The Portland Timbers put together a 1-0 victory over the Seattle Sounders in a game that felt like it was won by an even wider margin. After a spell of early Seattle pressure, the Timbers began to turn the screw and finally broke through with a Kalif Alhassan goal in the 45'.
The goal came after a scramble in the Seattle box saw DeAndre Yeldin deflect a low cross that bounced to Kalif at the top of the box. Hitting the ball on the volley, Kalif buried a low, hard shot past a diving Marcus Hahnemann. With the Timbers Army erupting in cheers, Kalif ran to the corner flag and earned himself a yellow card by taking off his shirt in celebration. Worth it.
The half ended quickly from there, cutting off the Sounders before they could make any real attempts at mounting a comeback.
From the start of the second half, the Timbers looked to be in control of the game as they enjoyed long spells of possession. However, as the half wore on the game became increasingly physical as referee Hilario Grajeda let a number of hard challenges go.
The hard play came to a head in the 73' when Oswaldo Alonso put in a tackle on Will Johnson as he carried the ball down the field after play was stopped for a foul on Darlington Nagbe. The tackle put the Timbers' skipper on the ground and when he got up, Johnson was immediately in the face of Alonso. Alonso then elbowed Johnson in the head, sending Will back down to his knees and catching the eye of the linesman who waved over Grajeda. In a clear cut call, Grajeda issued a red card, putting the Sounders down a man and drawing several minutes of mass confrontation from Seattle.
Despite their man disadvantage, Seattle still pushed the pace of the game, getting several chances to tie the match.
The closest call for the Timbers came in the first of five minutes of stoppage time as the ball fell to Steve Zakuani in the Timbers box. Looking primed to copy Alhassan's goal from earlier in the match, Zakuani fired a bullet only to have a lunging Kah get a foot to it and block the shot into the post.
With the Sounders looking increasingly frustrated, the final whistle blew, putting the Timbers into first place in the Western Conference,