Full Recap: Top of the Table

Stacey Neve

The Portland Timbers came into the game knowing the Seattle Sounders would put up a fight. Little did they know the game almost devolved into a fight. The Timbers did what they needed to and came away with the 1-0 victory over the Seattle Sounders.

Everyone stop what you are doing and take a deep breath. Exhale slowly. What a game, it was the prototypical rivalry game. Hard tackles, feisty attitudes, heart dropping moments and form gets thrown out the window. It wasn't the prettiest game and to a neutral observer it probably was a tough game to watch but in the end the Portland Timbers got the result they needed to move them to the top of the table.

From the first whistle you could tell the Seattle Sounders were not the same team that just lost two consecutive blow out games. They came in with a energy and a determination to show they still are a good team. The Portland Timbers on the other hand did not match their opponents initial surge and were caught flat footed for the first 15 minutes of the game. Seattle had the run of play for much of the first 15 minutes and even had a couple of opportunities to nab the all important first goal.

In the 13th minute, after a foul on Clint Dempsey (Which is the foul that separated his shoulder), Seattle had their best chance of the half. The free kick was lofted into the box and Portland's amazing set piece defending reared it's ugly head. Lamar Neagle was wide open in the box and his flick on was destined for the top right corner of the goal.

From the press box time seemed to slow down as I watched the ball fly towards the goal. At the last second this big bear claw like gloved hand comes out of nowhere to palm the ball up and off the crossbar for a corner kick. One minute later once again our hearts where in our stomachs. Not able to clear the corner completely Seattle played the ball to the top of the box to Adam Moffat. Moffat's picks up his head and hits a chip towards the back post towards Dempsey. Dempsey is able to find space between Portland's defenders and heads the ball just over the outstretched arms of Ricketts. This time instead of Ricketts making the save good old crossbar once again makes a save of the week worthy save.

Those two plays in a matter of a minute finally awoke the Timbers out of their slow start and from that point on they started to gain the run of play. The chances did not come until much later in the game but you could tell Portland was slowly taking over the game. While they were slowly winning the battle of the midfield when the Timbers entered the attacking third of the field they seemed to get the case of a sticky shoes and more often than not attacks died without a shot on goal.

With 5 minutes to go in the half the Portland had their best chance of the half. After some precise passing in the midfield Maximilian Urruti was passed the ball near midfield and his lay off to a sprinting Nagbe played him behind Seattle's defense. With Osvaldo Alonso on his hip Nagbe played the ball past the charging March Hanhemann but not past a last ditch tackle by Alonso.

It looked as if that was going to be Portland's only chance of the half as the clock reached the 45th minute. Portland mounted one last attack and the ball ended up at the feet of Jack Jewsbury on the right wing. Jewsbury took a touch, looked up and hit a cross into the box. Hanhemann took two or three steps towards the cross before realizing he was not able to get it and stopped. The header was won by Seattle but only as far as Kalif Alhassan at the top of the box and his low shot at the near post beat the retreating Hanhemann for the first goal of the game.

The second half was nothing a battle. As the game wore on the physical play ratcheted up and slowly the game got away from the referee. The physical nature of the game limited the chances during the run of play and created a stalemate. For the next 30 minutes the stalemate continued and so did the chippiness but in the 75th minute it all boiled over.

Jhon Kennedy Hurtado was a little late on a tackle on Nagbe. While the foul did produce the a card it wasn't what caused the boiling over. After the play the ball was up the field and both Alonso and Will Johnson were going after it. Alonso decided to tackle Will Johnson well after the whistle had blown. Will taking umbridge to the tackle bumped into Alonso and more than likely used some salty language. Alonso then threw an elbow at the head of Johnson and thus earned a red card.

The Seattle team, especially Alonso, was incensed by the red card and gave the AR an earful. Mauro Rosales then came off the bench and grabbed the AR's arm in an angry manner.

Even down to ten men Seattle was going to have a couple of chances to tie this game up. Portland was also going to have chances but instead of pressing the attack they inexplicably took their foot of the gas a little bit and did not produce the game ending second goal. Seattle's chance came in the waning minutes of the game and it was once again it was the defense of a second ball after the initial set piece that almost cost Portland all three points.

The second ball was played back into the box and it fell to Steve Zakuani about 8 yards from goal. Pa Madou Kah saw the danger and put his body on the line and was able to deflect the ball just enough to cause the shot to bounce off the cross bar and away from the goal. The rebound bounced right to Andy Rose but his shot was right at Jack Jewsbury who had tracked back to guard the post and he was able to clear the ball away. Once the ball was cleared Portland easily salted the game away until the referee blew the final whistle.

Observations

  • Congrats to the Vancouver Whitecaps on their Cascadia Cup win. Also the standings show Portland came in second.
  • I love Will Johnson Check out this exchange with a reporter:
  • This Portland Team will battle for each other and will not back down from a fight. What a difference a year makes.
  • This is the first time Portland has shutout Seattle and is the first time Seattle has been shutout since July 13th.
  • Look what one lucky fan went home with:
  • An interesting website
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