MATCH RECAP: Sounders FC stays unbeaten with hard-fought 2-1 road win at Portland Timbers

Joao Paulo PORvSEA Press Release Cover 5-9-21

In a classically heated Cascadia showdown at Providence Park, Seattle Sounders FC (3-0-1, 10 points) took down the Portland Timbers (1-3-0, 3 points), with Raúl Ruidíaz and Fredy Montero supplying two second-half goals. With the result, Seattle moves back atop both the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Western Conference standings with 10 total points from the club’s first four games. Today’s match at Providence marked the 112th all-time meeting between Seattle and Portland, the most matchups between two professional sides in U.S. soccer history dating back to 1975. Seattle leads the series with a record of  55-42-15, including a 13-10-7 mark in MLS regular-season play.

In an eventful second-half sequence, Portland was awarded a penalty in the 54th minute when referee Chris Penso made his ruling following a Shane O’Neill foul on Jeremy Ebobisse inside the area. Timbers captain Diego Valeri stepped forward for the penalty attempt, but Sounders FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei made the stop, only for the Timbers to be awarded another opportunity after Seattle encroached on the first shot. Valeri took aim once again, but hit the post and was unable to claim his own rebound after Frei did not touch the shot.

Seattle counterpunched following Portland’s two failed penalty attempts, as Ruidíaz earned a penalty of his own and converted the attempt in the 63rd minute, good for the Peruvian’s fifth strike of 2021. The tally was also Ruidíaz’s fifth goal against the Timbers in seven regular-season matches, moving him into second all-time in MLS play in scoring against Portland.  

Montero doubled the lead in the 79th minute, heading in a free kick from João Paulo for his second goal of the season. Taking a set piece from about 30 yards out, the Brazilian sent a dangerous, curving ball into the area, where Montero rose to meet it with his head and pounded it into the back of the net. Montero now has 49 MLS regular-season goals and 61 all-competitions goals for Sounders FC, both club records. It was the second assist of the season for João Paulo, and seventh in MLS play since coming to Seattle prior to the 2020 season.

The Timbers pulled one back late in second half stoppage time, as Bill Tuiloma scored from distance on a free kick, bending his shot from 25 yards away around Seattle’s wall and inside the near post. It was just the second goal allowed this year by Sounders FC, both coming direct from free kicks.

Following today’s match in Oregon, Brian Schmetzer’s side prepares for a busy stretch over the course of the next week. First up, Sounders FC remains on the road with a midweek matchup in San Jose, as the Rave Green prepare to face the Earthquakes on Wednesday, May 12 (7:30 p.m. PT / JOEtv, Prime Video, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM). The club then returns home to Lumen Field for another key Western Conference showdown with Los Angeles FC on Sunday, May 16 (6:30 p.m. PT / FS1, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM).


  • Today’s contest marked the 112th all-time matchup between Seattle and Portland dating back to 1975 when the rivalry began in the original North America Soccer League. Sounders FC currently leads the series with 55-42-15 mark. No two teams have met more in the history of U.S. professional soccer.
  • In MLS regular-season play, Seattle moves to 13-10-7 all-time against the Timbers.
  • With the result, Seattle moves back to the top of the MLS Western Conference on 10 points, one point ahead of second-place San Jose. Sounders FC and the Quakes meet this coming Wednesday in San Jose.
  • With their goals today, Ruidíaz and Montero are tied for second all-time in scoring for Seattle against the Timbers in MLS regular-season play, with five goals apiece. Clint Dempsey leads this category with nine goals in 12 games. Montero also scored twice against Portland as a member of Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
  • Ruidíaz now has 47 strikes in 67 MLS appearances (including playoffs). He is currently second in the MLS Golden Boot race, one tally behind the LA Galaxy’s Javier Hernández.
  • Montero’s goal marked his second of 2021 since re-joining Seattle this offseason. The Colombian now has 49 goals for Sounders FC in MLS regular season play, as well as 62 goals across all competitions, both franchise records.
  • João Paulo recorded his second assist of the season on Montero’s goal. The Brazilian has three goals and seven assists in 23 regular-season appearance since joining Sounders FC prior to the 2020 campaign. 
  • Sunday’s match on ABC marked Seattle’s first network television contest of 2021. The club returns to free-to-air TV in two weeks, when the Rave Green host Atlanta United on May 23 at Lumen Field. That match is set to air on FOX.
  • With three saves at Providence Park on Sunday, Stefan Frei becomes just the eighth goalkeeper in MLS regular-season history to record 1,000 saves.
  • Wingback Alex Roldan recorded his 50th MLS appearance this afternoon. The Seattle University product has started all four of Sounders FC’s matches in 2021, giving him 19 career regular-season starts in Rave Green.
  • Head Coach Brian Schmetzer retained the same starting XI in Portland as last Sunday’s match versus the LA Galaxy. Using the club’s 3-5-2 formation, Will Bruin started up top alongside Ruidíaz, with a three-man midfield featuring João Paulo, Cristian Roldan and Kelyn Rowe. Alex Roldan and Brad Smith lined up as the wingbacks, flanking the three-man backline of Yeimar, Shane O’Neill and Nouhou.


Seattle Sounders FC 2 – Portland Timbers 1
Sunday, May 9, 2021

Venue: Providence Park
Referee: Chris Penso
Assistants: Ian Anderson, Eric Weisbrod
Fourth Official: Elijio Arreguin
VAR: Edvin Jurisevic
Weather: 63 and cloudy


SEA – Raúl Ruidíaz (penalty) 63’
SEA – Fredy Montero (João Paulo) 81’
POR – Bill Tuiloma 90’+4’


POR – Marvin Loria (caution) 21’
SEA – Nouhou (caution) 17’
SEA – Jordy Delem (caution) 90’+3’


Seattle Sounders FC – Stefan Frei; Alex Roldan, Yeimar, Shane O’Neill, Nouhou. Brad Smith (Xavier Arreaga 81’); João Paulo (Danny Leyva 90’), Kelyn Rowe (Jordy Delem 72’), Cristian Roldan; Will Bruin (Fredy Montero 72’), Raúl Ruidíaz

Substitutes not used: Spencer Richey, Ethan Dobbelaere, Jimmy Medranda

Total shots: 11
Shots on goal: 4
Fouls: 13
Corner-kicks: 4
Saves: 3

Portland Timbers – Jeff Attinella (Hunter Sulte 68’); Josecarlos Van Rankin, Larrys Mabiala (Bill Tuiloma 15’), Dario Zuparic, Claudio Bravo; Diego Chara, Eryk Williamson, Marvin Loria (Andy Polo 67’), Diego Valeri (Dairon Asprilla 60’), Yimmi Chara; Jeremy Ebobisse (Felipe Mora 60’)

Substitutes not used: Pablo Bonilla, Renzo Zambrano, Zachery McGraw, Blake Bodily

Total shots: 11
Shots on goal: 4
Fouls: 15
Corner-kicks: 7
Saves: 2



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