Plucky Portland Plunder Point after Late Lapse by Superb Sounders

Johnson nets the winnerMike Russell

Johnson nets the opener for Seattle

Sounders FC 1 : 1 Portland Timbers

A late late equaliser from the head of Rodney Wallace procured a draw for Portland Timbers in the season’s first Cascadia derby.

Sounders had led through Eddie Johnson’s first MLS goal of 2013 and had thenceforth comfortably handled all that Portland threw at them. The Timbers had the majority of possession but lacked any potency or thrust between a first minute Gspurning save from Diego Valeri and the last minute Wallace equaliser.

Between those moments, the hosts had played most of the better football despite Portland’s never say die attitude. Portland’s play ventured on the predictable but much of that was due to the excellent reading of the game of the Sounders defensive engine, notably Osvaldo Alonso, Djimi Traore and Jhon Hurtado.

Sadly for them, especially Hurtado, all their effort will fade into the memory much faster than the one defensive howler that allowed Portland their equaliser.

The line ups had some unfamiliar looks. Ben Zemanksi took the right berth off Ryan Miller after the latter had looked unimpressive so far. The threat from Steve Zakuani was beyond perhaps what Caleb Porter thought him capable. Darlington Nagbe was given a free role to run in both a horizontal and vertical channel. Obafemi Martins and Frederic Piquionne made their respective benches. Ryan Johnson played as a sole forward while Eddie Johnson was partnered with Sammy Ochoa.

Andy Rose joined Osvaldo Alonso in a tough defensive midfield for the Sounders.Gspurning had to work in the first minute when Valeri tried a long distance curler. He was rewarded by being the recipient of Alonso’s first foul two minutes later.

Nagbe just failed to connect in the tenth when Rose surprisingly stopped tracking back and the small forward continued his run.

But it was Sounders who took the lead. Chara gave the ball away in a harmful area to Zakuani who hared down the left. His cross to Johnson was inch perfect, with neither Will Johnson or Zemanski having the legs to catch the speedy Congolese winger. Johnson netted with aplomb.


Obafemi Martins takes his first look at the Seattle night skyline

Sounders then poured it on. From the left wing, Johnson received great ball from Steve Zakuani in the centre. He forced Ricketts to parry.

Portland could have had a penalty shout in the first half. Hurtado tackled fairly but his trailing leg scythed Ryan Johnson in the 27th minute. Portland had a decent spell just after the half hour.

Their best effort was wasted by Nagbe who controled on his thigh well enough but shot wide and lame after a good cross from Zemanski.

Alonso had already received a well earned yellow for repetitive fouling this time but the next one was worth it to break up some slick Timbers passing.

Johnson fired the free kick wastefully at the wall.

Valeri hit the bar with a curling free kick after another Alonso foul, this time on Zemanski. But it was Alonso drawing a foul that produced the next yellow, for a trip by Will Johnson.

Silvestre miskicked another clearance when he seemed to have minimal control of the direction.

Nagbe had two bites at the cherry in 66 minutes, the second of which was deflected for a corner.

Piquionne and Martins arrived off the bench, the latter to great applause, but Portland needed more than that to change up their total lack of unpredictability.

With 90 minutes gone, Portland finally took advantage of a rare Sounders lapse. Hurtado stood still and substitute Rodney Wallace found all the space in the world to head a Baptiste lob past a bemused Gspurning.

Sounders played some excellent football but the Timbers were rewarded for plugging away, keeping their discipline and eventually being in the right place at the right time.

Sounders 1 : 1 Timbers – Photo Gallery

Seattle Sounders FC – Michael Gspurning, DeAndre Yedlin, Djimi Traore, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch, Mario Martinez (Obafemi Martins 70), Andy Rose, Osvaldo Alonso, Steve Zakuani (Alex Caskey 81), Sammy Ochoa (Mauro Rosales 61), Eddie Johnson.

Substitutes Not Used: Marcus Hahnemann, Zach Scott, Leo Gonzalez, Servando Carrasco.

TOTAL SHOTS: 7 (Johnson 3); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Johnson 2); FOULS: 19 (Alonso 5); OFFSIDE: 3 (Johnson 3); CORNER KICKS: 4 (Martinez, Rosales 2); SAVES: 1 (Gspurning 1).

Portland Timbers  – Donovan Ricketts, Ben Zemanski, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Mikael Silvestre, Michael Harrington, Will Johnson, Diego Valeri, Diego Chara, Jack Jewsbury (Frederic Piquionne 70), Darlington Nagbe (Rodney Wallace 80), Ryan Johnson (Jose Valencia 90+3).

Substitutes Not Used: Milos Kocic, Dylan Tucker-Gagnes, Ryan Miller, Kalif Alhassan.

