The Portland Timbers threw away two points at the last minute in today’s 2-2 draw against the shorthanded Seattle Sounders. Home field advantage and an early red card to the Sounders were not enough to ensure a win for the Timbers as they struggled once again in the second half.
The Timbers kept their current run of form going to start the match, giving up the first goal in the 27th minute off a blown pass and a bad rebound. The move started with a headed back pass from Dairon Asprilla that was nominally for Alvas Powell, but instead fell nicely for the run of Sounders full back Joevin Jones. With a full head of steam, jones juked around Powell and pulled the trigger, sending a shot in of goal. Timbers keeper Jake Gleeson got down and knocked the ball away, but with his defenders spinning it was Jones who got on the ball. As Gleeson was still prone on the pitch, Jones hit a simple, side-footed shot into the open net to take the scoreline to 1-0 Sounders.
The Timbers were almost able to pull one back late in the half as the team worked the ball down the pitch and found Diego Chara wide on the right flank in the 36th minute. With space around him, Chara hit a looping ball into the Sounders box, finding the run of Dairon Asprilla at the back post. With a defender on him, Asprilla rose up and powered a header on goal, leaving Sounders keeper Stefan Frei waving at nothing but air only to see the ball slam off the woodwork and out for a goal kick.
The Timbers would not be denied for long, however, and in the 45th minute they pulled even. As the Timbers piled pressure on the visitors, looking to get back in the match, Darlington Nagbe got on the end of a bouncing ball in the Sounders box. Turning on his man, Nagbe was a step away from unleashing a point-blank shot on goal, only to be taken down to the pitch by a wild tackle from Sounders stalwart Brad Evans. Referee Roberto Salazar had no hesitation as Nagbe went down, whistling for the penalty and, after a moment’s suspense, giving Evans a red and his marching orders.
With Frei in goal, it was Fanendo Adi who stepped up to the spot. Trotting up to the spot, Adi sent Frei diving in the wrong direction as he hit a low shot to his left, rolling the ball into the net to give the Timbers a 2-1 lead.
Now up a man, the Timbers poured on the pressure, working the ball quickly down the pitch and looking to put the reeling Sounders on their heels.
The rapid-fire attack paid off just before the half as the Timbers again broke down the pitch, earning a corner after Jones headed a long switch out over the end line rather than letting it fall to Asprilla wide on the right. With first half stoppage time ticking down, David Guzman hit an out-swinging ball off the corner, dropping at the near post. For the second time Asprilla rose up above his man for the header, but this time his aim was true and Frei could only wave as his header hit the back of the net.
Now up a man and up a goal, the Timbers were primed to take the match to Sounders in the second half. As the match restarted, however, the home side struggled to take control and, as the half ground on, the Sounders pushed for an equalizer.
With the Timbers increasingly on the back foot, the Sounders finally pulled even four minutes into stoppage time. With men committed forward, the Sounders found center back Romain Torres wide on the Timbers’ left. The big defender brought the ball down and sent a curling cross into the box, where Sounders super sub Clint Dempsey was waiting. Out jumping center back Amobi Okugo, Dempsey got a glancing header on the ball, sending it skipping off the turf and inside the far post, past the dive of Gleeson.
The draw leaves the Timbers tied with the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas for 2nd place in the Western Conference, although both sides have games in hand on Portland. The Timbers are back on the road for their next match on Saturday, July 1st.