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Portland Timbers Torn Open in 4-2 Loss to Seattle Sounders

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The Timbers could not cope with Seattle's attack in their worst loss to the Sounders at home of the MLS era.

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Timbers were taken apart by the quick counter attacks of the Seattle Sounders this afternoon as they gave up two goals on either side of halftime in today's 4-2 loss.

The Timbers controlled the ball for much of the game, pressing the ball forward from the start of the match and attempting to pin the Sounders back with possession. The gambit seemed to be working on as the Timbers had an early shout for a penalty denied and a shot deflected off the crossbar, but things soon fell apart as the Sounders striking back on the break.

In what would become a quickly established theme in the first half, in the 18' the Sounders sliced open the Timbers on the counter, fueled by a run down the right flank by Brad Evans. Carrying the ball into the space vacated by Michael Harrington as he pushed far up the field, Evans poured on the speed to burst around an ill-prepared Liam Ridgewell and toward the Timbers' end line.

In the center of the pitch Obafemi Martins was doing what he does best, lurking and waiting for a chance to find some space off the back shoulder of his defender. As Evans found room for a cross out wide, Martins was doing just that, drifting away from Norberto Paparatto and running into space at the top of the Timbers' six yard box.

With a perfectly placed cross, Evans picked out Martins just as he arrived on goal, thread the ball between Ricketts at the post, Paparatto, and directly to the foot of Martin who, with plenty of space around him, only had to touch the ball into the back of the net to put Seattle up 1-0.

In the 38' the Sounders struck again and, again, is was on a quick break that took the Timbers' defense apart. With the Timbers committing men forward on a corner kick, Chad Marshall won the ball out of the air, putting a high, accurate header up the field to start the break.

With some quick movement, the Sounders found Martins again on the break with Danny O'Rourke the last man. Squaring up against the Timbers defender, Martins pushed the ball down the pitch and caught a long run from Clint Dempsey streaking past the recovering defenders.

With a smooth pass into Dempsey's run, Martins put him in one on one with Ricketts who rushed out to cut down the angle. A low, well placed shot from Dempsey, however, slipped by Ricketts and found the back of the net, butting the Timbers in a two goal hole.

In the second half things would get worse before they get better.

In the 70', with the Timbers continuing to commit numbers forward as they sought to break down their opponents through possession, the Sounders again found an opening to break down the pitch. Working the ball from one side of the pitch to the other, the Sounders found time to make a series of passes inside the Timbers box as the defense struggled to get back and shut them down.

Finally, as the Timbers looked like they might survive this Seattle chance, the ball slipped out wide to Chad Barrett on the Timbers' right. Taking a touch inside, Barrett uncorked a shot as the Timbers' defense looked on, burying the ball in the back of the net to make the score 3-0.

Hope flared briefly to life for the Timbers three minutes later in the 73' as they broke down the pitch and got the ball out wide to Rodney Wallace. The Timbers' sub sent in a quick cross into the center of the pitch for Fanendo Adi, who had been brought on himself only two minutes earlier.

With defenders on either side of him, Adi struck, getting a foot on the ball as it dropped out of the air in the Sounders' box and sending his first-time shot into the back of the net.

That hope was immediately snuffed out, however, as once again the Sounders broke down the pitch in the 76', leaving behind a flagging Timbers midfield and getting the ball to Martins once again. With four defenders ahead of him, Martins bulled through each of the Portland defenders and even an accidental trip from one of his own teammates, but finding himself one on one with Ricketts. Martins, who knows how to score a goal or two, easily converted, knocking the ball around Ricketts to restore Seattle's three goal lead.

The Timbers managed a final consolation goal in the first minute of second half stoppage time as Diego Valeri fed Steve Zakuani into the Seattle box. With a pair of defenders in front of him as he looked to get a shot off, Zakuani dropped the ball off instead, finding Adi again in space. With the ball rolling lazily to him, Adi shot with his first touch, placing the ball into the upper corner of the net and leaving Stefan Frei with nothing to do but pull the ball out of the back of his net.