PORTLAND — For about 50 minutes, the Seattle Sounders played about as well as they had all year. They had opened the scoring with a well-worked goal from Cristian Roldan in the 22nd minute and then added another with an even better goal off the foot of Raúl Ruidíaz right after halftime.
But as you’d expect, the Portland Timbers were committed to making the Sounders work for their first win in nearly a month. They pulled one back on a somewhat fluky goal in the 54th minute and spent the better part of the next 40 minutes doing everything but score a goal.
In the end, the Sounders emerged with a 2-1 win that not only moved them into second in the Western Conference, but allowed them to retain the Cascadia Cup. It was the first time since 2006-07 that the Sounders had won the Cup in consecutive years and the first time in the MLS era that they’d clinched it in Portland.
- The match opened with Sounders and Timbers players displaying anti-racist/anti-fascist banners in a sign of solidarity with protesting supporters, who had no organized cheering or singing for the first 33 minutes.
- The first real cheers of the match came from Sounders fans, who definitely celebrated Roldan’s 22nd minute goal. The sequence started with Nicolás Lodeiro finding Jordan Morris in space on the left wing. Morris was able to run at Zarek Valentin, beating him with a quick dribble. He then charged into the box before sending in a low cross to Roldan. Although his shot was saved, Ruidíaz was first to the rebound and tapped it back to Roldan, who finished easily.
- At the stroke of 33:00, the two supporters’ sections finally erupted. Both sections prominently featured large Iron Front flags.
- Morris picked up where he left off as soon as the second half started. Again isolated on the wing, Morris beat Valentin with a quick dribble to get to the endline and then found Ruidiaz wide open about 8 yards out. Ruidiaz finished easily for his 10th goal of the season and his fifth in five career games against the Timbers.
- The Timbers answered a few minutes later after Sebastian Blanco drew a foul at the top of the box. Diego Valeri hit a low free kick that deflected off the wall and past Stefan Frei.
- The Timbers had a great look at an equalizer a few minutes later when Valeri ripped a shot that forced Frei into a diving save. The Timbers were first to the rebound Cristhian Paredes ended up getting a solid look at a header that he sent wide.
- The Timbers appeared to have the equalizer in the 80th minute when Bryan Fernandez finished off a cross, but it was waved off for offside.
- Blanco nearly equalized again at 90+5, but a back post header went just high.
Boy, they needed that: It’s probably a stretch to call this a literal must-win, but the Sounders absolutely needed a positive performance. That’s exactly what they got. They played the first half about as perfectly as they could, taking advantage of the game’s biggest chance. The second half started even better, with Morris absolutely roasting Valentin before setting up Ruidiaz for a classy finish. The Sounders didn’t generate much after that, but the defense looked as composed as they have for a long time and did a good job of limiting Portland’s chances.
Jmo came to play: It’s been an interesting year for Morris, who opened the season about as hot as could be and slowly cooled off. But ever since returning from the Gold Cup has shown a side of his game he never had before. Even though he didn’t get an assist, it was his cross on the first goal that set up the whole thing. He made an even better play on the second goal, making a solid move around Valentin before spotting Ruidiaz out of the corner of his eye and delivering a perfect pass. Morris now has three goals and four assists in his last eight games and appears to be coming into his own.
The Cup runneth over: The Cascadia Cup is probably the lesser of the trophies that the Sounders play for every year, but this one has to feel special. After blowing a chance to clinch it in the last meeting between these two teams, the Sounders won it in arguably an even more satisfying way. This is actually the second straight time the Sounders have won a regular-season game in Portland, which is also a first in the MLS era. The drive back to Seattle will feel especially gratifying.
Did you see that?!?!
No extra words needed.
He said what?!?!
Schmetzer, following the media scrum says, “excuse me, my beer is waiting for me.”— Sounder At Heart (@sounderatheart) August 24, 2019
One stat to tell the tale
45 — The Timbers sent in 45 crosses, which seems like a ton! It’s actually 10 more than the Sounders had in the teams’ first meeting, which also seemed like a ton!
Man of the Match
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