The Portland Timbers battled back to defeat the Seattle Sounders 2-1 at Providence Park on Friday night. Seattle opened the scoring via Yeimar Gomez Andrade, but a first half penalty from Dairon Asprilla and a second half goal from Seattle-killer Sebastian Blanco snagged Portland the win.
With the win, the Timbers also raised the Cascadia Cup for the first time since 2017, cementing regional bragging rights for 2022.
Coming off of a bad loss in their last game, Giovanni Savarese shook up the Timbers’ starting lineup. He dropped regular starters Larrys Mabiala, Josecarlos Van Rankin, and Jaroslaw Niezgoda in favor of Zac McGraw, Bill Tuiloma, and Dairon Asprilla in an attempt to jumpstart his team.
The energy steadily built as kickoff approached, with both the Timbers Army and traveling Emerald City Supporters trading chants and cheers. It culminated in the unveiling of perhaps one of the best TIFO displays from the Timbers Army yet: an amazing homage to The Shining having a jab at the “little fish” that came to town.
With the noise and energy peaking, the latest edition of the Portland Timbers vs. the Seattle Sounders commenced.
Portland came out flying in the opening minutes, boosted by the noise of the crowd. But it was Seattle who tallied the opening goal via a header from Yeimar Gomez Andrade, as the recurring issue of Portland’s poor set piece defending popped up yet again.
The separate but equally worrying issue of Portland’s finishing showed up again as well, as despite their intense pressure and majority of possession they couldn’t generate many clear cut chances. They came closer as the half wore on, and in the 40th minute they hit paydirt as Eryk Williamson drew a penalty. Dairon Asprilla stepped up to the spot, kept his cool, and slotted home the equalizer.
The first half ended square at one-all, with Portland the dominant team on the pitch.
The second half started with a bang, as Sebastian Blanco, Seattle’s nightmare, struck. An Eryk Williamson free kick was volleyed across the face of the goal by Asprilla, and Blanco was the first to meet the ball at the back post and power it home, putting the Timbers ahead by a goal.
As the second half drew on Portland pushed for their third goal. Despite coming close on a few occasions the Timbers once again could not capitalize on their pressure.
Seattle meanwhile steadily grew more and more into the game, starting to find more sustained spells of possession as the game reached its dying stages. They turned that into several attacking opportunities, one of which saw a free header from Jackson Ragen ping off the underside of the crossbar and out.
Despite some very nervy moments at the end, the Timbers held on to secure the victory. It was the first time the Timbers won all of their regular season games against the Sounders since 1981.
2’ Portland with the first corner of the game, and it was cleared out by Seattle.
4’ Some nifty footwork from Blanco earned Portland their second corner of the game, as Seba implored the North End to to rise to the occasion.
4’ Off of the corner kick, Zac McGraw had an audacious acrobatic attempt on goal, to the awe of the Timbers Army. It flew wide of the goal.
6’ Seattle had a free kick in a dangerous area, but in the whipped in ball careened wide of the post.
8’ Goal Seattle 0-1. Portland’s achilles heel of set-piece defending struck again, as an out-swinger off a short corner kick found the head of Yeimar, whose looping header at the far post nestled past Ivacic into the side netting at the opposite post.
10’ A very nettled Sebastian Blanco was shown a yellow card for dissent after a foul was called against the Timbers.
14’ Bill Tuiloma tried to answer for the Timbers with another patented free kick, but his curling attempt was snatched out of the air by Stefan Frei.
20’ Nicolas Lodeiro was shown a yellow for a late and heavy sliding challenge on Eryk Williamson.
22’ Danny Leyva was the next to be shown a caution card, as he pulled back Yimmi Chara to stop a promising Timbers counterattack.
29’ Tuiloma again tried his luck from distance after some good Timbers pressure forced a turnover, but it went well high and wide.
31’ Blanco now had a rip from distance deflected out for a Timbers corner kick.
34’ Yimmi had a point blank header saved by Frei, after Asprilla sent it back across the box. Yimmi didn’t get much purchase on it, so it wound up being an easy header for the ‘keeper to handle.
34’ The chances were coming thick and fast for the Timbers, as they won the ball back yet again with some more good pressure and Blanco sent a deflecting header off a Moreno cross wide.
37’ McGraw again came oh so close to scoring, as he sent a header from the middle of the box just over the bar.
40’ PENALTY KICK TO PORTLAND. Eryk Williamson collected a great switch-of-field cross from Blanco, and then slalomed his way into Seattle’s box. After squeezing past three defenders, one of them impeded him as he tried to continue his run in the box and he went down. After a pause, the referee pointed to the spot and awarded Portland a penalty.
42’ GOAL TIMBERS 1-1! Dairon Asprilla stepped up to the spot, enduring some delay tactics from the Sounders. Keeping his cool, he slowly trotted up and powered his kick home to the bottom left corner, after Frei dove the wrong way.
44’ Frei kept the game level by his fingertips as he just tipped a low Asprilla shot wide.
45’+2 Williamson made the number of yellow cards shown in the first half to each team even, as he was shown a caution for a late tackle.
The first half ended with the teams level. Portland managed nine shots and put three on target (including the penalty), while Seattle could only manage one total (which was their goal).
49’ Tuiloma made an excellent sliding challenge to deny Ruidiaz, and Portland cleared the subsequent corner.
51’ GOAL TIMBERS 2-1! Williamson served in a peach of a free kick, and Dairon Asprilla ran onto it and clipped it across the mouth of the goal. Sebastian crashed the back post, beat his man, and powered the ball home with authority. Chucky struck against Seattle yet again, and Portland took the lead.
66’ Zac McGraw came close yet again, as his header off a free kick once again was high and over the bar.
70’ Roldan (Alex, not Christian) sent a volley attempt from distance wide of the goal.
78’ McGraw was shown a yellow card for... winning the ball. It looked clean, but the referee adjudged it to have been done unfairly.
80’ Morris sent a diving header just wide of the goal, putting some hearts in mouths around Providence Park for a moment...
85’ ...And they wound up staying there as a free header from Jackson Ragen off a corner kick bounced off the underside of the Timbers crossbar and out. The eventual danger was cleared.
The referee signaled for eight minutes of stoppage time, to a chorus of groans from the home crowd (and this blogger).
90’+3 Jaroslaw Niezgoda had the ball at his feet in the box and a golden opportunity to ice the game for the Timbers. He took too long with it, and his shot was deflected on the way in and Frei collected.
90’+5 Marvin Loria had a rip from a tight angle and it was parried away by Frei.
90’+8 With the last kick of the game, Rolden (again, Alex, not Christian) sent an attempt wide left
The referee then blew for full time, and Portland emerged victorious against their most hated foe by a margin of 2-1. They temporarily moved above the playoff line, rising to seventh place.
To add to the rivalry win, the Timbers won the Cascadia Cup for the first time since 2017. It is the first time Giovanni Savarese has won the trophy.
The Timbers are next in action on Wednesday August 30, when they travel to face the red hot Austin FC at 6 p.m.