PORTLAND, Oregon - The Seattle Sounders fell 3-1 in their first Cascadia Cup rivalry matchup of 2016 with the Portland Timbers at Providence Park on Sunday, unable to overcome a brace from Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri and a second-half insurance tally from Fanendo Adi.
Chad Marshall scored the lone goal for Seattle in the 59th minute, the third goal of the season for the standout center back.
The Timbers had an initial chance to grab the first-half lead in the 12th minute after Valeri set up Lucas Melano with a look right in front of the Seattle goal, but the Portland forward skied the attempt over the crossbar.
Seattle had a golden opportunity to make Portland pay for the missed chance just five minutes later after rookie forward Jordan Morris was set up with a point-blank look of his own off a feed from Andreas Ivanschitz. Morris pushed the attempt wide, however, keeping the game scoreless.
Portland would draw first blood in the 44th, on a counterattack that ended with Melano feeding Valeri just outside the Seattle penalty box. The Timbers’ dynamic midfielder slotted his attempt past Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei and into the net, giving the hosts the 1-0 advantage heading into halftime.
Valeri doubled Portland’s lead just after second half kickoff off a gorgeous strike that he put by Frei from a nearly impossible angle, putting the Timbers up 2-0.
The Sounders got one back in the 59th minute after Marshall got his head to a corner kick from Ivanschitz and cashed it home past Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson, cutting the deficit to 2-1 and affording Seattle a chance to come up with an equalizer.
But Adi sealed the result in the 64th off another Portland counterattack, this time tapping home a feed from Melano to give the Timbers the 3-1 lead that would hold as the final. The sides will meet twice more before the end of season, once at CenturyLink Field in Seattle on Aug. 21 and at Providence Park a week later on Aug. 28.
The loss knocked the Sounders to 6-11-2 on the season ahead of their next match, a road fixture against Sporting Kansas City next Sunday. Sounders midfielder Osvaldo Alonso will be forced to miss that game with yellow card accumulation, while forward Clint Dempsey will return after serving a one-game suspension against Portland on Sunday.
Before the match against SKC, however, the Sounders will return to U.S. Open Cup play in a road quarterfinal matchup with the LA Galaxy on Wednesday.