MLS Game 5– Providence Park
04/05/2014: Drizzle, 11C/52F
Portland Timbers (W0-D2-L2) vs. Seattle Sounders (W2-D0-L2)
Portland Timbers – GLK Andrew Weber, DEF Alvas Powell, DEF Norberto Paparatto, DEF Pa Modou Kah, DEF Michael Harrington, MID Will Johnson, MID Diego Chara, MID Diego Valeri, MID Darlington Nagbe, MID Kalif Alhassan, FWD Maximiliano Urruti. Formation: 4-3-3.
Seattle Sounders – GLK Stefan Frei, DEF DeAndre Yedlin, DEF Jalil Anibaba, DEF Chad Marshall, DEF Leonardo Gonzalez, MID Osvaldo Alonso, MID Michael Azira, MID Gonzalo Pineda, FWD Kenny Cooper, FWD Clint Dempsey, FWD Obafemi Martins. Formation 4-3-3.
Game 5 of the MLS season:
This is the game in the season that most soccer fans in the pacific NW look forward between the Portland Timbers and their derby rivals the Seattle Sounders. Neither side has made a blistering start to the season with Seattle sitting on 6 points from 2 wins and 2 defeats and Portland underperforming on 2 points with 2 draws and 2 loses from their opening 4 games. The Timbers will have hoped to have garnished more points from their opening two home games against Philadelphia Union and the Chicago Fire as they came from behind to snatch a draw in both encounters and they will have been disappointed with the two losses on the road since.
Seattle have had an indifferent start to the season themselves with wins against Champions Kansas City and Montreal Impact but losses at home against the much improved Toronto FC and Columbus Crew will not have pleased coach Sigi Schmid. Still very early on into the season, both teams were looking to take the points, especially in a heated derby game such as this where Pacific NW pride is at stake and of course points in the Cascadia Cup.
Both teams went with a 4-3-3 formation and for the Timbers, Jack Jewsbury and Gaston Fernandez were placed on the bench with Alvas Powell and Kalif Alhassan in to replace them. The Timbers have lacked real width on their opening home games and bringing in Alhassan would hope to provide good pace and crosses from the wing. Seattle did not surprise with their team selection playing Kenny Cooper, the pacey Obafemi Martins, and Clint Dempsey in a 3 pronged attack. It looked like both teams were setup to go for the win and go toe to toe with the same formations.
Goal 3 mins: With only 2:15 minutes on the clock the Sounders were ahead through Kenny Cooper from a corner that was driven past the far post and there was Jalil Anibaba to drive the ball back across goal and none other than former Timber Kenny Cooper couldn’t miss from a yard out. The perfect start for the away side but yet again for the third time at home this season, the Timbers would have to come from behind to get something from this game. Portland Timbers 0-1 Seattle Sounders.
Goal 9 mins: Gonzalo Pineda got caught in possession by the hustling Diego Chara and he drives toward goal and hits the ball low and although Frei got a hand to it, it’s too good and goes into the bottom right hand corner. Game on! Portland Timbers 1-1 Seattle Sounders.
In the 12th minute Darlington Nagbe found himself in space on the left hand side and skillfully drives the ball from the edge of the area and hits the near post with Frei beaten. The Timbers have suddenly come alive.
Goal 14 mins: We are still not out of the first 15 minutes and this time Michael Harrington drives into the Seattle penalty area and reaches the by line, he then sends a simple low cross straight to Diego Valeri who gets a truly skillful touch and hits it in off the bar from the edge of the 6 yard box with 3 players around him. This derby was now on fire and this took the roof off the stadium. Portland Timbers 2-1 Seattle Sounders.
Goal 24 mins: Yet another goal in this amazing first half and this time it was Norberto Paparatto who’s headed clearance was knocked back to Osvaldo Alonso who played in Clint Dempsey who calmly slotted it home into the bottom right corner of the goal from 12 yards. Portland Timbers 2-2 Seattle Sounders.
The first half was breathless and the Timbers were far more direct than in their previous home games, thanks in part to the introduction of Kalif Alhassan into the first XI. Both sides were playing some excellent, creative football and Martins and Dempsey often looked dangerous going forward for the Sounders. Will Johnson and Gonzalo Pineda were brewing their own personal battle and both were booked in the first half. Watching them off the ball, you could see the fire rising between them and it was sad to see play acting by Pineda when Johnson fouled him in order to get Johnson booked and then sprang but up onto his feet once the card was shown but it seems that this unsavoriness is just a part of the game that will be hard to eradicate.
Chad Marshall almost scored in the 39th minute after a high, looping cross was delivered from deep on the right hand side that the Timbers defense really should have dealt with and Marshall got his head to it and forced a fine one-handed save from Andrew Weber. Neither team was really in control, this was a battle between two teams that really wanted to win this game and it was hard to see how they could keep this energy level throughout the second half too. Quite the spectacle for the paying public.
