance:
"I think Kris Boyd had a great finish coming across the six. That's what Kris Boyd does. I've seen him do it 150, 170 times in his career at the top level. And I've said time and time again if you give him chances, he puts the ball in the back of the net. There's been a lot of harsh criticism directed toward all of us here. You could see a little bit of change in his mentality this week about wanting to score, and really wanting to put the ball at the back of the net. And there's nothing better than scoring a goal down at that end against your biggest rival, and then celebrating with the fans down there."
Timbers forward Kris Boyd
On what the win means:
"Time will tell how we go forward. We came into the game knowing that we needed to get the three points, that was the most important thing. To get the fans back on our side, to get everybody off our backs and prove to people that we can play. We grinded out a great result and we look forward to Colorado next week. We'll get a good week's training in us. The [Seattle] game is over with now. The hard work starts and preparation for next week now."
On atmosphere of Portland-Seattle match:
"It was good. It was great to be involved. Today, we got the three points, and it sets up the game. It's a far better atmosphere, it's a far better environment to play in when you're winning the game."
On playing with a 2-0 lead:
"It was obviously great that, in terms of we got off to a great start in the first half. But we knew if we didn't come out in the second half and start properly, and defend from the front as a team, it was going to be a difficult 45 minutes again. We lost that goal, and towards the end maybe we were hanging on a bit, but we had chances to finish it in the second half. We never took them, but it's a great three points and we're looking forward to Colorado next week."
On scoring his goal:
"I can just remember the ball going down the left hand side, and a great ball in from Steven [Smith]. It's the first time in a long, long time that I found myself with that amount of space in the box. I managed to get on the end of it, and put it in the back of the net and give us a lead. And it was important."
Timbers defender David Horst
On his first MLS goal:
"I got the taste in the first header that hit the crossbar, and Franck put the ball in the exact same spot again. It was an unbelievable corner, and I headed it down this time, instead of up. It worked out the second time. It felt pretty good, especially in this rivalry.
I'll never forget it. It's got to be one of the greatest moments of my life. To score against Seattle, in front of all these people, especially with the way we'd been playing lately. It's great to get a win for us, and the organization. I couldn't be more proud of the team today."
On whether the win will lead to momentum:
"Last year, we had that turning point with LA, where we went on a little run. Hopefully that's what today is. It's a turning point, and we can get a bunch of games under our belt, gain some points and get back into the playoff race."
Timbers forward Mike Fucito
On facing his former team (Seattle):
"It was good. It was a little weird, but I like the dark green uniform. I like the city, so it's been good so far. I like it."
On playing with a lead:
"It was good. To be able to keep it, too, I think that's a whole other thing. Coming out, and starting games well. I think that was key, especially in a game like this, where there's a lot of nerves and energy."
On holding the lead:
"I think it just shows our toughness and our mentality, and how we're a little bit stronger and able to finish off games, because that's key. That's going to happen. I thought it was a good performance overall and definitely something to build on."
Seattle Sounders FC Quotes
Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid
Thoughts on match:
"We made a few mistakes in the first half with them scoring the goal on a set piece and giving away the post goal to Horst. The marking was bad on Boyd's goal -- he was behind the ball, so he's not offside -- and we put ourselves in a hole. It's tough; the last seven games we've played out of the hole every time and when you're constantly playing from behind, it makes it difficult."
Thoughts on teams slow start:
"It's definitely not good enough. One of the things causing it is we've had too many guys injured. There's players who've logged a lot of minutes, but mentally I don't think they're that sharp. We are getting too many red cards and as a result the options become limited. On the same token we haven't responded well in terms of our demeanor. We shouldn't be losing our composure towards the end of the game and that's something we have to seriously talk about and make sure we're better at."
Thoughts of coming back:
"We talked about it at half time, we said ‘get the goal back and not stop.' Once we got the goal, Portland really didn't have any other chance than [Mike] Fucito's chance. The few other close encounters where we were pushed up put a little worry, but overall they didn't really have the chances again. The quality of our set pieces and cohesion were not good enough. Our guys have to think the same, there's too many guys out there thinking different."
On the feeling in the locker room:
"I don't feel good after these last few games, and the locker room needs to decide which Seattle Sounders they are, the ones who played the first couple games or the ones who have been playing the most recent set of games. They are at the crossroads at which team they are."
"Anytime you get knocked down like we have you lose a little bit of that swagger, and maybe that's what they are feeling."
Sounders FC forward Fredy Montero
Thoughts on the game:
"Today wasn't that great of a day for me, things went wrong towards the end and they got out of control to the point where I had to leave."
Thoughts on how turnaround the winless stretch:
"We have to look for victory and get out of this bad slump we are in. Coach wants us to excel and I want us to excel."
On if the length of the winless run comes as a surprise:
"No, I see things like this coming sometimes. Of course it's longer than I wanted, but we will work to fix it."
Sounders FC forward Eddie Johnson
On the result against Portland:
"This was a typical rivalry game. I was fortunate to play in a few in my career in Europe. The manger said before the game to not get caught up in the emotion of the game. I thought we had to show the winning mentality and start from a goal up, not two goals down. Seems the last five games we've had to dig ourselves out of a hole. In this league, you can't do that and going down two goals, it's difficult to get back, especially playing Portland here with their fans.
On heading into the second half down two goals:
"We just had to wake up, for whatever the reason is we keep giving up goals in the first half. In modern football today it doesn't matter what league you're in, they keep getting harder and harder. In a derby game like this you have to find a way to comeback and tonight that didn't happen."
On the club's progress in recent weeks:
"Our manager is a good motivator, when things are going difficult he always told us we have to keep doing what we know and keep making these chances. When you have a manager like that you find ways to benefit yourself as well as help the team. We are creating the chances as a team, but we were unfortunate tonight, but hopefully we can make things right on Tuesday."
Thoughts on the Cascadia rivalry:
"It's everything you can dream of as a kid. I didn't realize how big it was until today. I played in Europe for the past three years and played in some big stadiums there, but this is as big as it gets here. It's fun, we knew it was going to be a physical game and consisted of a lot of emotion. Once again we dug ourselves in a hole and when you have 20,000 fans behind the home team it's hard to come back."
Thoughts on the next game:
"We just have to turn things around and take what we know into our match with San Jose. We have to try and take the positives out of this game with our chances. We can't keep putting ourselves into these positions. We're still learning as a team with the new faces. We're going to get better if we keep making these chances. Yeah we haven't won in six or seven games, but we're making chances for ourselves and that's a good sign."