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Sounders at Timbers, recap: Cascadia collapse

Sounders drop a 2-1 result on the road to Timbers.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Portland Timbers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in a long time the home team has won a game between the Seattle Sounders and the Portland Timbers. It seemed like this game might be the moment that the Sounders start to turn things around when Yeimar gave the team an early lead, but Portland claimed a 2-1 win with goals on either side of halftime.

First, a decidedly questionable penalty was called on Yeimar in the 41st minute when Eryk Williamson dove into him as the defender tried to move out of his way. Dairon Asprilla, who comes to life exclusively in games against Seattle, stepped up to the spot and sent Stefan Frei the wrong way as he slotted it home to level the score.

Then in the 51st minute Seattle’s defense fell asleep on a free kick leaving Asprilla and Sebastián Blanco both unmarked at either post, allowing Blanco to put away Asprilla’s cross and take the lead.

Seattle had a handful of chances to get back into the game, but the ball just wasn’t falling for them. Jackson Ragen put a header off the underside of the bar, but the bounce kept it out of the goal. Fredy Montaro took a hand to the neck from Williamson and went down in the box, but no penalty was called.

The Sounders didn’t do much to help themselves, either. There were cheap and easy giveaways from everyone, players lost their marks or failed to pick them up in the first place, and faced with a hill to climb the team seemed to turn to individual efforts rather than a collective comeback to try to get something out of the game. The 2-1 scoreline is almost flattering, as Portland outshot Seattle 18-9, with 8 of those 9 Seattle shots coming in the second half and 7 of them coming after Portland took the lead. The Sounders took 1 shot between taking a lead in the 8th minute and falling behind in the 51st. Whatever ghosts are haunting the team this summer, there might not be enough time to exorcise them before the season ends.

Key moments

8’ — The Sounders take the lead from a corner! Yeimar jumps highest at the far post to head home a looping cross from Alex Roldan off of a short corner routine. 1-0 Sounders!

14’ — Free kick specialist Bill Tuiloma lines up a shot from outside the box and hits it at the top near corner, but Stefan Frei reads it and makes a leaping save.

34’ — Dairon Asprilla heads a cross back towards Yimmi Chara, who heads it at goal from near the penalty spot, but it’s right at Frei who catches it.

41’ — Eryk Williamson dives to win a penalty. Dairon Asprilla steps up and knocks it home from the spot. 1-1

44’ — Nouhou attempts a completely unnecessary spin move and gives the ball away at the top of the box, setting up a shot from Asprilla that Frei just tips wide of the goal.

51’ — Asprilla gets through at the back post unmarked on a free kick and hits the ball back across goal for Sebastián Blanco to hit home. Timbers lead. 2-1

80’ — Nouhou hits a solid cross into the box that Jordan Morris dives onto, but the header is just wide of the goal.

85’ — Jackson Ragen heads an Alex Roldan cross off the crossbar, but the ball never crosses the goal line.

Quick thoughts

When the well runs dry: I’m usually a “hope springs eternal” sort of person. I don’t know, the 1995 Mariners made me a sports fan, I watched the 2016 season from start to finish, I just always have this unflinching part of my brain that thinks that things could turn out fine. Sure, I have to choose to listen to that part more actively sometimes than others, but it’s always there. This season’s really putting that part of me to the test as injuries pile up only to be surpassed by the pile of losses and disappointing performances. The Sounders could still turn it around and make a run to the playoffs, there’s still plenty of talent on a thinned-out roster, but time’s running out and that’s looking less and less likely. Whatever happens over the next six weeks or so, with next season comes a new well, and we’ll just have to wait and see how deep that one is.

Give as good as you get: I was intrigued and excited in the opening 15 minutes or so by how the Sounders were approaching the game. Not from any formational approach or style or system standpoint, but because they appeared to be engaging in a little bit of the dark arts. Love it or hate it, diving or embellishment, staying on the ground a little longer after you’ve been fouled, general “shit-housery” are all a part of the game as much as hard tackles and strong challenges, and it’s up to the referee to decide where to draw the line. To start the game Seattle was showing a bit more willing to participate than usual, and it was clearly getting under Portland’s skin. But once the Timbers started to dish it back Seattle seemed thrown for a loop. This Sounders team has been hardened to the point of brittleness, and it doesn’t take much to break them.

Who do you want to influence a game? The number of touches a player has in a given game aren’t the sole factor in how much of an impact they have, or whether or not they influence a game. Raúl Ruidíaz can completely change a game with a handful of touches, the same is largely true for Jordan Morris. It can be true for anyone that only one moment, one touch can be the difference in a game, but some players thrive when they’ve got their hands in every part of their team’s play. Nico Lodeiro is one of those players, and so is Albert Rusnák. Even Danny Leyva is at his best when he’s heavily involved in possession like he was against the Galaxy. Against Portland, Lodeiro had an astonishing 98 touches, but Leyva and Rusnák had a measly 29 and 31 touches, respectively. That put them both in the bottom half for the team, and with less than half of either’s total against the Galaxy. Portland cut them out of the game and forced Seattle to depend on Lodeiro to perform a miracle or Nouhou to unlock the defense. That’s not going to work.

Did you see that?!?

He said what?!?

One stat to tell the tale

1 — This marks the 1st time either Portland or Seattle have swept the season series against the other in MLS. It’s the first time the Sounders have failed to win a regular-season game against the Timbers since 1981.


Man of the match

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    (176 votes)
  • 5%
    Nico Lodeiro
    (17 votes)
  • 18%
    Alex Roldan
    (58 votes)
  • 21%
    Stefan Frei
    (69 votes)
320 votes total Vote Now

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