Sounders earn draw in Portland to keep Cascadia Cup, for now
Fredy Montero scored his 12th goal of the season and the Sounders got a little luck with a late Timbers effort ringing off the post in the 1-1 draw.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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PORTLAND — Once the chanting had stopped and the green smoke had dissipated at JELD-WEN Field, a large group of Sounders FC fans got back on their buses to Seattle with an important possession:
The Cascadia Cup.
The Portland Timbers had come into Saturday's home game against the Sounders hoping to clinch the trophy with a win in the nationally televised rivalry bout. Seattle was able to hold on for a 1-1 tie in front of 20,438, however, and for the moment retain regional bragging rights.
"That was important," midfielder Steve Zakuani said. "We didn't want our fans to drive down on a bus carrying a trophy and go back empty-handed."
The Sounders (13-6-9) remain in second place in the Western Conference and will have to wait to clinch a fourth straight playoff berth.
Seattle holds a 40-28-10 advantage in a contentious rivalry that dates to 1975 in the old North American Soccer League, but that record could have swung either way in what were frantic final minutes.
Timbers forward Bright Dike came inches from a game-winner in the second minute of stoppage time, but his driven shot caromed off the post and skipped across the face of the goal before being cleared.
On the other end, Sounders midfielder Osvaldo Alonso blasted a low shot in the final minute of stoppage time that was smothered safely by backup Portland goalkeeper Joe Bendik.
Seattle coach Sigi Schmid was particularly pleased with how his team withstood the nonstop effort from the motivated hosts.
"This was their MLS Cup final today," Schmid said of the Timbers. "They played and expended the energy that a team would expend in the MLS Cup final. Not to say that you don't want to expend that energy every time you play yourselves, but it's just a little bit different when you're saying, 'This is it. It's now or never.' "
The Sounders scored first in the 57th minute when forward Fredy Montero controlled a long pass from goalkeeper Michael Gspurning and struck a volley that dipped over Bendik and under the crossbar. Gspurning recorded his first MLS assist on the play.
Montero's 12th goal of the season matched a career high and continued his dominance in rivalry games. The 24-year-old Colombian has seven goals in eight Cascadia Cup games against the Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps.
"It's always good to score goals in those kinds of derbies," said Montero. "The people who are coming from Seattle ... I'm happy for them and happy for the team."
The Montero goal came just seconds after Portland had to change goalkeepers. Starter Donovan Ricketts was injured on a collision with Sounders forward Eddie Johnson in front of goal.
The Timbers (7-14-7) tied the game in the 78th minute, when defender Rodney Wallace scored off a corner kick that Seattle defender Leo Gonzalez wasn't able to clear off the goal line.
Late in the game, Portland had to play a man down after Diego Chara suffered an injury and the Timbers were out of subs, but that didn't prevent any late drama on MLS's first network broadcast since 2008.
"We always complain about not enough goals; it's really about goal-scoring chances," Schmid said. "Drama was there with them hitting the post at the end, and with us having a very good look from Ozzie at the end, so it had all the elements of what a good sporting event should be."
• Sounders FC plays a MLS Reserve League game here at 2 p.m. Sunday. Seattle then plays a CONCACAF Champions League group game Wednesday at CD Marathon of Honduras and returns to MLS action Sept. 22 against league-leading San Jose.
• Forward Eddie Johnson was issued a yellow card in the first half and will be suspended for the Earthquakes game. Schmid said the impact of his loss would be lessened by the expected returns of midfielders Mauro Rosales (quad) and Christian Tiffert (ankle), who were unavailable Saturday.
• Sounders FC's roster has been finalized for the rest of the season upon Friday's signing of goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @joshuamayers
|Seattle||0 1 — 1|
|Portland||0 1 — 1|
Seattle — Michael Gspurning, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Adam Johansson, Andy Rose, Brad Evans (Marc Burch, 90th+), Osvaldo Alonso, Steve Zakuani (Mario Martinez, 70th), Eddie Johnson, Fredy Montero.
Portland — Donovan Ricketts (Joe Bendik, 57th), David Horst, Rodney Wallace, Hanyer Mosquera, Kosuke Kimura, Darlington Nagbe, Sal Zizzo (Kalif Alhassan, 83rd), Diego Chara, Jack Jewsbury, Franck Songo'o (Danny Mwanga, 72nd), Bright Dike.
|Defending Cascadia Cup champion Sounders FC was able to hold onto the trophy following Saturday's tie in Portland. Each team has two games left in the competition:|