Portland earns 2-1 victory over Sounders FC
Timbers take 2-0 lead for first win over Seattle since Sounders joined MLS in 2009
Seattle Times staff reporter
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PORTLAND — Amid swirling green smoke, a sea of waving Timbers flags and frenzied rival fans cheering in full voice, the Sounders quickly found themselves in a nightmare Sunday.
Another head-shakingly poor start by Seattle, this time in a nationally televised Cascadia Cup clash, led to two early Portland goals that were too much to overcome as Seattle lost, 2-1, despite a second-half surge in front of 20,438 at a rocking Jeld-Wen Field.
The defeat resulted in a couple undesirable firsts:
Since joining MLS in 2009, the Sounders (7-5-4) had never lost to their main rival — either in MLS or the U.S. Open Cup — and had never gone seven straight league games without a win.
A slump has turned into a nosedive, and the solution, according to coach Sigi Schmid, has to come from within.
"I think the team in the locker room has to decide which team is the Seattle Sounders: the Seattle Sounders that played the first seven, eight games, or the Sounders who have played the last (seven) games of the season?" Schmid said.
"They're at the crossroads where they need to make a decision and decide which team they are."
The Sounders at present are a mess defensively. Seven consecutive games without a win have had a common theme: Seattle has allowed the first goal in each (13 overall).
That trend continued Sunday when Portland's prize forward, Kris Boyd, was left wide open to finish a cross in the 16th minute for his team-leading fifth goal of the season.
Boyd nearly doubled the lead in the 24th minute, but his header forced a fantastic reflex save from goalkeeper Andrew Weber. On the subsequent corner kick a minute later, however, Timbers defender David Horst slammed in a header to make it 2-0.
Portland (4-6-4) might have been unfortunate not to be leading by more.
"I don't think we've necessarily come out lackadaisical, but 'complacent' I guess is the right word," said Sounders defender Zach Scott. "I think it's almost taken 45 minutes (for us to get into the game)."
Chasing the lead was one of Seattle's strengths last year, with a 7-7-3 record after conceding the first goal, but it hasn't carried over to this season.
"If we could put a finger on it then obviously it would've been figured out five or six games ago," said midfielder Brad Evans, who missed a pair of scoring chances just before being subbed out at halftime.
Seattle's only goal came on a sensational display of skill from forward Eddie Johnson, who hammered in his fifth goal of the season in the 58th minute with a powerful left-footed shot in the penalty box.
But it wasn't enough.
In the last few games "we've put ourselves in a hole and tried to dig ourselves out at the last minute," said Johnson, who's tied for the team lead in goals. "In this league, you can't do that ... especially playing in Portland here with their fans behind them."
Fortunes took a turn for the worse in stoppage time when Fredy Montero was issued a red card for a two-handed shove on Horst.
Montero thought Horst sold the contact to get the call, but Schmid lamented a lack of composure. It was the third straight game in which a Sounder has been ejected, resulting in an automatic one-game suspension.
Another regret before a rare drive back to Seattle in defeat, which was shared by several hundred Sounders supporters who made the trip.
"To let (the fans) down," said Scott, "to know that they're driving back to Seattle disappointed ... is probably the biggest thing."
• The Sounders face the San Jose Earthquakes in a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal Tuesday at San Francisco's Kezar Stadium.
• Midfielder Steve Zakuani did not travel for the game after dressing for his first MLS game in over a year on Wednesday against Kansas City.
• Portland forward Mike Fucito, who played for Seattle from 2009 to '11, made his first start of the season. He had two shots in 66 minutes.
• Sounders defender Jeff Parke was forced to leave in the 42nd minute on account of dizziness. Not much else was known about the injury, but Schmid said it wasn't a concussion.
|Seattle||0 1 — 1|
|Portland||2 0 — 2|
Seattle — Andrew Weber, Marc Burch, Jeff Parke (Patrick Ianni, 42nd), Zach Scott, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Alex Caskey (Cordell Cato, 75th), Brad Evans (Andy Rose, 46th), Eddie Johnson, Fredy Montero.
Portland — Troy Perkins, David Horst, Mamadou Danso, Steven Smith, Franck Songo'o (Lovel Palmer, 79th), Darlington Nagbe, Diego Chara, Kalif Alhassan (Sal Zizzo, 54th), Jack Jewsbury, Michael Fucito (Danny Mwanga, 66th), Kris Boyd.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or email@example.com. On Twitter @joshuamayers.Tuesday
Sounders FC @ San Jose (U.S. Open Cup), 7:30 p.m.
|In addition to their first MLS loss to the Portland Timbers, the Sounders set a franchise mark with their seventh consecutive MLS game without a win.|
|May 12||Real Salt Lake||L, 1-0|
|May 19||at Vancouver||D, 2-2|
|May 23||Columbus||L, 2-0|
|May 26||at Chivas USA||D, 1-1|
|June 16||at Montreal||L, 4-1|
|June 20||Sporting KC||D, 1-1|
|June 24||at Portland||L, 2-1|