It seems weird to claim that a team has peaked so early in the year, but I'm going to call it here. Neither the Timbers or the Sounders will have a more entertaining 90 minutes on the pitch than what transpired on Saturday afternoon in Portland.
Everything seemed to go swimmingly for the Sounders right off the bat with Kenny Cooper scoring against his old club at the three minute mark. Portland would fire back with two quick goals and the score sat at 2-1 with just around 75 more minutes to play. Dempsey picked up the first of more goals to come and the two teams headed into halftime with a 2-2- score, more reminiscent of what the final score should be.
Then there was the second half. The second half is impossible to explain, just know that Portland scored two goals in under two minutes to go up 4-2 and seemingly take complete control of the game. But this was no normal game. This was a derby game, between two teams that hate each other. Therefore, the game must continue in a fantastic fashion. Clint Dempsey and the Sounders countered late in the game, with Dempsey filling out two more goals in two minutes (one off of a penalty kick) for the fifth hat trick in Sounders history.
The eight combined goals was the most scored between the two teams. The Timbers one-minute, 33-second span between goals in the second half set a new MLS-club record for shortest span between consecutive goals. If you didn't watch this game, for whatever reason seemed justifiable at the time, quit reading and find a way to watch it. It is worth it despite knowing the final outcome.
- With the result against Sounders FC, the Timbers extended their regular-season, home unbeaten streak to 18 matches dating back to April 6, 2013.
- Saturday's match marked the 85th meeting in the rivalry between the Timbers and Sounders dating back to 1975.
- Saturday's match was the 54th consecutive sellout at Providence Park since 2011.
- As a result of the 4-4 draw, the Timbers improve to 4-3-4 against Sounders FC in the all-time MLS series. Portland is unbeaten in four straight games against Seattle in all competitions.
- The Timbers are unbeaten in their last five home games against Sounders FC (3-0-2), and have not lost to their Cascadia rivals at Providence Park since the 2011 campaign.
- The eight combined goals between the Timbers and Sounders FC ties the most scored between two clubs in the Timbers MLS history. Portland and LA Galaxy combined for eight goals on July 14, 2012, at Providence Park.
- Portland's four goals on Saturday were the most scored against Seattle as MLS rivals (since 2011). The last time the Timbers tallied four goals against the Sounders was July 17, 2004, in a 4-3 victory in overtime, with midfielder Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar providing the decisive goal in the 110th minute.
- Saturday marked the fourth time in Timbers MLS history in which the club scored four or more goals in a single game.
SEA: Cooper (Anibaba, Pineda), 3
POR: Chara, 9
POR: Valeri (Harrington), 14
SEA: Dempsey (Martins, Alonso), 24
POR: Chara (Alhassan), 55
POR: Urruti, 57
SEA: Dempsey, 85
SEA: Dempsey (penalty kick), 87
SEA: Azira (Caution), 5
SEA: Pineda (Caution), 29
POR: Kah (Caution), 33
POR: Johnson (Caution), 35
POR: Chara (Caution), 50
POR: Paparatto (Caution), 66
SEA: Yedlin (Caution), 70
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Weber, D Powell, D Kah, D Paparatto, D Jewsbury, M Johnson © (Zakuani, 89), M Valeri, M Chara, F Alhassan, F Urruti (Piquionne, 84), F Nagbe (Zemanski, 85)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Gleeson, D Danso, D Jewsbury, F Fernández
TOTAL SHOTS: 19 (Urruti, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Chara, 2); FOULS: 21 (Urruti, 6); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 4
SEA: GK Frei, D Anibaba, D Marshall, D Yedlin, D González, M Alonso, M Pineda, M Azira (Pappa, 68), F Cooper (Neagle, 60), F Dempsey ©, Martins
Substitutes Not Used: GK Hahnemann, D Scott, D Remick, F Barrett, F Parsemain
TOTAL SHOTS: 22 (Dempsey, 8); SHOTS ON GOAL: 8 (Dempsey, 5); FOULS: 17 (Azira, 4); OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 2
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Assistant Referees: Kermit Quisenberry, Paul Scott
4th Official: Younes Marrakchi
Time of Game: 1:53
Weather: Cloudy, 52 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial
Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid
Initial thoughts on the match:
"Exciting. Great game to be a fan. Not a great game to be a coach, because it's hard on your heart. Fantastic game for our fans, for their fans, for national TV. I think it was a great advert for soccer."
On Clint Dempsey's performance:
"He stepped up and played well. You know Evans and [Dempsey] are our two captains. He stepped up into the breach today. Obviously, a good first goal in the first half. He was unlucky on the one that he turned and spun the guy. Should have had maybe an assist on [Obafemi Martins]'s header, but that went wide. But he stepped up, as our team did. We were down 2-1 and we came back and we were down 4-2 and we came back. So that speaks well on our team.
"We wanted to tuck him inside a little bit from there and we played sort of more of our three midfielders and spread them out a little bit. They were getting a little bit of joy on the flanks, creating some 2v1s. So when we brought Neagle in at that point, when we were down 4-2, we went more back into a 4-2-3-1 with Clint [Dempsey] centrally under [Martins] and Neagle and later Pappa pushing on the wings and that seemed to suit us in this particular game better."
On conceding four goals:
"You're never happy when give up four goals, but I think some of the goals that we gave up were individual mistakes. Obviously, a tremendous shot by Chara, a tremendous shot by Urruti. We didn't step up and close the space on Chara's shot and Urruti's, we lose the ball, Anibaba loses the ball. He thinks maybe it's a foul; it wasn't. So the guy comes through on that. Another one, I think the first goal, we gave the ball away in midfield as well to them. We have to eliminate those turnovers in bad parts of the field, so we don't give away opportunities like that. When you score four on the road, you should come away with a win, but I'm sure they feel when you score four at home, you should have a win as well."
