PORTLAND – For the first time in six matches in Cascadia Cup play, the Sounders FC find themselves on the losing end. After starting 2-0-3 against the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps over the last two seasons, the Sounders dropped their first result to the Timbers 2-1 on Sunday at Jeld-Wen Field in Portland.
The Timbers got two first half goals and Eddie Johnson pulled one back early in the second half, but the Sounders were never able to find the equalizer and moved to 7-5-4 on the season. The Timbers improved to 4-6-4.
“We put ourselves in a hole. In the last seven games we’ve played out of the hole every time. When you’re constantly playing from behind it makes it difficult,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “It’s just not good enough.”
The Timbers opened scoring in the 16th minute when Steven Smith got some room in the left corner and crossed to Kris Boyd in behind the Seattle defense. Boyd tapped it in for his fifth goal of the season, giving Portland the early 1-0 lead.
Boyd nearly put in another goal in the 25th minute, but Andrew Weber parried his header over the crossbar for a corner kick. However, Portland would convert on the ensuing set-piece.
Franck Songo'o sent the corner kick into the middle of the box where David Horst got free and lunged for a header that found the back of the net for his first goal of the season and a 2-0 Portland lead.
After that point, the Sounders started climbing their way back into the game.
In first-half stoppage time, Osvaldo Alonso blistered a shot from distance that forced Portland goalkeeper Troy Perkins to punch it over the crossbar.
In the 53rd minute he tried again from distance, but Perkins was up to the task and made the save.
Johnson tallied his fifth goal of the season in the 58th minute, pushing into the box up the right side then cutting to his left foot and shot inside the far post to make it 2-1.
“We seem to dig ourselves a hole and try to dig ourselves out at the last minute and in this league you can’t do that,” Johnson said. “We can’t keep putting ourselves in these positions. Trying to come back is difficult.”
While the Sounders kept fighting, they weren’t able to even the score. Then in stoppage time, Fredy Montero and Timbers midfielder Lovel Palmer were sent off, adding fuel to the fire of the rivalry.
“It is a bad moment for the team. We need to work hard and we need to look for the victory,” Montero said.
The Sounders will meet the San Jose Earthquakes on Tuesday in San Francisco in the quarterfinals of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, then get back to MLS play on Saturday in a road test against the New England Revolution.
Sounders FC – Eddie Johnson 58.
Timbers – Kris Boyd (Steven Smith) 16; David Horst (Franck Songo’o) 25.
Sounders FC – Brad Evans (caution) 18; Osvaldo Alonso (caution) 48; Fredy Montero (ejection) 91+.
Timbers – Diego Chara (caution) 44; Kalif Alhassan (caution) 54; Steven Smith (caution) 73; Jack Jewsbury (caution) 90; Lovel Palmer (ejection) 92+.
Sounders FC – Andrew Weber, Zach Scott, Jeff Parke (Patrick Ianni 42), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch, Brad Evans (Andy Rose 46), Osvaldo Alonso, Mauro Rosales, Alex Caskey (Cordell Cato 75), Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson.
Timbers – Troy Perkins, Jack Jewsbury, Mamadou Danso, David Horst, Steven Smith, Kalif Alhassan (Sal Zizzo 54), Diego Chara, Darlington Nagbe, Franck Songo’o (Lovel Palmer 78), Mike Fucito (Danny Mwanga 66), Kris Boyd.