Sounders, Timbers draw 1-1
Longtime rivals Sounders FC and Portland played to an entertaining 1-1 tie after 90 soggy minutes of back-and-forth action at Qwest Field.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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The hype had built up for a week.
The anticipation had been growing for years.
Sounders FC and the Portland Timbers finally resumed their fervent 36-year-old rivalry Saturday, with a jersey-tugging, body-slamming clash at a buzzing Qwest Field. Pouring rain, while somewhat fitting for the highly anticipated match in the Pacific Northwest, put a damper on the quality of play but did little to quiet an animated crowd of 36,593 — a team record for an MLS game.
Amid the loud chants and impressive fan displays, the longtime rivals played to an entertaining 1-1 tie after 90 soggy minutes of back-and-forth action. It was ultimately an underwhelming result for the favored Sounders.
"At the end of the day, we're at home," said coach Sigi Schmid. "We need to get three points when we're at home."
Seattle (3-3-5) took the lead in the 52nd minute when designated player Alvaro Fernandez slammed a left-footed volley past goalkeeper Troy Perkins. The scoring play was set up masterfully by a flick header from Fredy Montero between two defenders.
The Timbers (4-3-2) responded in the 65th minute when defender Mamadou "Futty" Danso powered home a header in front of the goal off a Jack Jewsbury free kick. Portland has scored a league-leading eight goals (out of 12 total) off set pieces this season.
"That's where their danger is," Schmid said. "That's what they live for. The referee gave them quite a few."
The visitors came into the game 0-3-1 on the road, and have now lost just once in their past six games.
"I'm super happy with (the result)," said Timbers coach John Spencer, who called Qwest Field "one of the hardest places in the league to come to get points."
"Better teams than us have lost games here," he added.
The return of the storied Cascadia rivalry — of which Seattle boasts a 39-28-9 advantage — was eagerly awaited by MLS fans across the country. The impact was also felt worldwide, with broadcasts by ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes available in 116 countries and 40 million households outside of the United States.
Early action saw several chances for both teams, with Seattle holding a narrow 5-4 advantage in shots at halftime. Seattle's attack took a hit when its leading scorer, midfielder Brad Evans, was forced to leave the game in the 42nd minute with a right groin strain. He was replaced by Roger Levesque, who has played in the rivalry since 2003 and was honored in a pregame display by the fans.
Levesque played a part in Seattle's goal but was disappointed to see the team's fans go home unhappy.
"We just feel kind of unsatisfied, you know?" he said. "Having that one-goal lead and the excitement that created, and keeping the pressure on after we scored the goal. We had a few chances to put it out of reach and we didn't do that."
• Erik Friberg (left lateral ankle sprain) and Mauro Rosales (hamstring strain) each were unavailable for Sounders FC. Friberg had played all 10 games this season, nine as a starter, but left Friday's practice early with the injury. Rosales aggravated his injury last week in D.C.
• The grandparents of Seattle midfielder Osvaldo Alonso were at the game. They were allowed to leave Cuba for the trip because they are over the age of 65.
• Saturday marked the first match in the 2011 Cascadia Cup, a fan-based competition between Pacific Northwest teams that dates to 2004.
• Injured Sounders Steve Zakuani and O'Brian White were each discharged from the hospital this week, but neither attended the game, according to a team spokesman.
• Forward Nate Jaqua (from Eugene) and goalkeeper Terry Boss (from Philomath) each hail from Oregon. Starting goalkeeper Kasey Keller played at the University of Portland.
• Seattle and Portland will play a Reserve League game at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Starfire Sports Campus. Sounders FC's next league game is May 21, a home game against Sporting Kansas City at 7 p.m.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or email@example.com
|Portland||0 1 — 1|
|Seattle||0 1 — 1|
Portland — Troy Perkins, Eric Brunner, Mamadou Danso, Jeremy Hall, Darlington Nagbe (Sal Zizzo, 61st), Jack Jewsbury, Rodney Wallace, Kalif Alhassan, Diego Chara, Kenny Cooper, Jorge Perlaza (Ryan Pore, 84th).
Seattle — Kasey Keller, Patrick Ianni, James Riley, Tyson Wahl, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Alvaro Fernandez, Osvaldo Alonso, Servando Carrasco, Brad Evans (Roger Levesque, 42nd), Fredy Montero, Nate Jaqua (Lamar Neagle, 79th).
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.