Skip to content

Drilling down on: at Seattle Sounders 1, Portland Timbers 1

Mar 17, 2013, 12:35 AM EDT

Rodney Wallace, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado AP

SEATTLE, Wash. — For as exciting and fluid as their new soccer can be, the Portland Timbers have been surprisingly predictable. Against New York, Montréal, and today against Seattle, Portland fell behind, went on to rack up advantages in shots, passes and possession, and eventually got on the scoreboard. In their 2-1 loss to Montréal those advantages weren’t enough, but Saturday in Seattle, the pattern produced a 1-1 draw, with Rodney Wallace’s 91st minute header sending the Sounders to a heartbreaking result.

The goal saw the Sounders drop points in a game they’d led for 77 minutes. Despite playing on the back foot for much of that time, Seattle had managed the game well, conceding possession but keeping the Timbers from any significant chances on goal. As the game approached full time, the Sounders looking on track for a comfortable end to their first win of the season.

But it was the second ball in on a late corner that undid the hosts. After right back DeAndre Yedlin headed Diego Valeri’s cross clear, Andrew Jean Baptiste’s chip toward the edge of the six-yard box found an oncoming Wallace. Unmarked, the substitute’s headed into the right of goal, giving Michael Gspurning no chance to prevent the equalizer.

It was the second time in three meetings Rodney Wallace had cost Seattle points. On Sept. 15, the teams’ last meeting in Portland, Wallace converted a late corner to give the Timbers a 1-1 draw.

Up until Saturday’s equalizer, Seattle had leaned on their 13th minute goal, an Eddie Johnson finish that took advantage of a Diego Chara turnover. Just inside Portland’s half, Chara mishandled a ball played left from the middle of the park. Steve Zakuani collected the loose ball, turned up the pitch, and sprinted 40 yards before rifling a pass across Donovan Ricketts’ six-yard box. Johnson finished his far post run with an easy tap-in for his fifth Cascadia Cup goal.

The Timbers finished with a 13-7 edge in shots and 55 percent of the game’s possession, but both were season lows. Between his decision to exploit Steve Zakuani’s edge on the left and his team’s second half adjustments to the Portland’s style, Sigi Schmid played his cards right. Portland only had two shots on goal and few significant chances on the night.

Unfortunately, Schmid again had no answer for RodneyWallace.

Man of the Match

He was the focal point of an attack that had to do wide, a role that forced Steve Zakuani to produce. In the 13th minute, he did, creating the match’s only goal, and although Seattle couldn’t replicate that moment of brilliance, his play along the left (in combination with Eddie Johnson’s) continuously threatened Portland.

As usual, Osvaldo Alonso played a huge part, with the Seattle midfielder destroying almost everything that came into the middle of the park. Often venturing up to became Seattle’s most advanced midfielder, Alonso was also instrumental forward, though his distribution was the subject of Schmid criticism after the game. While praising the holding midfielder’s defensive contributions, Seattle’s coach said his all-star needed to be quicker moving the ball.

Threesome of Knowledge

  • Portland’s defense still a problem

For the first time this season, Portland didn’t allow multiple goals, but the team still made the type of mistake you’d see maybe once-per-month from other teams. Chara’s giveaway was an act of carelessness. In a system that continuously throws people forward, it was a crippling error, but when nobody in defense tracked Johnson’s run, it cost Portland on a scoreboard.

Mikael Silvestre had his best match yet, and Ben Zemanski (a surprise starter at right back) had a strong audition in an unfamiliar position. But the defense as a whole continues to be a problem. Portland’s now allowed six goals in three games.

  • Remove all doubts: Steve Zakuani is back

Let’s forget about Zakuani’s performance: A strong but not overwhelming game (many may disagree he was Man of the Match). The mere fact that he’s good enough to be a focal point tells of what Sigi Schmid is seeing day-to-day in practice. Zakuani is strong enough to be leaned on, which means this is the last time this bit is newsworthy: Zakuani is fully back.

