PORTLAND – The Seattle Sounders weathered the storm after a disastrous first half in their Sunday afternoon road matchup with the Portland Timbers at Providence Park, but a pair of second-half tallies from Andreas Ivanschitz and Jordan Morris ultimately weren’t enough to save the Sounders from a 4-2 defeat at the hands of their Cascadia Cup rivals.
Portland jumped all over Seattle in the opening 45 minutes, taking a resounding 4-0 lead off goals from Vytautas Andriuskevicius, Fanendo Adi, Lucas Melano and Steven Taylor.
Morris and Ivanschitz would give the Sounders a momentary gasp of hope with their back-to-back tallies after second-half kickoff, but Seattle were unable to complete what would have been a historic second-half comeback.
The loss snapped the Sounders’ five-game unbeaten streak and was the first under interim head coach Brian Schmetzer, who took over late last month. It also kept the Sounders (9-13-4, 31 pts.) idling in eighth place in the Western Conference, four points out of the final playoff spot heading into a bye week.
Portland started the fireworks in the 16th minute after a corner kick from Jack Jewsbury found the head of Vytas, who zipped a header on goal. Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei managed to get a hand on the shot but the ensuing deflection bounced off the crossbar and over the goal line, staking the hosts to the 1-0 advantage.
The Timbers then doubled the lead just minutes later after Adi pounced on a rebound off a shot from Valeri and poked it past Frei, pushing the early lead to 2-0.
Melano joined in with a tap-in finish in the 29th-minute, set up by a cross from midfielder Diego Chara, putting the home side up 3-0 before the game’s half-hour mark. Timbers defender Steven Taylor then capped off the first-half barrage with the fourth goal just before halftime after he snuck to the far post unmarked to finish off a free kick from Valeri, sending the shell-shocked Sounders into the locker room at halftime in a massive 4-0 deficit
Seattle rallied behind a shot from Ivanschitz that deflected off of Taylor and into the net, cutting the lead to 4-1 in the 47th minute. Then Morris then cut the deficit to 4-2, finishing off a cross from Nicolas Lodeiro in the 51st minute, the team-high ninth goal of 2016 for the rookie forward and the fifth assist in six games this season for the Uruguayan international.
But the Sounders struggled to find another goal and ultimately settled for the loss, their second in three games against the Timbers at Providence Park this season.
One bright spot for the Sounders was the long-awaited return of defender Roman Torres, who came on at halftime and logged 45 minutes in his first action since he suffered a devastating knee injury a year ago.
The Sounders return to action on the road at the San Jose Earthquakes on Sept. 10.