SEATTLE — For the fourth straight time, the Portland Timbers came to Seattle and got the result they needed. In a sense, the 2-1 loss was less costly than some of the previous encounters. In another sense, though, it was perhaps the most unexpected.
The Sounders came into the meeting the team with more rest, riding a 13-game home unbeaten streak and as healthy as they had been all year. None of that mattered as they wasted chances both early and often and, most painfully, surrendered the deciding goal about a minute after scoring the equalizer.
There is still plenty of time to recover, but the Sounders were dealt a serious blow to their egos if not their longterm prospects.
- Ruidiaz nearly got the Sounders off to a blazing start when Nicolas Lodeiro created a turnover that put the striker in on goal. But Ruidiaz was unable to get a good angle and had his shot saved.
- Julio Cascante nearly got the Timbers on the board in the 18th minute when his header off a Diego Valeri corner forced Stefan Frei into a sprawling save. The rebound came right out to Jeremy Ebobisse, but he had almost no time to react and put his shot wide.
- Just a few minutes later, the Sounders weren’t so lucky. Right back Jorge Moreira made a nice move on the wing to open up space near the edge of the penalty area and fired off a shot that Frei deflected off the crossbar. The rebound came right to Brian Fernandez who was able to hit it first time into an empty net.
- The Sounders nearly struck back almost immediately. Jordan Morris pulled a similar move on the opposite side. Instead of shooting, though, he cut it back and was taken down. With no whistle blown, he got back up and put in a cross that found Ruidiaz in front of goal, but the pass seemed to wrong foot him and he shot high from about four yards out.
- Lodeiro had the Sounders knocking on the door just a few minutes later when he created a turnover deep in the Timbers end and worked himself free along the endline. But his pass through the box just narrowly missed Ruidiaz.
- The Timbers were the first team to create danger in the second half, getting out on a counter-attack through Fernandez. He was able to get free on the endline and sent in a cross that deflected off a couple Timbers, but ultimately went out for a goal kick.
- The game took a rather dramatic turn around the 50th minute. First, Ruidíaz equalized after running onto a seemingly innocuous ball over the top from Román Torres that Julio Cascante misplayed. Ruidíaz was able to beat both Larrys Mabiala and goalkeeper Steve Clark to the ball, then rounding the goalkeeper and finishing into an empty net.
- That score stood for less than a minute, as the Timbers were able to get out on a corner almost immediately and re-took the lead through another Fernandez goal. The Sounders were in seemingly good position to defend it, but Sebastian Blanco’s cross allowed Fernandez to split the Sounders’ centerbacks and his shot managed to squeeze under Frei.
- Ruidiaz came closer to equalizing in the 79th minute when he wasn’t able to get enough of Lodeiro’s cross to redirect it onto goal. Instead, the deflection slid wide.
- Deep into stoppage time, Torres was hit with a stray elbow at the edge of penalty area but after a brief review no further action was deemed worthy.
- Tempers flared after the final whistle, which came after more than 10 minutes of stoppage time. Torres and Clark seemed the most heated in the various exchanges, with the defender apparently even waiting for the goalkeeper near the entrance of the Timbers’ locker room.
Better finishing: The Sounders tied a season-high with 14 shots from inside the penalty area. Those shots came early and often, with Ruidiaz getting a golden opportunity in the 1st minute and Torres latching onto a header in the box in the 96th minute. They weren’t all high quality chances, but a lot of them were. Perhaps more than ever before, this game seemed to showcase how badly the Sounders could use another attacking option off the bench.
Showing emotion when it matters: Frei was clearly frustrated in his postgame comments, but at least some of that seemed aimed at some of his teammates. Without naming names, he suggested that the Sounders needed to show more fight and emotion before the final whistle, rather than letting loose in the postgame.
The Cascadia Cup got a lot tougher to retain: It might not be the most important facet of this loss, but the Sounders wasted a golden opportunity to retain their most important rivalry trophy. Now, the Aug. 23 rematch at Providence Park will likely decide the winner. There’s a scenario where a tie in that game could result in a three-way tie for the Cascadia Cup, but let’s not get into that...
Did you see that?!?
The Sounders didn’t do themselves any favor in many respects, but this is a red card every day of the week.
This was only a yellow card lmao pic.twitter.com/IOuhAlwbMu— Sounder At Heart (@sounderatheart) July 22, 2019
He said what?!?
“I tried to move him away, play a little bit of a peacekeeper. Told him ‘Good job, good game, congrats and stay humble.’ He thought he was being humble and was not too pleased about me saying he should be humble. But I saw him taunt Román there at the end and that stuff doesn’t go unnoticed.” - Stefan Frei on the postgame fracas
One stat to tell the tale
35 — The Sounders pumped in 35 crosses. That’s. Too. Many.
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