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Sounders settle for frustrating draw against Portland

Raúl Ruidíaz and Léo Chú both score, but Seattle can't hold on after Chú's second yellow.

Last Updated
5 min read
Kayla Mehring / Sounder at Heart

SEATTLE – The Seattle Sounders drew 2-2 against the Portland Timbers on Saturday night in a Cascadia Cup match with the potential for huge implications for both teams' seasons. Instead Seattle were forced to settle for a frustrating draw that could have been worse and should have been a lot better after they staked out a 2-0 lead only to fall apart during a two-minute stretch in the second half.

For the first time since Aug. 27, 2017 the Sounders opened the scoring at home against Portland when Raúl Ruidíaz headed home an Albert Rusnák corner that Jackson Ragen flicked on at the near post.

At the 30-minute mark, Léo Chú doubled Seattle's lead, forcing a turnover and sprinting down the field after Ruidíaz chested the ball down to him, then riding a couple of challenges before slotting the ball beyond David Bingham and into the back of the net. Chú nearly got himself a brace four minutes later, cutting in from the left side to take a dangerous shot that was saved and then picking up his own rebound but the ensuing shot soared over the goal.

Things took a turn for the worse for Seattle starting in the 53rd minute. Chú had received a warning for persistent infringement during the first half before receiving a yellow card for celebrating his goal by taking off his shirt, so when he crashed into Zac McGraw when challenging for a ball and was shown a yellow card the team was forced to play a man down. Then, immediately after subbing into the game, Dairon Asprilla got Portland in the game with a headed goal in the 68th minute and Evander leveled the score in the 70th.

Seattle created a couple of chances in the final 20 minutes of the match, but neither team got particularly close to scoring a winner and the Sounders are forced to go yet another season without a home win against their biggest rivals.

Key moments

9' – GOAL! Raúl Ruidíaz ends his drought! Albert Rusnák sends in a corner that's flicked on by Jackson Ragen and Ruidíaz buries the header. 1-0 Sounders

17' – Jordan Morris misses a 1v1 against David Bingham with Ruidíaz running to his left, but it's a moot point as the offside flag is raised after the play.

23' – Evander fires a free kick low and hard from around 30 yards out, and Frei blocks it but has to scramble a little to collect the ball and avoid any danger.

30' – GOAL!! Léo Chú does it himself! Chú and Ruidíaz work quickly to start the attack and Chu flies down the field and slots it home to double the advantage! 2-0

34' – Another good play from Chú to take a dangerous shot and pick up his own rebound, but the second effort isn't anywhere close to goal.

40' – Improbably, Portland fail to score on a series of chances as Yeimar stops one shot, João Paulo makes a goal-line clearance and Nouhou eventually clears it.

53' – Chú is shown a yellow for a collision with Zac McGraw, a second yellow for Chú, and the Sounders will finish the game with 10 players.

68' – Goal. Dairon Asprilla gets Portland back in the game with his first touch after subbing in, heading home a flicked-on long throw as Nouhou watches. 2-1

70' – Goal. Evander ties the game, beating Frei from the top of the box after a bad giveaway from Obed Vargas left Seattle scrambling. 2-2

78' – Nico Lodeiro fires a dangerous shot as he follows up a bouncing ball, but it's parried out for a corner by Bingham.

88' – Jackson Ragen wins a dangerous header on a corner, but his attempt on goal is corralled easily enough by Bingham.

Quick thoughts

Firing on all cylinders: The biggest issue the Sounders have had in recent months is in the attack. The win over Austin was the first time in months that the team had scored multiple goals, and star players have failed to shine. Things may have started to turn around, though, as in the span of a week Nico Lodeiro has two assists, Albert Rusnák has a goal and an assist, and Jordan Morris and Raul Ruidíaz both have goals (their first league goals since May 27 and June 10, respectively). Ruidíaz even added an assist on Léo Chú's first-half goal. The result is less than ideal, but if this is any indication of things to come and the offense is firing on all cylinders heading into the playoffs, there's plenty of reason to think Seattle could make real problems for teams in the postseason.

Back post, anyone? For the second consecutive MLS game, the Sounders gave up a goal to an effectively unmarked player at the back post. For the fourth straight game, they allowed a goal on a set-piece. Against Austin FC they managed to keep things from unraveling after the goal, but Asprilla's goal sparked a Portland comeback that ultimately left Seattle with two dropped points despite holding a 2-0 goal and looking like the much better team up until Chú was sent off. The stretch gets worse if you just consider open attackers in the area without focusing on the back post, indicating what seems like a clear issue of concentration or focus in the most important part of the field.

Searching for conclusions: This three-game week seemed likely to give us a look at what this season could be for the Sounders. Good luck and circumstances meant that, despite a difficult run of form over the last few months, Seattle still sat in third place in the West. A frustrating draw against Minnesota United followed by a dramatic win against Austin put the team in position to finally get the Portland monkey off their backs with a win at home to cap a seven-point week and head into the international break on a high. Instead, a respectable five points feels particularly sour because it ended with another home game against the Timbers where Seattle failed to claim a win, and the Sounders head out on the road after a two-week break with games against FC Dallas, the Colorado Rapids and Nashville SC. The games are all winnable, but it feels a little like the can was kicked down the road. We'll have to wait another couple of weeks to see if the Sounders are made of something different than what they've shown in the last three months.

Did you see that?!?

There was a lot to like about Léo Chú's first-half performance, but nothing more than his goal.

He said what?!?

One stat to tell the tale

10 – It's been 10 home league games without a win against the Portland Timbers.