If it wasn’t for strong play from Silvestre and Zemanski, Zakuani and Johnson would have created more than the one goal. The duo were constantly lining up and beating whomever happened to be on Portland’s right. Had Seattle not changed gears in the second half, Zakuani’s performance may have been more pronounced.

  • Why did Seattle change gears?

But the Sounders definitely did change gears, something Schmid admitted wasn’t the plan. After the match he lamented the team’s inability to keep possession or win more second balls. After taking the lead, the Sounder players looked more willing to hold their positions rather than pursue their opponents.

So what happened? Tired legs were brought up by multiple people, with eight Seattle starters playing their second match in six days. Both were big games. Both were on turf, and both required 90-minute efforts.

Packaged for takeaway

  • Ben Zemanski, acquired from Chivas USA in the preseason, made his first start of the season. It was a surprise inclusion, particularly considering the position: Right back. Ryan Miller, Portland’s starter in each of their first two games, didn’t get in the game.
  • Jack Jewsbury also made his first start of the year, playing at the base of midfield as the Timbers changed formation. Switching away from a 4-2-3-1 that Caleb Porter has identified as a 4-3-3, Portland played a 4-4-2 variant on Saturday, with Darlington Nagbe, Will Johnson and Chara defending in a line in front of Jewsbury.
  • Seattle was initially without two of their regulars, though Mauro Rosales played most of the second half. The back injury he incurred on Tuesday improved enough to allow him to come off the bench. Brad Evans, however, was out with a calf injury.
  • New Designated Player Obafemi Martins made his debut, playing 20 minutes in the second half. He nearly created a goal shortly after coming on, with Eddie Johnson failing to get a toe to a ball that could have been the game-winner.
  • Controversy struck in the 25th minute when Jhon Kennedy Hurtado went down in the box to win a ball at Ryan Johnson’s feet. Kevin Stott, with an unimpeded view of the play, saw it as a good tackle. Replays showed Kennedy had wrapped his legs around Johnson while playing the ball.

Highlights

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
Latest Posts
  1. Foot injury forces DF Hector Moreno to withdraw from Mexico’s 2015 Gold Cup squad

    Jun 29, 2015, 11:25 PM EDT

    Hector Moreno, Mexico — 2014 World Cup Hector Moreno, Mexico — 2014 World Cup

    A huge blow for Mexico as an injury will keep Mexico’s best defender off their Gold Cup squad.

  2. Chile 2-1 Peru: Vargas’ wondergoal puts the hosts through to Copa America final (video)

    Jun 29, 2015, 9:23 PM EDT

    Eduardo Vargas, Chile — 2015 Copa America semifinal Eduardo Vargas, Chile — 2015 Copa America semifinal

    Chile will play for their first Copa America title on Saturday. A chance to make history at home.

  3. Dutch FA terminates Guus Hiddink’s contract amid EURO 2016 qualifying struggles

    Jun 29, 2015, 8:31 PM EDT

    Guus Hiddink, Netherlands Guus Hiddink, Netherlands

    Guus Hiddink is out as Dutch national team manager after less than a year in charge. Who do they turn to now, ahead of EURO 2016?

  4. The final before the final: United States, Germany meet in Women’s World Cup semifinal

    Jun 29, 2015, 7:04 PM EDT

    MONTREAL, QC - JUNE 29:  Alex Morgan of USA talks to the media during a press conference and training session prior to the FIFA Women's World Cup Semi Final match between USA and Germany at Olympic Stadium on June 29, 2015 in Montreal, Canada.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images) Getty Images

    It’s No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the world, but it’s only a semifinal.

  5. FOLLOW LIVE — 2015 Copa America: Hosts Chile vs. Peru in semifinal no. 1

    Jun 29, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    Arturo Vidal, Chile Arturo Vidal, Chile

    By the end of tonight, either Chile or Peru will have booked their place in the final.

  6. MLS Player of the Week — Week 17: Portland Timbers’ Darlington Nagbe

    Jun 29, 2015, 5:10 PM EDT

    Darlington Nagbe, Portland Timbers — Photo credit: Craig Mitchelldyer - Portland Timbers Darlington Nagbe, Portland Timbers — Photo credit: Craig Mitchelldyer - Portland Timbers

    A goal and an assist — finally a dominant performance — in the weekend’s biggest rivalry game earns Darlington Nagbe POTW honors.

