SEATTLE - Clint Dempsey tallied a second-half brace, Cristian Roldan added an insurance goal in the 83rd minute and the Seattle Sounders cruised to a 3-1 Cascadia Cup triumph over the Portland Timbers at CenturyLink Field on Sunday evening.
Dempsey opened the scoring with a 61st-minute penalty kick and tacked on another in the 80th, bringing his goal tally up to eight on the 2016 season, before Roldan headed home the dagger off a Nicolas Lodeiro corner kick.
Fandendo Adi pulled one back for Portland in second-half stoppage time, sealing the 3-1 scoreline that would hold as the final, moving Seattle (9-12-3, 30 pts.) within two points of the Timbers for the sixth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
The Sounders are now unbeaten in their past four matches since a midseason coaching shakeup and the arrival of Lodeiro in late July, including two straight wins at CenturyLink Field.
The Sounders had a good look at opening the scoring in the 10th minute after rookie forward Jordan Morris muscled away two Portland defenders and freed himself up for a breakaway attempt against Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson. But Morris pushed his shot just wide of the goal.
Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso had a look of his own just two minutes later, teeing up a rocket shot from distance that forced Gleeson into a diving save to keep the game level.
Seattle had one more notable look before halftime off a cross from Dempsey that Lodeiro whipped on target with his head. Gleeson was up for the task again, however, laying out again to deny Lodeiro’s shot and keep the score at 0-0 as the contest hit halftime.
The Sounders grabbed the lead in the 61st minute after Roldan was taken down in the penalty box by Portland defender Vytas Andriuskevicius, drawing a penalty kick whistle from referee Alan Kelly. Dempsey would slot the ensuing attempt from the spot past Gleeson, giving Seattle the lead.
The Timbers had a golden opportunity to equalize just minutes later off a breakaway attempt from forward Jack McInerney, who was all alone against Sounders ‘keeper Stefan Frei. But Frei made a heroic save to deny McInerney’s shot, allowing Seattle to preserve the lead.
Dempsey then finished off a left-footed shot from just outside the box off a feed from Roldan in the 80th minute, and Roldan put the contest away in the 83rd, cashing home a header off a pinpoint corner kick from Lodeiro that was flicked backwards by defender Brad Evans.
Roldan has now scored two goals and two assists in his past four games, and he’s drawn two penalty kicks in the past two games.
The Sounders will return to action on the road at the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday before completing the season series against the Timbers on Sunday at Providence Park in Portland.