PORTLAND — Fresh off a thrilling midweek away win at Toronto FC, the Seattle Sounders fell to the Portland Timbers 1-0 on Sunday at Providence Park in the 100th all-time meeting between the two clubs.
Sebastián Blanco scored in the 86th minute to snag all three points for the hosts and ended a busy three-games-in-nine-days stretch for the Sounders that began with a home draw with Columbus Crew SC last weekend.
“If you were to tell me that in a week that we had a win, a loss, a draw – that’s an average week,” said Head Coach Brian Schmetzer. “We don’t want to be average. We want to be a championship-caliber team. That actually drives us to be better. That’s what it does. We are not going to sit here and feel sorry for ourselves because we lost one game. It’s as simple as that.”
Added midfielder Cristian Roldan, who wore the captain’s armband for the second straight match: “1-1-1 — [it's] something we don’t pride ourselves on. We wish we were 3-0-0. That’s the reality of this sport, the reality of this league. You feel like you deserve a point or a win, and suddenly it can change in one moment. Unfortunately, that’s what happened today.”
Seattle was dealt two major blows on the back line in the second half when left back Nouhou and center back Kim Kee-hee each needed to be substituted off, with the latter having had his head cut open on a defensive challenge in the box. The change in personnel disrupted any rhythm from what had until that point been a very effective five-man back line that had stifled Portland’s attack.
“You can’t remove two guys off the back line and expect there to be a ton of cohesion,” said Schmetzer. “Kim was having a good game. Jordan McCrary came on and did a good job and [Jordy] Delem slipped back there. They were capable replacements, but you never want to take two changes on your back line.”
Seattle now has two weeks to prepare for its next match when it welcomes Real Salt Lake to CenturyLink Field on Saturday, May 26 (TICKETS). The extended layoff will hopefully help the Sounders get healthier yet again, with Osvaldo Alonso (quad strain) and Will Bruin (heel pain) each not factoring on Sunday. Nicolás Lodeiro (toe fracture), Román Torres (hamstring strain) and Víctor Rodríguez (knee sprain) also weren’t available against the Timbers.
Despite the tough result, however, the Sounders remain steadfast in building upon what was a grueling and testing week.
“You live and you learn from these moments,” said Roldan. “You take this little punch, you remember and [get better for] the next game.”