SEATTLE - Over the last three years, the only times the Sounders and Timbers have met in a competitive match was in the US Open Cup. In their last meeting in 2010, the match ended in a 1-1 draw after 120 minutes and was decided on a penalty kick shootout.
Saturday night at Qwest Field wouldn’t have quite the same definitive conclusion.
Alvaro Fernandez scored his third goal of the season in the 52nd minute and Mamadou Danso equalized for Portland in the 65th minute and the 36,593 in attendance were left somewhat stunned in their seats when the final whistle blew on a 1-1 draw amidst a downpour of rain only surpassed by the uproar of support from the dueling supporters.
“It just feels like there should be a conclusion,” Sounders FC goalkeeper Kasey Keller said. “That conclusion is just going to have to wait a couple months until we go down to Jeld-Wen and pick up three points down there.”
Fueled by a week-long build-up and a highly charged matchday atmosphere, the two rivals played what Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid described as a “helter skelter” first half, with several splintered moments of fluidity split up by long stretches of chaos.
Kenny Cooper managed two shots on goal for Portland and Danso added another, but none raised a serious threat to Keller, who finished the match with four saves. The disorder reached a head when Brad Evans suffered a groin strain in the 38th minute and had to be substituted in the 42nd minute.
The second half was much more organized and well-played, marked by two goals that were characteristic of each team.
Seattle got on the board when Roger Levesque, who was the replacement for Evans, crossed a ball to Fredy Montero at the top of the box. Attracting a pair of Timbers defenders, Montero managed to win the header and directed it to Fernandez coming on the far side. He took one touch, then blasted a left-footed shot past Portland goalkeeper Troy Perkins for the 1-0 lead.
“When I saw the play shaping up I started yelling and calling the play, especially when I saw the two defenders going after Fredy,” said Fernandez, who has three goals in Seattle’s last six matches. “After the flick I was one-on-one with the keeper and I was able to finalize.”
Seattle looked to add to the momentum in the 56th minute when Montero blasted a shot from the top of the box, but Perkins was able to control it and make the grab. Moments later, Tyson Wahl saved a Jorge Perlaza shot from finding its way inside the post to keep the Sounders in the lead.
As much as Seattle’s goal was reflective of the way they’ve played this season, building up from the midfield and playing the ball from the outside in, Portland was even more to their script on their goal.
Seattle was called for a foul 45 yards out and Jack Jewsbury took advantage. The Portland midfielder played the free kick to the six-yard box where Danso out-jumped his marker and shielded Keller from the ball, heading it into the net for his second goal in as many matches to equalize at 1-1 in the 65th minute.
“You get a big kid like Danso in there, he’s going to win stuff. Unfortunately he kind of just beat me to the ball. I couldn’t get there quite quick enough, which was frustrating,” Keller said.
The final 25 minutes went without any serious threats to break the tie and the game was left to a draw.
The Sounders move to 3-3-5 (14 points), while Portland remains winless on the road with a 4-3-2 record (14 points). Seattle will host Sporting Kansas City next Saturday at Qwest Field and will look to get into the win column after two consecutive 1-1 draws.
Sounders FC - Alvaro Fernandez (Fredy Montero, Roger Levesque) 52.
Timbers - Mamadou Danso (Jack Jewsbury) 65.
Sounders FC - None.
Timbers - None.
Sounders FC - Kasey Keller, James Riley, Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyson Wahl, Brad Evans (Roger Levesque 42), Osvaldo Alonso, Servando Carrasco, Alvaro Fernandez, Fredy Montero, Nate Jaqua (Lamar Neagle 79).
Timbers - Troy Perkins, Jeremy Hall, Eric Brunner, Mamadou Danso, Rodney Wallace, Darlington Nagbe (Sal Zizzo 61), Jack Jewsbury, Diego Chara, Kalif Alhassan, Kenny Cooper, Jorge Perlaza (Ryan Pore 84).