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Portland Timbers Undone on the Road by Seattle Sounders, Lose 3-1

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MLS: Portland Timbers at Seattle Sounders FC Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Timbers were badly beaten on the road by the Seattle Sounders 3-1, grabbing a last second consolation goal from Fanendo Adi and opening the door for a Sounders playoff push.

The first half saw the Timbers playing a solid defensive game, leaning on a pair of big saves from Jake Gleeson to preserve the 0-0 scoreline going into the break. The Timbers keeper palmed away a long-range rip from Sounders mainstay Oswaldo Alonso in the 12th minute, then got low to parry away a header from new Seattle designated player Nicolas Lodeiro.

The Timbers’ closest call of the first half, however, came in the 10th minute, when Jordan Morris fought his way past Alvas Powell and debutee Steven Taylor to get in one on one with Gleeson. Gleeson rushed out to shut down Morris and the Seattle homegrown player was able to get off a shot, but could only put the ball wide of the far post.

The Timbers had a chance of their own in the 16th minute. After a Timbers free kick was cleared away from the Sounders box, Liam Ridgewell stayed forward and, moments later, a second ball found its way to the defender. With the ball bouncing in front of him, feet from goal, Ridgewell was able to connect on the volley, but he could only put his close-range effort over the bar.

The second half started with a flurry of chances for the Sounders on the break. The home side scuffed a number of chances including several shots from inside the box, including a look on an open goal from Clint Dempsey.

In the 60th minute, however, the Sounders finally found their break through. As Cristian Roldan dribbled along the end of the box, Vytas Andriuskavious lunged in for a tackle, only to get a bootful of Roldan instead. Referee Alan Kelly saw the tackle and wasted no time in pointing to the spot for the Sounders. It was Dempsey who stepped up to the spot for Seattle and, after a moment’s hesitation, sent Gleeson the wrong way and hit a hard shot down the center of the pitch.

Minutes later it seemed like the Timbers would be able to pull one back as Valeri won an errant pass along the Seattle back line. Drawing the lone defender to him, Valeri slipped a ball into the path of McInerney, only to see the striker bobble the ball in his feet. McInerney was able to get a shot off, but he had been closed down by Frei and could not beat the Seattle keeper.

With the Timbers pressing forward and looking for the equalizing goal, it was Seattle who would find the back of the net. Once again breaking down the pitch, the Sounders found Dempsey in space between the midfield and back line. With room in which to work, Dempsey lined up a quick shot and pulled the trigger, tucking the ball neatly past Gleeson for the goal.

The Timbers’ bad night in Seattle was not over there, however, and in the 83rd minute Seattle struck again. On a corner to the near post, Chad Marschall sent a flicked on header across the face of goal, perfectly finding the back post run of Roldan, who buried an emphatic header in the back of the net to put Seattle up 3-0.

In the final seconds of the match the Timbers were able to get on the scoreboard, although it would be too little, too late. After Jack Barmby pinged a shot from distance off the Seattle crossbar, Alvas Powell was on hand to collect the ball and send a quick pass to Fanendo Adi in the box. The Timbers’ big man was able to turn on the ball and place a precise shot past the dive of Frei to make the score 3-1.

Although the Timbers would push furiously down the pitch in the final seconds of the match, it would not be enough and the final whistle was blow only moments after their lone goal.

The Timbers return to Portland next Sunday for their next match, a return leg against the Sounders in this late-season home and home series. With the loss, the Timbers are still in 6th place, but are now within striking distance of three of the four teams below the red line.