Seattle Sounders managed to find a late equaliser on Thursday night against their Cascadian rivals Portland Timbers as Will Bruin hit his first goal in over a year to deny the away side top spot and keep both teams locked at the top of the Western Conference.
Story of the match
Andres Flores scored just 10 minutes into the game to give Portland the lead. After Stefan Frei’s good save, Flores smashed ball home giving the keeper no chance and giving the Timbers hope that they would leapfrog Seattle to the summit. It was all Timbers first half, and they were unfortunate not to get a second after Diego Valeri went close from inside the area. The veteran playmaker just put his effort wide though, and the Timbers held a slender lead at half time.
After Flores’ early goal and a poor first half from the Sounders, it was Seattle who pressed for an equalizer throughout the second half. They had numerous chances - the best of which falling to Nicholas Lodeiro after a Jordan Morris counter attack, and Shane O’Neill after a Lodeiro free kick was swing into the area.
It wasn’t until the 93rd minute however that Bruin ensured Seattle rescued a point from the game, as he scored his first league goal of the season after João Paulo’s corner kick deflected in front of goal. Slack marking allowed the veteran striker to tap home for the equaliser and ensure the spoils were shared, with both sides now winless in three matches.
Takeaways from the match
Old trends continue in the Cascadia derby
Each game provides a different challenge for different teams, but we again saw the Timbers strike early on to take the lead and Seattle struggle to make a breakthrough until late on. Seattle found the breakthrough very late, and that point keeps them at the summit of the Western Conference - but Brian Schmetzer’s side are now in a three game streak without a win.
Close, but yet so far for the Timbers
Portland will be frustrated they didn’t hold on for the win and take advantage of the fact that Raul Ruidiaz was still missing for the home side after International duty. This was a perfect opportunity to go above their bitterly rivals, but Seattle battled back for the draw in admirable fashion. Perhaps the missing Jeremy Ebobisse was a factor here for the away side.
One player that made the headlines for Portland was Andres Flores, who was making his first start for a long time after both injury and personal loss with his father passing away. His finish for the opener was excellent and that will give him real confidence going into the last few games of the regular season.
For the Sounders, it is alarming how different a side they are without Ruidiaz, but João Paulo was a player that tried to make things happen constantly from midfield. It was his corner that was flicked on for Bruin to grab the equaliser to ensure Seattle stay top with a game in hand over their rivals.
Seattle Sounders: Frei, Leerdam (Hopeau, 79), Yeimar, O’Neill (Ibarra, 85), Tolo, Delem (Roldan, 30), João Paulo, Roldan, Lodeiro ©, Morris, Bruin.
Substitutes Not Used: Cleveland, Dobbelaere, Atencio, Ocamopo-Chavez, Dhillon.
Portland Timbers: Clark, Farfan, Mabiala, Zuparic, Villafaña, D. Chara, Williamson, Flores (Bonilla, 74), Valeri ©, Y. Chara, Mora (Niezgoda, 83)
Substitutes Not Used: Ivacic, Duvall, McGraw, Tuiloma, Conechny, Paredes, Zambrano.