After looking like an obvious early contender for the MLS Supporters’ Shield, the Seattle Sounders are barely clinging onto the final playoff place in the Western Conference.
In front of 64,358 fans at CenturyLink Field – the fourth-largest crowd in club history and biggest in MLS this season – Sounders FC earned a crucial 2-1 win over the Portland Timbers on Sunday.
The Sounders got as ideal a start as they could have possibly hoped for on Sunday when forward Obafemi Martins poked a loose ball past Portland goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey to give his side the lead in just the sixth minute.
Portland (11-9-7) saw its four-match unbeaten streak snapped and the Timbers were more interested in discussing officiating.
Before the match, the U.S. national team announced Dempsey will be called in for the September 8 friendly against Brazil, but Schmid said he will continue discussions with national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Brad Evans would double the lead before the break and the Sounders held on as Portland pressed throughout the second half to take all three points from the Cascadia Cup clash.
Martins made a well-timed run via the again of Portland’s protection and acquired an extended cross from Tyrone Mears.
“The first goal was a great effort put in: (Nelson) Valdez and others scraping out the ball and then Oba jumps on the ball and scores”, Schmid said. “I think every game takes on [its] own character, and it’s the way that guys approach it, to be honest”. Jewsbury twice missed with headers, once wide of the net and once saved by Frei. Nat Borchers misplaced management of a move and Alvas Powell had an opportunity to clear the ball from hazard, however Martins pressured the turnover and beat Kwarasey with a left-footed shot into the open internet. Diego Valeri’s drive from simply contained in the penalty space was punched over the crossbar by Frei.
Timbers coach Caleb Porter: “We were outstanding today, and we deserved more out of the game”.
That – and five saves by goalkeeper Stefan Frei – allowed them to survive Jack Jewsbury goal off a Timbers corner kick in the 58 minute.
“As your back gets pushed farther and farther back into the wall, at some point, you’ve got to make a stand”, Evans said.