Half Time Score: Portland Timbers (Chara 9, Valeri 14) 2-2 (Cooper 3, Dempsey 24) Seattle Sounders
Shots: Portland Timbers 8 (3)- (4) 9 Seattle Sounders
Possession: Portland Timbers 48.2%-51.8% Seattle Sounders
Corners: Portland Timbers 2-2 Seattle Sounders
Within 5 minutes of the 2nd half starting, it looked like Seattle would get another when a corner was not dealt with at all by the Timbers defense (not for the first time) and Jalil Anibaba almost fired the ball home but for a deflection in a crowded 6 yard box. The Sounders definitely started the 2nd half the brighter of the two. But just a minute later, Will Johnson’s excellent cross field pass found Michael Harrington who skipped the ball first time past DeAndre Yedlin but the ball just never settled for him and he screwed his shot wide.
Goal 56 mins: None other than Diego Chara found himself in plenty of space centrally once again as the Seattle defenders backed off and he hit it from 25 yards right into the top corner! This strike was even better than his first! Portland Timbers 3-2 Seattle Sounders.
Goal 57 mins: Just 1 minute after Chara scored his second goal. Maximiliano Urruti decided to get in on the action and spun his defender Yedlin beautifully to put himself in on goal and he curled a delightful shot to the left of the oncoming Stefan Frei to make it 4-2!! Two skillfully crafted goals in the space of 90 seconds. Portland Timbers 4-2 Seattle Sounders.
In the 65th minute Diego Valeri put in an out-swinging cross that Norberto Paparatto climbed to reached and is header had Frei well beaten but unfortunately not the crossbar which the ball hit and then bounced right onto the goal line and out. So nearly 5-2 to Portland. They were continuing to press and really had Seattle on the ropes looking for the knockout punch.
Into the 71st minute and some fabulous interchange play by Diego Valeri and Kalif Alhassan sees Valeri dribble the ball along the edge of the penalty area and it sits up nicely for Urruti but his thunderous shot is blocked by the lunging bodies of the Seattle defense who by now were being run ragged. This was a very direct and different Portland Timbers that we were seeing today and Darlington Nagbe almost scored a minute later after some fantastic interplay with Will Johnson and Michael Harrington. Chances were coming thick and fast for the Timbers and the Sounders looked in trouble as the waves of attacks just kept coming at them.
78 minutes on the clock and a rare chance for the Sounders in the 2nd half as Clint Dempsey delivers a teasing cross for Obafemi Martins who, from 6 yards out, put his free header over the crossbar. Had that gone in we would have been in for one hectic final 10 minutes or so.
Goal 86 mins: The last 10 minutes or so saw the Timbers take their foot off the gas and allow Seattle to go on the offensive and the introduction of Lamar Neagle really helped to make Seattle look dangerous in the final third and some chances were beginning to come their way and it was Neagle’s neat cross that was flicked on by Martins and Clint Dempsey made no mistake to make it 4-3. Portland Timbers 4-3 Seattle Sounders.
Goal 87 mins: An incredible match! Portland had this game in the bag with 10 minutes to go but the introduction on Neagle put them on the back foot and Portland substitute Ben Zemanski brought down DeAndre Yedlin who was looking to latch onto a ball past the last defender and the referee pointed to the spot. Clint Dempsey calmly slotted the ball low and to the keeper’s right and claimed his hat-trick. What an incredible game! Portland Timbers 4-4 Seattle Sounders.
Full Time Score: Portland Timbers 4-4 Seattle Sounders
The first half was exactly what a derby should be. Frantic, exciting, with quality goals, and with plenty of fire in the bellies of the two sets of players. The Timbers were far more direct than in earlier home games and Alhassan was causing plenty of problems out wide. Michael Harrington was also providing excellent width as Portland looked a far better outfit than either of their previous two home outings. The Sounders had an excellent first half too and the Dempsey, Martins combinations were causing plenty of problems for the Timbers defenders who did not look too comfortable when they got the ball anywhere around the final third.
The 2nd half? Well, it had just as much drama as the first. Seattle started the brighter of the two but the Timbers knocked the stuffing out of them with two high quality goals within 90 seconds of each other. It looked like Portland were then in control and hit the bar too and could have been 5-2 up. Then with 10 minutes to go, Portland seemed to take the foot off the gas and go on cruise control allowing Seattle the chance to go forward and with the introduction of Lamar Neagle, they created more opening in the final 10 minutes than in the prior 35 and scored an excellent crafted goal through Clint Dempsey and the penalty that completed his hat-trick and the draw for the Seattle Sounders.
It may not be the result that the home crowd wanted, but it was a truly memorable game of football that everyone will remember for a long, long time. You don’t see many games with that intensity, passion, and indeed, skill. This was a magnificent advertisement for the MLS.
Shots: Portland Timbers (11) 19-22 (13) Seattle Sounders
Corners: Portland Timbers (4) 6-5 (3) Seattle Sounders
Possession: Portland Timbers 49.4%-50.6% Seattle Sounders
Final Score: Portland Timbers (Chara 9, 56, Valeri 14, Urruti 57) 4-4 Seattle Sounders (Cooper 3, Dempsey 24, 86, 87pen)