The first thing to say here is this: Diego Chara, happy birthday. You the man.
Now then: It a was pulsating, dramatic, are-you-not-entertained, do-not-blink, no-you-are-not-dreaming instant classic.
It was a crazy game in every sense of the word. The Timbers offense sashayed around the field - 2013 form on steroids - while on the backend playing flimsy, unprofessional defense that in the end cost Portland what could have been one of their most famous wins ever.
One more thing: Caleb Porter was inept and beyond frustrating. Hold on to that.
We saw the Timbers at their best and worst. But things never felt quite right - whether that was because Deigo Chara, with no goals for two and a half years, banged in not one, but two showstoppers, or because tolerating Porter's lineup card was a draining practice in patience and respect.
From the first moment, the Timbers were behind. It was shockingly bad set-piece defending, even for Portland, that allowed Jalil Anibaba to turn a free header into the feet of Kenny Cooper, who couldn't miss from a yard out.
It was the worst possible start. Lackadaisical and staggering.
But they woke up. Diego Chara woke them up.
He took the ball of Gonzalo Pineda, who's premier skills seem to be - in order - flopping, diving, and simulation, ran ten yards, and unleashed a bullet towards the far left corner. Steven Frei got a hand to it, but there was too much speed. It was the moment Timbers fans had longed for. Chara scored.
It only got better. With Providence Park rocking, Michael Harrington nutmegged a ball through to Diego Valeri, who took it with has back to goal, turned, and rifled the ball down and in off the crossbar.
It was a beautiful thing - the Timbers back at their best.
At 2-1 inside 15 minutes, the game was already an instant classic. As things settled down towards the end of the first half, it was easy to see where Portland's weaknesses lay with the team playing so well.
Maxi Urruti and Kenny Cooper would make good bedfellows. Both are soft and get in the way of better players on their team. Urruti was, as usual, beyond useless, nothing more than a gnat on the field. Add to his inability to win any 50-50 balls, lack of positional awareness and physical ability the incessant whining and diving? It's hard to watch him.
When the dust settled, both he and Cooper scored. Though there was stark contrast as Urruti extravagantly celebrated his goal, and Cooper refused to celebrate scoring in his former home stadium.
Norberto Papratto, another Argentine, was a feckless liability and it was his mistake off a failed clearance that let Seattle in for the game-tying goal. Obafemi Martins slipped the ball in to Clint Dempsey, who made no mistake in passing the ball past Andrew Weber.
At the break, it was 2-2 - a very even game, with both teams fragile on defense.
After the restart, the Timbers catapulted into dreamland.
It was Diego Chara, this
who broke the deadlock. Running with the ball in acres of space, Seattle refused to close down Chara - it would have been embarrassing if he didn't shoot.
So he uncorked a world-class pile-driver into the top left corner, leaving Frei helpless, and giving the Timbers the lead back.
Two minutes later, Urruti nicked the ball off Anibaba, and sent a sublime bender past Frei.
It certainly brought back memories of the onslaught in the playoff game in Portland in 2013. Everything - besides Urruti, reprieved for the moment - was working in total harmony.
The Timbers' attacking spacing was perfect, in large part because Gaston Fernandez was off the field. Kalif Alhassan, Fernandez's replacement - stayed wide and played out of his skin. He didn't get a goal, but he was in that zone where he was just playing with the ball, toying with defenders, and running the show.
Chara had attacking game of his life, but Will Johnson was also reincarnated. He was his feisty self, spraying the ball wide and putting in hard tackle after hard tackle. Perhaps it had something to do with his captain's armband. He traded out the new 2014 armband for the old 2013 one.
A few minutes later, Paparatto planted a free header off the crossbar which DeAndre Yedlin unknowingly saved onto the line and out.
And this is where things get hairy, and eventually, very ugly indeed.
Caleb Porter had Ben Zemanski dressed down and ready to come on for almost fifteen minutes, but instead of bringing him on, he waited for his team to tire, and start the process of capitulating.
Zemanski was on the field for a matter of seconds before the Sounders made it 4-3.
Lamar Neagle beat Michael Harrington inside, got the ball to Martins, who put Dempsey in to score.
You could feel the Timbers falling apart. Just moments before, the normally assured goalscorer Obafemi Martins missed a point-blank header from two yards. Seattle had a ton of space, and you could see the belief flooding back into their gils.
It was no surprise when, two minutes later, Ben Zemanski flattened DeAndre Yedlin on a bang-bang play in Portland's box to give Seattle a penalty.
The whole ordeal was hard on Andrew Weber, who did all he could, making every save his team could have asked him to make. After Valeri's goal, Weber was on his knees screaming and wildly pumping his fists in celebration. The guy did right by his team. This was in no way his fault.
Dempsey, of course, scored. When the Seattle "captain" wasn't complaining to referee Hilario Grajeda today, he was a handful. Intense, tough, and clinical on the ball. I think this is the game when he arrived in Major League Soccer.
The Timbers pressed for an equalizer, but they couldn't find one, and the game finished 4-4.
Yeah, Portland threw away the Diego Chara Game. And four goals. Against Seattle. At home.
Caleb Porter's post-match press conference was an infuriating mix of apathy, spin, and damage control.
I wanted to hear a post-match press conference from Jack Jewsbury, the Timbers' most faithful servent and club captain, who was unceremoniously left in the cold because Caleb Porter woke in the morning and decided that 19 year old Alvas Powell would be more fit to play in the biggest game of the season.
Is this the end for Jewsbury in Portland? Porter praised his man Powell to the heavens after the game. Powell played confident and was good offensively, and this has less to do with him than Porter.
But Powell didn't play very good defense down the stretch, and I have to imagine that Jewsbury simmered as he watched his back-line fold like a cheap tent without him there to do anything about it.
That end of game mayhem is where Jewsbury thrives. He's smart and composed, and no one should forget his game-saving goal-line clearance against Seattle last year. Jewsbury is a glue guy. Important for chemistry, and important for his character. This is the guy Porter is putting out to pasture.
What Porter sees in Urruti is possibly more baffling. Urruti simply can't cut it at this level. But he too was praised post-game, and I suppose that means we won't see more of Frederic Piquionne going forward, even though Piquionne was so markedly and easily better than Urruti - it was obvious even in the five minutes Piquionne was on the field.
If I'm Freddy, I'm asking for a trade or transfer, or just retiring. This is a guy who, while old, can win the ball in the air, hold up play, link with the midfield, and be the target forward Portland needs.
Porter must know that. He's watching the same game everyone else is.
As for his game management - which has never been a strong-suit - this was a total dumpster fire. Besides the fact that Urruti needed to be taken off at halftime - yes he scored, no that doesn't buy him a free pass for being terrible - Porter used all three substitutions in the last five minutes of the game.
Before those five minutes, he had a tired and rapidly deflating team, and after the changes, he had a totally disjointed team. It's not that hard to protect a two goal lead with 15 minutes to go.
Futty has to play sooner rather than later anyway. Paparatto can't be suffered much longer.
Said Porter in his post-match press conference: "When you play a good team, you're going to give up some looks." Yeah. 22 looks.
How many goals does this team need to win? I'm not sure, but Pa Kah and Harrington need their line-mates back.
There were a lot of positives today. The old stadium was at its loudest. Great players - Chara, Valeri, Johnson, Alhassan, Nagbe - played great. The Timbers attacking performance was probably their best in franchise history. Diego Chara scored two goals.
Portland should have won.
And nothing about this hurts as much as that.