Seattle Sounders 1, Portland Timbers 1 | 2017 MLS Match Recap
Goals were scarce. But there was no shortage of angst, tension and bad blood as the Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers added another dramatic chapter to their longstanding rivalry with a 1-1 draw at CenturyLink Field on Sunday night.
Cristian Roldan gave the Sounders an early lead with a scrappy goal off a corner kick. Then Diego Valeri and Darren Mattocks teamed up to earn and dispatch a penalty kick in the first half's dying moments, drawing the visitors level.
Though the second stanza featured ample ebb and flow and several inviting chances for both sides – as well as a straight red card for Seattle's Nouhou Tolo in the final seconds of the game – neither Stefan Frei nor Jeff Attinella would be beaten again, allowing the Timbers to head south with a hard-earned road point.
- CASCADIA = CONTROVERSY: The flashpoints always seem to flare a little hotter in this matchup, and Sunday was no exception, with referee Mark Geiger at the center of some hotly-debated decisions. Seattle fans in particular were frustrated to see several shouts for penalty kicks go unheeded, while some thought Portland's Sebastian Blanco was just as deserving of an ejection for a first-half collision with Kelvin Leerdam as Tolo was for his. Such is the way of this rivalry.
- MORRIS, MISSING: Like many others in MLS over the years, Jordan Morris has hit the so-called "sophomore slump" in his second year as a pro, bagging just three goals and one assist thus far in league play after hitting for 12 and four in his 2016 Rookie of the Year campaign. On Sunday he failed to convert on two one-on-one breakaways with only Attinella to beat. But his coach is keeping the faith:
"Players go through ups and downs. Jordan will find his form. What I was pleased about was he made the right movements and got in on goal."— Sounder At Heart (@sounderatheart) August 28, 2017
- TIMBERS RISING: This was a welcome result for the visitors, especially given their woeful history in Seattle. It also pushes them into second place in the Western Conference, albeit ahead of several teams with games in hand on Portland. After a pretty dispiriting 0-3-3 stretch in midsummer, PTFC have rebounded with a 4-1-2 run since July 23 and coach Caleb Porter will be happy to see his side gutting out results in a variety of ways.