Over the years, Providence Park has played host to some of the best matches in Seattle Sounders history, with many a memorable road result delivered on the turf of Seattle’s Cascadia Cup rival Portland Timbers.
With Friday night’s massive derby between the sides at Providence (7:25 p.m. PT; ESPN, ESPN Deportes, 93.3 KJR FM, El Rey 1360AM) next on tap for the Rave Green as they continue the stretch run of the 2022 MLS season, here are five of our selections for Seattle’s best road matches in the history of the league’s premier rivalry.
Roger Levesque’s 48 seconds
The first entry comes from an era where Providence was named PGE Park, when the Sounders took on Portland in a third-round US Open Cup matchup on July 1, 2009. At the time, the Timbers were still a USL side, while Seattle were in the early days of the club’s expansion season in MLS.
The match will always be remembered for the celebration following a diving header for the opening goal just 48 seconds into the match by midfielder Roger Levesque, who enlisted the help of Nate Jaqua to mime a perfectly executed tree-chop. The quick tally got the Sounders on the board before the crowd at PGE Park had even fully assembled in their seats and helped spearhead a 2-1 victory.
Seattle would go on to win their first of four US Open Cup trophies that season as part of an era that is often credited for laying the foundation for the club’s later success.
2019 Cascadia Cup clincher
The Cascadia Cup is always a coveted symbol of bragging rights among the league’s Pacific Northwest fanbases, and the Sounders delivered that trophy in memorable fashion on their road trip to Portland on August 23, 2019.
This match was all about Jordan Morris, who came up with two massive plays, both against Portland defender Zarek Valentin, to set up each of his team’s goals.
The first came in the 22nd minute after Morris breezed by Valentin on the left flank, then sent in a cross that was deflected in front of goal for an easy close-range finish from Cristian Roldan. The second came shortly after second-half kickoff, with Morris this time evading Valentin to find Raúl Ruidíaz for a clinical finish from inside the area to double the lead.
Diego Valeri would pull one back for Portland with a free-kick deflection, but a gutsy defensive effort to protect the one-goal lead would deliver Seattle the 2-1 victory and Cascadia Cup honors for 2019.
Dempsey’s hat trick
Clint Dempsey’s name invariably always comes up when discussing the recent history of this rivalry, with the US Men’s National Team legend always seeming to find the score sheet during these derby matchups.
One of those best efforts came on April 5, 2014, in a game that looked like it was headed for a lopsided victory for the hosts until Deuce came through with some late theatrics.
The match was hectic from the start, with Seattle’s Kenny Cooper finding an early opener before the longtime Timbers duo of Diego Valeri and Diego Chara each struck to put Portland back in front. But Dempsey would pull the Sounders right back in it, converting a 24th-minute equalizer after combining with longtime strike partner Obafemi Martins.
It looked like the leveler would be for not as the Timbers struck for two more goals to make it 4-2, a lead that would hold as the clock hit the 85th minute. That’s when Dempsey stunned the Providence Park crowd with two goals before the final whistle, first off a sliding finish of a Lamar Neagle cross, then from the spot off a penalty kick that was won by former Homegrown standout DeAndre Yedlin.
At the time, Dempsey was still in his relatively early days in MLS following his blockbuster arrival from Tottenham Hotspur, with his performance setting the stage for the years of Timbers torment to come.
Dempsey stoppage-time equalizer
Dempsey’s status at Portland’s arch-nemesis was reinforced in Seattle’s trip to Providence on May 27, 2017, in another match that saw the Sounders have to pull out some late magic to secure the road result.
This time, circumstances were even more stacked against Seattle, which saw a 1-0 lead off a strike from Joevin Jones evaporate thanks to first-half goals from Fanendo Adi and Dairon Asprilla. On top of that, Seattle defender Brad Evans was issued a second-half red card, forcing the Sounders to chase the match with 10 men.
An equalizer would elude Seattle until the game’s dying moments, when center back Román Torres provided the unlikeliest assist of his career with a desperation cross from the right side. Dempsey skied in the box and nodded home a perfectly placed finish, snatching the improbable 2-2 draw.
You don’t need to say anything but the score line when talking about the last entry on our list, which is also Seattle’s most recent trip to Portland on August 15, 2021.
It was raining goals at Providence that night, starting with a pair of early strikes from Seattle club legend Fredy Montero, the second of which was a vicious, highlight-reel finish into the top corner from outside the area. The Timbers would fight back to level the contest at 2-2, but Seattle erupted from there, racking up four more goals before it was over.
Two of those were also certified golazos -- one off the foot of Ruidíaz on a devastating free kick (the Peruvian later added another on a rebound finish), then from left back Jimmy Medranda, who caught a João Paulo corner kick perfectly out of the air for a stunning volley. New arrival Nicolas Benezet even got in the act, converting a late breakaway for his first Seattle goal and rounding off the stunning score line.