In a match that features eight goals, there can be so many positives and negatives to take into preparation for the next week’s match.
Here are four things we learned from Sounders FC’s thrilling 4-4 draw with the Portland Timbers on Saturday at Providence Park.
Don’t wake a sleeping giant
Clint Dempsey has been criticized by some for his perceived lack of production since joining Sounders FC in August of 2013. However, a hat trick on Saturday now gives him five goals and one assist in his last four MLS matches, dating back to the regular season finale last year when he scored his first goal in Rave Green against the LA Galaxy. He already had one goal and one assist in just 123 minutes entering the match. His first MLS hat trick on Saturday gives puts him atop the league goalscoring list in just 213 minutes this season. It was his first hat trick since netting three for Fulham against Newcastle United in January of 2012 when he went on to score 17 goals and finish fourth in voting for the FWA Footballer of the Year award in the Premier League.
“I’m not trying to make a statement. I’m just trying to enjoy playing my ball here with the Seattle Sounders. The most important thing is that the team does well,” Dempsey said. “We got a point today and it’s about us building upon the things that we’re working on. Our goal is to try to get to MLS Cup. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
Keep your head up
DeAndre Yedlin was frustrated at times in the first half. He was frequently isolated on the right side of the defense in 1v1 situations with the ever-dynamic Darlington Nagbe and oftentimes found himself in 2v1 defensive challenges when Portland overloaded his side of the field. Yedlin didn’t let those challenges daunt him, though, and made the necessary adjustments at halftime to keep himself composed in the second half. In the end, he made what proved to be a game-changing play when Norberto Paparatto got his head to a corner kick that hit off the bottom of the crossbar and may have given the Timbers a 5-2 lead in the 65th minute.
However, Yedlin was stationed on the near post and made a tremendous effort to make the clearance and wound up doing so with his face.
“I was just in the right place at the right time,” Yedlin smiled after the match. “Luckily it just hit off my face and went out.”
Still more to be learned on defense
For as exhilarating as scoring four goals can be, allowing four goals can be just as maddening. That wasn’t necessarily the case on Saturday, as the four goals had less to do with defensive philosophy and more to do with individual mistakes.
“We have to eliminate those turnovers in bad parts of the field, so we don’t give away opportunities like that,” Schmid said. “When you score four on the road, you should come away with a win, but I’m sure they feel when you score four at home, you should have a win as well.”
Bigger than a rivalry
Even in the most intense of derbies, human nature can be a stronger emotion. At Saturday’s match, that was on full display as over $6,035 was collected at the match to help with disaster relief in Snohomish County, where mudslides ravaged the community of Oso.
With help from the Timbers Army, Portland Red Cross collected donations at the gates and throughout the stadium, adding a substantial sum to the money raised last week at Sounders FC’s match against the Columbus Crew.