"I'm excited about the fact that we talked in the offseason about our character and we want to establish the character of our team. I'm excited about the character of our team that showed through today. You're down 4-2 with 10 minutes to go, eight minutes to go and most people are saying ‘this one's over.' We come back and make it 4-4 and we could have made it 5-4. You look at Anibaba's shot was going in, hit [Martins] leg and went wide. [Martins]'s header at the back post. You have the one where [Martins] deflects it and just deflects it wide. You had [Andrew] Weber make two unbelievable saves: one on Marshall's header and one on Cooper's shot in the first half. When you add that all up, there's a lot of goals we could have had."
On his team's response to allowing two quick goals:
"We showed the character to come back and make it 2-2 before the half was over. It's something we've been talking about, to not lose faith in what we're trying to do and maintain it and keep fighting for each other and good things will happen. I think the team showed that a couple of times today."
On his player's performances:
"Everybody sees goals. [Dempsey] stepped up with three goals. [Martins] was a little unlucky, but still had two assists today, so he stepped up well there. I thought as well, Lamar Neagle came in and had a presence off the bench. I know he was disappointed today in not starting, the first game he didn't start, but he made a real big impact coming off the bench for us. DeAndre Yedlin stepped up his game today as well, where he'd been playing not, sometimes, aggressive enough for me. Today he was a lot more aggressive, especially in the second half and as a result of a good, aggressive run he drew the penalty kick."
Thoughts on how wide open the game was:
"It's just that kind of game. When you look at the game, you'd say ‘[Portland] probably had a little more of the ball than we did,' but at the end of the day we had more possession than [Portland] did. It was basically 50-50. It's just the way they play. They try to get to the flanks. We play our game, right now, maybe a little more centrally. Both teams found opportunities and it was an open game because of the fact, I think, that there were some defensive mistakes on both sides of the ball, their side and our side. That lead to the openness as well. Execution is always important. When you get chances, you have to finish them. For a while I was ruing that we had some good chances that we didn't finish. At the end of the day, defensive execution is important as well."
Sounders FC midfielder Clint Dempsey
Thoughts on the match:
"It was good. We started off well and then they took the game to us, 2-1. We got back into the game and then in the second half, conceded two, obviously, and that was frustrating. Had a mountain to climb to try and get back into the game. Credit to our team, we showed a lot of character fighting to get a point away from home against our rivals, an important point. I think it's a building block and something that will give us a boost going into our next game."
On scoring a hat-trick against the Timbers:
"Always feels good to score goals. A little bit sweeter to score against your rivals. But, like I said, at the same time, the most important thing is points. We got a point today and we need to make sure we win our games at home. Make it a fortress and that we're getting those three points that we need because we need to make sure we push up the table. We have the quality in ourselves, that's where we should be."
On the discussion with Leonardo Gonzalez before the penalty kick:
"He was feeling confident to take it. I was feeling confident to take it. Also, scoring two goals in the game, I was feeling like I was in a little bit of a rhythm. Credit to him for giving me the opportunity to go with that rhythm and build upon that confidence and get that hat trick. Maybe after the game I'll get him a soda-pop."
On Seattle's response to being down 4-2:
"I think it helped us a little bit with the change in the formation to a 4-4-2. I thought Lamar [Neagle] came on and created some problems and went at the defenders and made them have to make decisions, got some good crosses in. I thought [Marco] Pappa also had a little bit of a spark. Sometimes you just have to mix things up a bit when things are not going your way, but like I said we're going to work on our formations. Whether it's a 4-3-3, a 4-2-3-1, 4-4-2 and figure out what's best for us moving forward."
On whether this was his best performance for Seattle:
"You always feel good when you're contributing, scoring goals or getting assists. I'm in a good rhythm at the moment and it's about continuing that form."
On his connection with Obafemi Martins:
"[Martins] had two assists today. I thought he played well. We need to do a better job of getting him on the ball because he has a lot of skill, a lot of vision and he can create things. Talking with [Martins] we know that we have to play well for this team to do well also, so it's important to get each other on the ball and combine well and to get that partnership, that relationship of understanding where each other are on the field and that's building."
On what coming from behind for the draw says about the team:
"It says that we don't give up. We kept fighting to the end. I think we've always showed that, even if you look at the last playoff game here, when we were down by three goals. We never give up. We keep fighting. We keep pushing and that point today felt like more than a point. It almost felt kind of like a win and it's a little bit of a momentum builder going into next week."
On getting motivated to play the Timbers:
"You don't need motivation playing against your rivals. It's a big game for both teams. Both fans want their team to perform well. I think our fans appreciated that character that we showed in fighting back and saving face in terms of getting a point. Especially coming from two goals behind with a mountain to climb, but we're going to keep building upon this and make sure we're ready for next week."
Sounders FC defender Chad Marshall
General thoughts on the game:
"I'm frustrated right now for sure. Definitely going to get back this week and look at video and look at how we can improve because we can't give up four goals a game."
On the Timbers performance:
"They're a good team. They're always going to get up for this game. When they're feeling it, they're very good offensively. You saw that. They punished us on our mistakes. I can't wait for the next one."
On defending against an interchanging offense:
"It's a challenge. Like I said, they have good players. They interchange well, which is what makes them good. Guys from the back will come to the front. They'll make late runs so you always have to be aware and accountable at all times or else they'll punish you like they did today."
Sounders FC forward Kenny Cooper
On his goal:
"Well any goal is valuable and there were a lot of them today. The boys did so great to fight back to the very end. It even looked like we maybe could have won it. I think we can take a lot of confidence from this game and look to push forward in a really positive way."