  7. MLS Team of the Week — Stars of Week 17

    Jun 29, 2015, 4:27 PM EDT

    Fanendo Adi, Portland Timbers Fanendo Adi, Portland Timbers

    “Rivalry Week” is in the books, and a number of derby day conquerors find themselves on the last MLS Team of the Week.

  8. Men in Blazers podcast special: USWNT’s Klingenberg talks defense, Germany, karate

    Jun 29, 2015, 3:21 PM EDT

    meninblazers

    Rog talks with the USWNT’s Meghan Klingenberg about the team’s lockdown defense, her karate training, and living with Jeff Van Gundy’s family.

  9. Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup fifth round preview: Cosmos look to do MLS’ N.Y. double, Charlotte hits Chicago

    Jun 29, 2015, 3:07 PM EDT

    New York Cosmos player Lucky Mkosana (R) greets teammate Spanish Raul Gonzalez (L) during a Cuba vs New York Cosmos friendly soccer match on June 2, 2015 at Pedro Marrero stadium in Havana. AFP PHOTO/YAMIL  LAGE        (Photo credit should read YAMIL LAGE/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Here’s what’s on tap for Tuesday and Wednesday as the USSF tournament stays regional.

  10. Report: Chinese side spends close to $15 million on Spurs’ Paulinho

    Jun 29, 2015, 12:52 PM EDT

    Paulinho's 63rd minute red card allowed a bright Liverpool attack even more space to work. Getty Images

    Guangzhou Evergrande have added a big name to their title charge in the Chinese Super League.

  11. Preview: Copa America semifinals — Can Peru, Paraguay stop an Argentina-Chile final?

    Jun 29, 2015, 11:39 AM EDT

    Paraguay's forward Derlis Gonzalez celebrates after scoring against Brazil during their 2015 Copa America football championship quarter-final match, in Concepcion, Chile, on June 27, 2015.  AFP PHOTO / NELSON ALMEIDA        (Photo credit should read NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Many if not all neutral fans expect Argentina and Chile to make it through their Copa America semifinals en route to a border battle final.

  12. It’s official: Petr Cech has swapped London clubs, Chelsea to Arsenal

    Jun 29, 2015, 10:45 AM EDT

    Arsenal.com Arsenal.com

    That picture is weird, but we’ll get used to it once the Premier League season begins in August.

  13. 2015 Major League Soccer power rankings, Volume V: ‘Caps cap, Quakes shake up the Top Five

    Jun 29, 2015, 10:06 AM EDT

    cD05ODdlNmNhY2MwMjRlZWQzNTJhM2ViYTQ1Y2VlY2YzOCZnPWYzZDIwZmI4ODJlMjBlNjI2ZmZmN2JiMjRkOWM3ZjM4 Getty Images

    Less talking, more ranking. Feel free to debate in the comments section.

  14. Spanish football league becomes first to take legal action over Qatar World Cup dates

    Jun 29, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT

    MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10: Javier Tebas, President of Liga de Futbol Profesional during the Soccerex European Forum Conference Programme on September 10, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images) Getty Images

    FIFA’s weather-related move of the 2022 World Cup from to November-December has its first legal challenge.

  15. England’s case of World Cup fever just what the doctor ordered for women’s soccer in Britain

    Jun 29, 2015, 7:57 AM EDT

    during the FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 Round of 16 match between Norway and England at Lansdowne Stadium on June 22, 2015 in Ottawa, Canada. Getty Images

    Could women’s football in England be en route to a Brandi Chastain moment of their own?

  16. WATCH: Pirlo, Van Persie, others play head-tennis game in Miami

    Jun 28, 2015, 11:37 PM EDT

    Juventus v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Final Getty Images

    Some vacationing footballers enjoying a bit of head-tennis

Featured video

PST Extra: Sterling & latest transfer gossip