SEATTLE – The road to the Cascadia Cup still goes through Seattle.
The Portland Timbers needed only a draw to win the regional derby on Sunday, but with a goal apiece from Eddie Johnson and Fredy Montero, and a Portland own-goal, the Seattle Sounders beat their archrivals, 3-0 in front of 66,452 at CenturyLink Field – the second-largest crowd for a regular-season game in MLS history.
The Timbers can still capture the Cascadia Cup, but will have to win in Vancouver on Oct. 21 to do it.
The Sounders, meanwhile, leapfrogged the LA Galaxy into third place in the Western Conference, three points behind Real Salt Lake but with a game in hand and a two-goal lead in the first tiebreaker.
Seattle struck first blood in the 25th minute when Osvaldo Alonso put in a beautiful through ball that Christian Tiffert dummied, allowing it to roll to Adam Johansson. The Swedish international then crossed it toward a streaking Montero, but Mamadou “Futty” Danso got his foot in first and put it past Donovan Ricketts for an own-goal.
From there, the Sounders took the game over. Johnson extended the lead to 2-0 when Brad Evans found him wide open at the top of the penalty area. The US international was nearly unmarked after a blown offside trap and easily put it past Ricketts for his team-leading 14th goal of the season.
Montero nearly made it 3-0 a minute later off a nice interchange with Johnson. The Colombian’s shot to the far post was batted away by a diving Ricketts, enough to send the ball off the inside of the post and out of play.
He made up for that near miss in the 62nd minute. Montero poked his own rebound back in after a scramble in the box, beating Jack Jewsbury to it as the Timbers captain tried to clear it and putting it in for his career-high 13th goal of the season.
The Timbers did get some chances. Rodney Wallace missed an open header in the 17th minute and Bright Dike had a decent look but ran out of space on a 38th minute breakaway. Franck Songo’o had a pair of chances on either side of halftime that were swallowed up by Michael Gspurning at the Seattle defense.
With the win, the Sounders improve to 14-7-10. They next host RSL on Oct. 17. Portland, meanwhile, fall to 7-16-9 and see their winless streak extend to six ahead of their trip to Vancouver on Oct. 21.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Fredy Montero||Helped force an own-goal, scored one of his own after some banging in the box. Fredy has grown up fast.|
|2||Christian Tiffert||Lovel Palmer is going to see German DP in his nightmares tonight after Tiffert blew past him repeatedly.|
|3||Brad Evans||A classy, cultured performance from veteran, who was tasked with playing three different positions.|