Though the Portland Timbers haven't given up on making the playoffs this season, the U.S. Open Cup was certainly looking like their best chance for a trophy and a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League next season. That hope was dashed tonight as the Timbers fell 3-1 to the Seattle Sounders in the quarterfinals.
The first half was wide open, with both teams getting their chances. Seattle probably had the best of the opportunities and their first one came early, as Lamar Neagle got a touch right in front of the goal just a few minutes into the match. Fortunately, he was unable to put much on his shot, and Donovan Ricketts made the save easily.
A couple minutes later at the other end of the field, Gaston Fernandez tried a nice shot curling shot from outside the box, but Stefan Frei tipped it over the crossbar. The teams traded a couple more chances, including a Seattle shot off the post and a deflected shot by Cam Weaver that required an excellent save from Ricketts, but they went into the half scoreless.
The second half got off to an energetic start, with lots of end-to-end play and chances for both teams. It all finally broke in Seattle's favor in the 69th minute as Neagle received the ball in the box and had far too much time and space to pick out Osvaldo Alonso at the far post. Alonso somehow managed to stab it home.
Seattle got a boost from the goal and followed it up with a number of dangerous attacking plays, while the Timbers struggled to come up with any sort of response.
The Timbers finally got a real chance in the 84th when a shot from Fanendo Adi was saved by Frei and fell right to Fernandez's feet, but he couldn't quite finish it off. Deep in stoppage time, another chance fell to la Gata and Frei had to push the shot wide for a corner. The corner kick was cleared, but the Timbers collected and worked it back forward. They finally got the moment of magic they needed with about 30 seconds left in the game, as Darlington Nagbe got on the end of a cross from Steve Zakuani and finally scored his first goal of 2014 to bring the Timbers level.
After all their hard work to come back from the deficit, the Timbers suffered a huge blow in the first half of extra time when Diego Chara received a straight red for a two-footed tackle on Marco Pappa, leaving the Timbers to play down a man for a little over 20 minutes.
In the second half of overtime, the Curse of the Former Player struck as Kenny Cooper headed home the go-ahead goal for the Sounders. This time the Timbers really, truly had no answer. Pappa slotted home a third a few minutes later to seal the deal for the Sounders.
The Timbers will return to Seattle on Sunday, hopefully prepared seek revenge for this loss in much the same way Sporting Kansas City did after their USOC loss to Portland.