What started as an enthralling tie between the Sounders and Timbers ultimately devolved into chaos. The Seattle Sounders finished the match with seven men, losing three to red cards -- including two in extra time -- and another to injury. The Sounders ultimately fell 3-1, losing in extra time to the Portland Timbers on Tuesday in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup.
The opening 20 minutes were a frantic and sloppy affair from both sides as they both attacked quickly. While Portland forced the game through Diego Valeri before shuttling it out wide to attack the Sounders flanks, the Sounders countered with their own plan of sending long balls into Obafemi Martins and Cristian Roldan to transition play quickly between the Timbers lines.
After the initial exchanges the match settled into a holding pattern as the Sounders adapted to compensate for Diego Valeri cutting the line of supply into the Argentine. On the Sounders side of things Andy Rose drove the attack through the midfield with Portland's Jack Jewsbury and George Fochive content to sit deep in the Portland half. Combined with Diego Valeri's insistence on refusing to play defense gave the Sounders time and space to develop their attacks through the middle.
Ultimately neither side found any time or space around the goal box and both sides went in the half nearly perfectly even.
At halftime, the Sounders changed kits going from their Pitch Black to the Olympic White. That stark color change was nowhere near as stark as the explosion in play that would follow. It was shortly after that change that the game finally featured it's first good chance -- and first shot on goal . In rapid transition, the Timbers left back Jorge Villafana found space on the wing to whip in a looping cross that Diego Valeri was able to tap home to give Portland the lead.
Following the Portland goal, the Sounders kicked into action. Just a minute later, a long pass from the backline into Obafemi Martins was controlled in the box before Martins got an inch of space to curl an amazing shot that left Portland keeper Adam Kwarasey sprawling to save the shot. The ball rebounded to the feet of Lamar Neagle who blasted the ball low drawing another save from the Portland keeper. Kwarasey again saved Portland shortly before the 55th minute after a pin-point cross from Neagle right flank was struck mid-air by Aaron Kovar.
The Sounders lost that momentum just before the 70th minute, when Brad Evans blatantly pulled back Jorge Villafana. It was Evans' second yellow card of the evening and it left the Sounders to develop a new game plan on the fly. The Sounders immediately made two changes putting on Clint Dempsey and Dylan Remick.
Portland moved into a relaxed style of play, attempting to keep possession and maintaining control of the match. The Sounders, in contrast, went for the jugular at every moment and were rewarded on a corner from Lamar Neagle when Adam Kwarasey mistimed his leaping punch and Martins coolly tapped home at the far post to level the scoreline.
As time wound down the Sounders suffered another blow as just moments after making their third and final substitution to introduce Tyrone Mears, Martins found himself stretchered off after an accidental collision with Darlington Nagbe, before ultimately being taken away to the locker room. Down two men, the Sounders faced six difficult minutes to get to stoppage time.
The start of extra time was one-way traffic as the Timbers hammered at the Sounders goal. Only some fantastic saves from Troy Perkins kept the Timbers off the scoreline early, but in the 100th minute Rodney Wallace pounced on a caroming ball in the box to give the Timbers the 2-1 lead.
Things went from bad to worse for the Sounders in the second half of extra time when Micheal Azira -- seemingly accidentally -- elbowed Maxi Urruti and received a straight red card. Outraged, the Sounders got in the referee's face who immediately red carded Dempsey who promptly ripped up the red card on the field.
The last 10 minutes of the game dissolved into pure chaos as Portland scored their third, fans began throwing objects onto the pitch and the match was halted, while Portland just passed the ball around lazily waiting for the final whistle at 120 minutes.
It was a seemingly fitting way for the Sounders' dominating run of 21 unbeaten matches in the U.S. Open Cup at Starfire to come to an end.
- The second half took the frenetic, sloppy nature of the opening of the first half and turned it up to 11 and added control. The Sounders aggressively began pushing the game down the left flank with Martins and Kovar exploiting the space between Noberto Paparatto and substitute Taylor Peay to open up spaces in the Portland defense. Both Caleb Porter and Sigi Schmid contentedly pushed their fullbacks aggressively in attack opening up space for both teams going forward. However, with the removal of Diego Valeri in the 60th minute for the Timbers their ability to transition wide from Darlington Nagbe back into the middle was blunted and the Timbers lost much of their attacking ability
- The loss of Brad Evans to a double yellow saw the Sounders shift to a narrow plan of attack. It was designed to keep the game in the middle where the Sounders could maintain some sort of numerical control and leave Remick and Fisher to run up and down the flanks with abandon while Dempsey, Martins and Neagle could find the space for the equalizer Seattle needed.