Seattle Sounders 3, Portland Timbers 1 | US Open Cup Quarterfinal Match Recap
TUKWILA, Wash. – The Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers needed extra time to decide a wild US Open Cup quarterfinal match in front of a raucous crowd at Starfire Stadium, with Seattle ultimately pulling out a dramatic 3-1 victory over their heated Cascadia rivals. With the win, the Sounders clinched a berth in the US Open Cup semifinals.
Former Timber Kenny Cooper netted the winning effort in the 111th minute of extra time with a flicked header that snuck past onrushing Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts, off the post and into the goal.
The late strike was a mortal blow for the Timbers, who had Diego Chara sent off nine minutes into extra time for what referee Chris Penso deemed to be a reckless tackle, forcing Portland to play a man down for the rest of the match after they had equalized with almost the last kick of regulation.
The game was an entertaining affair from the start, with a fast-paced, back-and-forth style of play from each side. Seattle was able to pressure Ricketts and his defense throughout the opening frame but to no avail, leaving the contest deadlocked 0-0 at halftime.
The high-octane style continued into the second half, with each side producing good looks on goal in the first five minutes. The Sounders finally broke through in the 69th minute after Lamar Neagle found himself isolated on the right side of the Portland defense, ripping a feed into the box. Osvaldo Alonso made what looked like a wild leaping attempt from a difficult angle, but somehow managed to make contact and sneak the ball just past Ricketts to give the Sounders an improbable 1-0 lead.
But Portland would manage to tie it up in dramatic fashion in the final minute of stoppage time, when forward Darlington Nagbe managed to tee up a rocket shot from inside the box that screamed past Sounders 'keeper Stefan Frei to pull Portland even at 1-1 and send the game into extra time.
Between Chara's expulsion and Cooper's goal, Portland's joy was short-lived, and Marco Pappa put the nail in the Timbers’ coffin five minutes after the Sounders took the lead, punching a shot by Ricketts once again to give Seattle an insurmountable two-goal cushion.
Seattle are now back in the Open Cup semifinals for the seventh time in eight years (counting two appearances as a lower division side), and will host four-time winners Chicago Fire on August 13. In the meantime, the two rivals will face off once more on Sunday when they meet at Seattle's CenturyLink Field in MLS play.