The Portland Timbers looked good in at the start of their 2-0 loss to the Seattle Sounders, only to be taken apart in the second half. The Sounders reinforced attack outlasted the Timbers before opening them up with a pair of late-game goals.
On the road and facing the most effective home team in the league, the Timbers looked good for at least a point in the first half of the match, holding a slight edge in possession and capitalizing on the width of the pitch at CenturyLink Field. With Darlington Nagbe, Diego Valeri, and Steve Zakuani rotating on the flanks while Jorge Villafana and Michael Harrington overlapped, the Timbers looked especially threatening out wide.
Despite the good showing, however, the Timbers were unable to really threaten the Sounders goal, forcing Stefan Frei into a single save in the first half.
The Sounders turned up the pressure in the second half with the introduction of Obafemi Martins in the 51', replacing the bulldog Chad Barrett. Martins had an immediate impact on the Sounders attack as he went at Danny O'Rourke and Michael Harrington and showed off the explosive speed that has made him one of the maost dangerous attacking players in MLS this year..
In the 71' the Sounders finally broke through the Timbers' defenses following a soft foul on Martins out wide on the Timbers' right. A long ball served in off the free kick was taken down in the box and fired on goal point blank by Martins, only to have Donovan Ricketts batter the ball away. The parried shot only bounced as far as Gonzalo Pineda, however, before being fired back in on goal. Ricketts again was on hand to block the shot away, this time sending it spinning out of the box.
As Pineda looked to recover, he found himself with the ball again and once again turned to shoot. Pineda got the shot off, but scuffed it wide of the goal. This time it was not Ricketts on hand to deal with the ball, however, but Clint Dempsey, who coolly redirected the shot around Ricketts and into the back of the net, putting the Timbers up 1-0.
The Sounders got their insurance goal in the 87' as the Timbers pushed forward for an equalizer. With the scent of blood in the water, the Sounders' attack was quick to pounce on every opportunity to break down the pitch as the Timbers committed more and more men forward. Although the Timbers, largely thanks to some big saves from Ricketts, were able to beat back several Seattle breaks, the home side finally found some joy with a four on two break that pulled Ricketts off his line and O'Rourke and McKenzie into no mans land.
With Lamar Neagle carrying the ball down the right flank, Dempsey and Martins in the center of the pitch, and Marco Pappa on the left, the Sounders made for an impressive attacking force as they marched down the pitch. As O'Rourke and McKenzie committed to the ball, Neagle pulled up and slid a smooth pass from wing to wing, finding Pappa out wide. With time to kill, the Sounders winger picked his spot and put the ball away, handily beating the onrushing Ricketts, who had managed to save a similar effort only minutes before.