TOTAL SHOTS: 19 (Valeri 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Valeri, Wallace 1); FOULS: 18 (R. Johnson 4); OFFSIDE: 3 (R. Johnson 3); CORNER KICKS: 8 (Valeri 7); SAVES: 2 (Ricketts 2).

Attendance: 40,150

Portland captain Will Johnson in action

Portland captain Will Johnson in action


About Author

Steve is the founder and owner of Prost Amerika. He covered the expansion of MLS soccer in Cascadia at first hand. As Editor in Chief of, he was accredited at the 2014 World Cup Final. He is the former President of the North American Soccer Reporters Association/ Originally from Glasgow, he is a supporter of the Great Glasgow Alternative, Partick Thistle.


  1. I don’t think Ricketts had to do anything other than pick up balls for goal kicks in the second half.

  2. Amazingly I think Mr. Stott called a pretty good game from the center of the field… Many calls were disliked by the fans but for the most part were the correct calls…. Good game too bad we had to give up two points on a late error…

    • I am closer to your view than some of the angry fans on FB. I thought it was a good game with many positives, more frankly for Seattle than Portland.

      But those positives the Timbers can take were more important, eg spirit. resilience and finally some road form.

    • Mr Editor how proud of you of Sigi that he choked back his complaints and said through gritted teeth, “No Comment about the referee” 🙂 Listening to it live it sounded like that took real will power.

      Not that he had much to complain about, both teams could equally find things to complain about which is fair i guess 🙂

      • He is to be commended on that. There were two big decisions for Kevin Stott, both of which could fairly have gone either way. One on a possible Timbers penalty, and the other on a possible Timbers red card. He declined on both.

  3. What exactly was so “superb” on the part of the Sounders? Were it not for a dreadful misplayed pass from Chara, or another blown PK call, the Timbers would be driving back toward fresh air with 3 points.
    I saw nothing remotely superb from the Sounders, other than a decent rearguard action that was little more than bunker-ball. If this is the group expected to be MLS Cup or Bust, then I think the expectations are the problem.
    Sounders fans need to wake up to face a new reality: the days of enjoying the lion share of attacking possession and shots are over.

  4. “As a whole, we could have walked away tonight winning 1-0,” Schmid said, “even though it wasn’t a good performance.”

    “We’ve only got one point so far, but … nobody here is panicking,” Zakuani said. “We just have to figure out what’s going wrong and how to get ourselves really going.”

    Goalkeeper Michael Gspurning gave some credit, though, to the new-look Timbers under first-year coach Caleb Porter. “To be honest … Portland is a way better team than last year,” he said.

    …Sound “superb” to you?

    • I think the author might have misspelled it. The proper spelling is s-u-b-p-a-r.

    • John,

      If you want a website where there’s 100% unquestioning agreement with everything Sigi says, you’re in the wrong place my friend.

  5. I think the match was a bit more even from the 20th minute on than this summary indicates. Yes, Seattle had the advantage to sit back, but it cost them. Portland had nearly 60% possession in the second half, and while more possession isn’t unusual for a team chasing a goal, they had double the shots as Seattle (although many were off target), more corners, more duels won, etc. In the end, a think a draw was a fair result.

    Oh, and it wasn’t Jhon Kennedy Hurtado’s fault on the goal. Yedlin and Alonso stood around and left Wallace unmarked, while Hurtado was closely marking Ryan Johnson and left him when the cross came in and Wallace was left unmarked. Hurtado ended up in the highlights, but it was Yedlin (primarily) and Alonso who broke down.

    • Spicy McHaggis on

      It’s all about the communication on the backline. Hurtado being the veteran should have been calling for Yedlin to pick up Wallace, as he was busy with Ryan Johnson, but didn’t. Prior to that, Alonso should have been speaking up about the run that Wallace was making. Cerberus, should have also been calling out that Wallace run. As good as Yedlin is, we, the supporters and players alike have to remember that DeAndre is still a 19yr old rookie and give him the support, both moral and technical, that he needs to develop and grow. I’d be really surprised if defensive communication wasn’t high on the list for training this week.

  6. I’m having difficulty understanding Seattle’s play as superb. And the tackle on Johnson was more egregious than fair. Overall, Seattle outplayed Portland though and deserved the win, but both sides left a lot to be desired in my opinion.

    • If you’re talking about the Hurtado tackle on Ryan Johnson, I can tell you that we didn’t reach unanimity even in our Stadler and Waldorf corner of the press box. Sometimes people can just disagree about something like this and there’s not a right answer.

      If you gave a foul every time a trailing leg clattered the forward after a clean tackle, you would make football a non contact sport. On the other hand, there is no written immunity for a period after a fair tackle.

      It’s one of those calls that fans (and the Seattle coach) would whine at length about if it went against them, but barely otherwise mention.

      At the other end though, there was a case for a ‘clear goal scoring opportunity’ clause to be invoked when (I think) Baptiste held back a forward. It was cynical and just outside the box. Very nearly a red in the view of some around me.