Portland Timbers Tie Seattle Sounders 4-4 in Frantic Cascadia Cup Clash

Steve Dykes

There were goals in droves as the Timbers came away disappointed from their best offensive haul of the year so far.

The Portland Timbers found their attack today but saw their defense fall apart thanks to some glaring errors in their 4-4 draw with the Seattle Sounders. A brace from Diego Chara was not enough to offset Clint Dempsey's hat-trick in this offensive battle.

The first half of the match started off with a bang as the Timbers gave up a trademark freekick goal. A poor clearance from the Timbers back line, something that would continue to haunt them throughout the day, fell to Osvaldo Alsono who fired off a hard shot from distance, deflected of Norberto Paparatto, and went out for a corner in the 3'. Gonzalo Pineda stepped up to curl in the delivery, sending it sailing across the goal to Jalil Anibaba who was waiting, unmarked, outside the back post. Anibaba fired off a volley with his first touch that cut through the defense and found Kenny Cooper, who steered the ball inside the post for the opening strike.

Rather than crumpling under another early goal given up, however, the Timbers steamed back down the pitch, putting the Sounders under pressure immediately. In the 9' that pressure paid off. As Pineda helkd the ball at the center of the pitch, the birthday boy, Diego Chara, popped up and picked his pocket, taking a big touch forward into space. From 25 yards out Chara unleashed a driven shot at the near post. Stephan Frei laid out to get a hand on the ball but could not push it wide as the ball found its way into the back of the net.

Five minutes later the Timbers had their first lead of the season as Darlington Nagbe found Michael Harrington on a long run down the left flank. Getting around his defender, Harrington cut the ball back in the box to Diego Valeri who had Anibaba draped all over him. Pivoting on a dime and tossing off his defender, Valeri ripped a close in shot over Frei but just under the bar to put the Timbers up 2-1 in the 14'.

The Sounders were far from finished, though, and in the 24' they pulled the score back even. After anextended period of possession along the back line, Paparatto played a long pass to the forwards, only to have it picked off. The ball fell to Obafemi Martins who took a touch forward to draw in the defense then calmly played in Clint Dempsey on goal. With Weber baring down on him, Dempsey slipped the ball around the onrushing keeper and into the goal.

The second half got off to a similarly raucous start as Kalif Alhassan found Diego Chara alone in the center of the pitch once again the 55'.  Chara, looking confused as to why he was being left all alone, took several touches before unleashing another long distance bomb. This time Frei could not put a hand to the ball and it tucked neatly into the corner of the net to give the Timbers their second lead at 3-2.

The lead widened in the 57' as the Timbers again broke down the pitch. This time it was Maximiliano Urruti driving at Chad Marshall on the left flank before sending in a curling shot just before the defender could pounce. The ball serves just around the outstretched fingertips of Frei and into the side netting to make the score a seemingly unassailable 4-2.

In the final minutes of hte match, however, the Sounders mounted their second comeback. Pressing men forward, the Sounders piled on the pressure and were eventually able to reduce the deficit in the 85' thanks to to a close in strike from Dempsey. Lamar Neagle pushed the ball down the Timbers' left wing, facing off with Harrington before curling a low cross into the box. The ball fell to Dempsey six yards out from the back back where he had drifted away from his marker and he chipped it home as Weber tried to recover.

The final goal of the night came two minutes later as the Sounders once again pressed the attack down the Timbers' right. DeAndre Yedlin turned on the afterburners and blew past his fellow Akron alum Ben Zemanski. In a late attmept to tackle the ball, Zemanski collided with Yedlin and the referee pointed to the spot for the Timbers' fourth conceded penalty kick this year. Dempsey stepped up to the spot and, sending Weber the wrong way, converted to pull the game even.

Despite both teams straining for a final goal, it was not on offer as the game finished 4-4, moving the Timbers to 0-2-3 on the season.

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