SEATTLE — Rodney Wallace did his part to take some of the gleam off Obafemi Martins’ Sounders debut.
The midfielder came off the bench to bury a header in second half stoppage time to salvage a point for the Timbers in a 1-1 tie in Seattle on Saturday.
Until Wallace’s goal, the Sounders seemed to be putting the final touches on what was looking to be one of the most satisfying weeks in their MLS history.
Seattle had advanced to the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals with a dramatic come-from-behind victory over Tigres UANL, secured the signature of Martins and even got him into the game as a 70th minute substitute.
But Wallace’s goal kept it from being perfect. The second-half sub was able to find himself with an open header about 10 yards out off a feed from Timbers center back Andrew Jean-Baptiste. It caught Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning flat-footed and his defense only spectating as it sailed into the back of the net.
Seattle had jumped ahead early on a goal from Eddie Johnson.
Steve Zakuani picked up a stray pass in midfield and immediately got the play moving in the opposite direction. He streaked down the left side of the field, cut in around the top of the penalty area and picked out Johnson for a one-time finish with an inch-perfect cross in the 13th minute.
The goal was Johnson’s first of the MLS season, but his second of the week and another sign that his early season misses were already forgotten. It was also his fifth career Cascadia Cup goal, three of which have come against the Timbers.
Johnson showed off that rediscovered confidence repeatedly for the next several minutes, as the Sounders threatened to tack on another goal. He slipped past Jean-Baptiste on the edge of the penalty area in the 15th minute, drawing a yellow card when he was pulled down from behind. He nearly added a second goal in the 20th minute, using a stepover to get past Diego Chara and firing a shot that forced Donovan Ricketts to make a diving save.
Portland had a penalty shout on at least one of those tackles in the 24th minute when Ryan Johnson was taken down in the box. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado got the ball first, but appeared to scissor Johnson’s legs on the follow through.
The Timbers had been threatening for much of the match, but had been unable to really test Gspurning mainly due to some well-timed tackles by Sounders defenders Hurtado and Djimi Traore.
Seattle return to the field next Saturday, heading down to San Jose. Portland are off until March 30, when they travel to Colorado.
Portland Timbers (0-1-2, 2pts) at Seattle Sounders FC (0-1-1, 1pt)
March 16, 2013 – CenturyLink Field (Seattle, Wash.)
Goals by Half 1 2 F
Portland Timbers 0 1 1
Seattle Sounders FC 1 0 1
SEA: Johnson (Zakuani), 13
POR: Wallace (Jean-Baptiste), 90+1
POR: Jean-Baptiste (Caution), 16
SEA: Alonso (Caution), 43
POR: Johnson, W. (Caution), 50
SEA: Hurtado (Caution), 73
SEA: Johnson (Caution), 82
Lineups & Stats
POR: GK Ricketts, D Zemanski, D Jean-Baptiste, D Silvestre, D Harrington, M Chara, M Jewsbury (Piquionne, 70), M Johnson, W. ©, F Valeri, F Johnson, R. (Valencia, 90+3), F Nagbe (Wallace, 80)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Kocic, D Miller, D Tucker-Gangnes, M Alhassan
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Valeri, 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Valeri, Wallace, 1); FOULS: 18 (Johnson, R., 4); OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 8; SAVES: 2
SEA: GK Gspurning, D Yedlin, D Traore, D Hurtado, D Burch, M Martinez (Martins, 70), M Alonso ©, M Rose, M Zakuani (Caskey, 81), F Johnson, F Ochoa (Rosales, 61)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Hahnemann, D Scott, D Gonzalez, M Carrasco
TOTAL SHOTS: 7 (Johnson, 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Johnson, 2); FOULS: 19 (Alonso, 5); OFFSIDES: 3; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 1
Referee: Kevin Scott
Assistant Referees: Frank Anderson, Mike Rottersman
4th Official: Drew Fischer
Time of Game: 1:53
All statistics contained in this box score are unofficial