MLS Game 25 – Providence Park
08/24/2014: Sunny, 26C/79F
Pre-game records: Portland Timbers (W7-D10-L7) vs. Seattle Sounders (W13-D3-L7)
Portland Timbers – GLK Donovan Ricketts, DEF Danny O’Rourke, DEF Norberto Paparatto, DEF Liam Ridgewell, DEF Michael Harrington, MID Will Johnson, MID Diego Chara, MID Gaston Fernandez, MID Darlington Nagbe, FWD Maximiliano Urruti, MID Diego Valeri. Formation: 4-2-3-1.
Seattle Sounders - GLK Stefan Frei, DEF DeAndre Yedlin, DEF Chad Marshall, DEF Zach Scott, DEF Leonardo Gonzalez, MID Brad Evans, MID Osvaldo Alonso, MID Gonzalo Pineda, MID Marco Pappa, FWD Obafemi Martins, FWD Clint Dempsey. Formation: 4-4-2.
It was a gloriously sunny day here in Portland, Oregon as the Portland Timbers hosted the Seattle Sounders for the second time this season at Providence Park. The last encounter at this ground resulted in an amazing 4-4 draw with two late goals from Clint Dempsey to rescue a point from a game that seemed to be far out of reach for the Sounders when the Timbers were 4-2 up with 8 minutes left on the clock. If this game had even half of the drama of that game, then the fans would surely be in for a treat on this beautiful summer’s day in the Pacific Northwest.
Both sides were coming off of 1-1 draws with the Timbers having earned their result at New England and Seattle drawing at home to San Jose. Seattle have gone slightly off the boil in recent weeks with 3 defeats in their last 6 MLS games while the Timbers were on a better run of form with 3 wins, 1 draw, and 2 defeats in their last 6 matches. Portland were just 2 points and 1 spot outside of the playoff places coming into this game and after an up and down season, they are looking to put a good run together to ensure a playoff berth while Seattle are comfortable tied at the top of the league.
7 mins: After some feisty opening exchanges in a charged atmosphere, Darlington Nagbe wins a corner for the Timbers and Valeri’s delivery finds Urruti’s head on the edge of the 6 yard box and the ball hits Clint Dempsey’s raised arm in close range but the officials didn’t see it and nothing is given although it looked to be a penalty.
10 mins: Diego Valeri takes a free kick from 25 yards out after Nagbe is fouled by DeAndre Yedlin and it deflected off the wall and grazed the top of the crossbar at the far post as the Timbers began to turn up the pressure on the Sounders goal.
13 mins: An excellent move for the Sounders as Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins combine beautifully and it’s Dempsey who curls a shot low from just outside the penalty area and it beats Ricketts but not the far post and it remains 0-0.
GOAL 17 mins: Some nice work up the right wing and Brad Evans breezes past Ridgewell to slot the ball low across the 6 yard box and Obafemi Martins is there to easily slot the ball home and put the away side ahead. Yet again, the Timbers have to try to come back from behind at home. Portland Timbers 0-1 Seattle Sounders.
21 mins: Seattle expose an again below par Portland defense as once again Clint Dempsey goes close with a thunderous shot from the edge of the box that sails over the bar.
29 mins: Johnson and Valeri combine for Portland and Valeri hits one from the edge of the box and it deflects over the bar for a corner from which Paparatto also has an attempt deflected wide, this time a header as the Timbers look to get back into the match.
GOAL 35 mins: Seattle score again and this time on the counter attack from a Portland corner. Obafemi Martins latches on to a flick out from a defending corner and he runs into the opposing half and has time to pick out a measured pass to Clint Dempsey who slots home under Ricketts from the edge of the penalty area and the Portland defense is found wanting yet again. Portland Timbers 0-2 Seattle Sounders.
Seattle clearly had a game plan to catch the Timbers on the break and playing the ball out wide and it was very effective in the first half while the Timbers struggled once again at home to defend well and paid the price with two goals against and nothing in return despite having two possible handballs inside the penalty area turned down and hitting the woodwork twice. Despite once again having more of the possession and shots at home, Portland just could not find that scoring touch in the first half.
Half Time Score: Portland Timbers 0-2 Seattle Sounders
Shots: POR 13-10 SEA
On Target: POR 3-3 SEA
Corners: POR 9-2 SEA
Possession: Portland Timbers 56.8%-43.2% Seattle Sounders
52 mins: Johnson burst through the middle and hits a low shot from the edge of the box but unfortunately it is not wide enough of the keeper Stefan Frei who parries it out and it falls to Danny O’Rourke and he hits it over the bar from a fairly tight angle. The Timbers were pushing more numbers forward in this second half looking for a comeback.
GOAL 70 mins: Seattle take advantage of the Timbers going 3 at the back and Dempsey, Martins, and finally Chad Barrett find it all too easy to march into the Timbers penalty area and it’s Barrett who picks his spot and hammers the ball home from around 10 yards out to pile yet more misery onto the Portland faithful. Portland Timbers 0-3 Seattle Sounders.
GOAL 73 mins: Just when it looked all over, Rodney Wallace puts in a lovely cross from the left hand side and it’s Fernendo Adi who had just come onto the pitch who volleys it calmly into the net past Frei. Was this going to be yet another dramatic finish at Providence Park? Portland Timbers 1-3 Seattle Sounders.
GOAL 76 mins: Obafemi Martins turns back the clock as he and Dempsey combine and then he takes on 5 Timbers defenders and slots home past Ricketts for the goal of the day and kills off any hopes that the Timbers had of getting back into this match. Portland Timbers 1-4 Seattle Sounders.
87 mins: Fernendo Adi and former Sounder Steve Zakuani combine and it’s the latter who hits a low shot from the right hand side of the penalty and it fizzes just past the far post. Adi and Wallace have injected some much needed pace into the attacks for the Timbers but it’s all too late for the home side.
GOAL 91 mins: Will Johnson slots a ball through to Steve Zakuani who wriggles free of defenders at the edge of the box but realizing that his path to goal is blocked, he slides the ball to the side and finds Fernendo Adi who scores for the second time in the match to grab a brace for the home side. Portland Timbers 2-4 Seattle Sounders.
This was a very classy performance from the Seattle Sounders who have looked a little shaky of late but they came to Portland with a game plan that allowed them to hurt a fragile Timbers defense with good wide play and two excellent displays from both Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey. Timbers coach Caleb Porter decided to go with Ridgewell and Paparatto as a central defensive partnership but to be honest Paparatto has not looked good at home all season and once again was poor in decision making and marking.
For the Timbers? There are 9 games of the season left and unless they can get on a decent run of results soon, there will be no more games for them this season. It is their home form at the moment that is hurting them as they have only won 3 games all season at Providence Park and Caleb Porter will know that this has to improve if they are to stand any chance of making the playoffs for a 2nd season in a row. Possession does not win you games and the Timbers need to find some real cutting edge to their play in the final hurdles of the season.
Full Time Score: Portland Timbers 2-4 Seattle Sounders
Shots: POR 21-16 SEA
Shots On Target: POR 6-6 SEA
Corners: POR 13-3 SEA
Possession: Portland Timbers 55.4%-44.6% Seattle Sounders
MOTM: Obafemi Martins – Seattle Sounders