PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders provided a nationally televised taste of one of North America’s best soccer rivalries – and didn’t disappoint.
A 78th-minute goal by Timbers defender Rodney Wallace equaled Sounders forward Fredy Montero’s wonder strike from the 57th minute as the bitter rivals played to a passionate 1-1 draw on a sunny Saturday afternoon at JELD-WEN Field that was seen on NBC.
The result will carry Cascadia Cup drama into the final month of the MLS season as the Timbers maintain their three-point advantage in the fan-based, three-team derby among the league’s three Pacific Northwest teams.
Seattle still has games against Vancouver (Sept. 29 at BC Place) and Portland (Oct. 7 at CenturyLink Field), while the Timbers face the Whitecaps in the teams’ regular season finale on Oct. 21 at BC Place.
As far as the Sounders’ MLS exploits go, with their second draw in their last three matches, they missed a golden opportunity to gain ground on first-place San Jose in the Western Conference standings in a race that also has Supporters’ Shield implications.
Portland temporarily jumped into a tie with Chivas for last place in the Western Conference with 28 points from 26 games, pending Chivas’ game later Saturday against San Jose.
A back-and-forth slugfest hit a crescendo when Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts and Seattle forward Eddie Johnson collided in the 52nd minute, which left the Jamaican writhing on the ground in pain for several minutes. Ricketts would initially stay in the match, but was forced to come off in the 57th minute for backup Joe Bendik.
And that’s when Montero took advantage, scoring on the restart just seconds later. The speedy forward slid under a goal kick by Michael Gspurning and let fly a right-footed missile from the right corner of the box that beat an unsuspecting Bendik to the top shelf.
But Portland wouldn’t go quietly.
Off a corner kick in the 78th minute, Wallace skied to meet a Jack Jewsbury cross that pinballed in front of the goal before Seattle’s attempt to clear it out of danger pushed the ball just inside the post.
With the game in the balance, both teams got chances at heroics in the final minutes.
Portland forward Bright Dike had a shot that banged off the goal post two minutes into stoppage time, and Seattle midfielder Osvaldo Alonso attempted a right-footed blast that was cleaned up by Bendik just before the final whistle.
Portland next travels to face San Jose on Wednesday, while Seattle shifts gears to a CONCACAF Champions League match the same day against Marathon in Honduras.
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Portland Timbers (7-14-7, 28pts) vs. Seattle Sounders FC (13-6-9, 48pts)
Sept. 15, 2012 – JELD-WEN Field
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Seattle Sounders FC 0 1 1
Portland Timbers 0 1 1
SEA: Montero (Gspurning), 57
POR: Wallace (Jewsbury), 78
SEA: Johnson (Caution), 26
SEA: Martinez (Caution), 79
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Ricketts (Bendik, 57), D Kimura, D Mosquera, D Horst, D Wallace, M Nagbe, M Jewsbury ©, M Chara, F Zizzo (Alhassan, 83), F Dike, F Songo’o (Mwanga, 72)
Substitutes Not Used: D Danso, M Alexander, F Boyd, F Fucito
TOTAL SHOTS: 17 (Jewsbury, 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Wallace, 2); FOULS: 12 (Chara, 4); OFFSIDES: 1; CORNER KICKS: 9; SAVES: 2 (Bendik, 2)
SEA: GK Gspurning, D Johansson, D Hurtado, D Parke, D Gonzalez, M Zakuani (Martinez, 70), M Alonso ©, M Rose, M Evans (Burch, 78) , F Montero, F Johnson
Substitutes Not Used: GK Ford, D Ianni, D Scott, M Caskey, F Ochoa
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Montero, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Montero, 2); FOULS: 11 (Gonzalez, Johnson, 2); OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 2
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Assistant Referees: Peter Manikowski, Mike Kampmeinert
4th Official: Jesus Cisneros
Attendance: 20, 438
Time of Game: 1:53
Weather: Sunny, 74 degrees
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial