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Sounders vs Timbers, recap: Agony of defeat

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The Sounders suffer a 2-0 loss at home to Portland.

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

SEATTLE — Some days nothing seems to go right. Simple things go completely wrong, others have just a tinge of bad luck. That certainly seemed to be the case on Sunday night as the Seattle Sounders lost 2-0 to the visiting Portland Timbers. The Sounders created plenty of chances, and even did a good job of limiting how many chances Portland created, but the Timbers were able to capitalize on two frustrating errors by Yeimar Gómez Andrade and Stefan Cleveland, and a combination of poor luck and good goalkeeping kept the Sounders from finding an answer.

While the Sounders created chances, their overall performance was quite poor for significant stretches of the game. Seattle struggled to connect passes, and players seemed to show an uncharacteristic lack of familiarity. Coming off of an exceptional three games away from home, this loss feels like quite the letdown. To add to the frustration, Lumen Field was the fullest it’s been since Seattle hosted the 2019 MLS Cup Final, and the stadium played host to an OL Reign 2-1 win over the Portland Thorns earlier in the day with over 27,000 in attendance to make history and set an NWSL record.

The Sounders have just under two weeks to work out the kinks and start to integrate new signing Léo Chú before they host Minnesota United on Sept. 11. For now, the Sounders are still first in the Western Conference.

Key moments

6’ — Dairon Asprilla unleashes a shot that rattles the crossbar, but that’s all it does as the Timbers apply pressure.

9’ — Eryk Williamson goes down after his feet catch in the turf as he attempts to change direction, and he has to be stretchered to the tunnel.

20’ — The first real chance of the night for the Sounders comes from a cross by Alex Roldan which falls to Brad Smith, but his shot misses high and wide.

34’ — A bit of chaos inside the Seattle penalty area, but ultimately Yeimar Gómez Andrade comes away with the ball and clears the danger.

53’ — João Paulo first-times one from the top of the box after some sweet passing by the Roldans, but his shot comes off the crossbar.

58’ — A disastrous back-pass from Gómez Andrade leaves Stefan Cleveland with no good choices to make as Blanco finishes off a pass from Mora into an empty net to give Portland the lead. 0-1

61’ — Shane O’Neill nearly ties it up, but his header is the latest shot off the post. The Sounders followed it up with two more incredibly close looks, but Portland’s lead remains.

86’ — The latest in a long line of near misses for the Sounders comes as Raúl Ruidíaz rips off a shot from outside the box that Steve Clark dives to palm away from the goal.

90’ +4 — Stefan Cleveland comes out to win a ball in the air, but he misjudges the bounce and his header is unconvincing, and eventually Mora is able to gain control and chip the goalkeeper to double Portland’s lead. 0-2

Quick thoughts

Shaking the rust off of Lodeiro: This was Nico Lodeiro’s fifth appearance and first 90-minute performance since returning from the injury that kept him off the field for three months. Lodeiro showed flashes of his normal self, but it’s hard not to notice that he’s clearly not back to 100% yet. At times it looked like he was having to think about what he was going to do with the ball rather than moving on instinct, and his passing wasn’t as incisive as we’ve come to expect. He’ll probably get there — he’s only played 248 minutes since coming back — but it’s also worth noting that he’s 32, isn’t getting any younger, and has played over 27,000 minutes in his career. His peak just might not be as high as it once was.

Depth: what is it good for? It’s probably fair to say that the Sounders are one of the deepest teams in the league, if not the deepest team. With the team looking for a goal and several players struggling, Head Coach Brian Schmetzer waited until the 73rd minute to make any subs. With no game for over a week it makes sense to get as much as you can out of your starters, but fresh legs and the skillsets of Jimmy Medranda and Will Bruin, to name just a couple of options on the bench, would have been useful much earlier. It’s just one game, and Schmetzer’s used his bench well previously, but this one stings.

Cascadia weirdness: The Sounders won the season series thanks to two wins earlier in the season down at Providence Park, but the loss tonight continues a strange trend. You have to go back to May 27, 2017 to find Seattle’s last regular-season win at home against their fiercest rivals. They’ve had five such wins at Providence Park in that time. It almost certainly doesn’t mean anything, but that won’t make anyone feel better about it. For now it’s just an oddity.

Did you see that?!?

Not many highlight from this one.

He said what?!?

It gets better.

One stat to tell the tale

6 — The Sounders are winless in their last six regular season home games against Portland.