Less than two weeks on from the high of lifting the MLS is Back Tournament trophy in Orlando, the Portland Timbers came crashing back to Earth with an ultimately emphatic 3-0 defeat at home to Cascadia rivals the Seattle Sounders on Sunday.
The match was an even contest for much for the encounter until Seattle sprung into life with the first of two goals from Raul Ruidiaz in the 72nd minute. A third goal from Kelvin Leerdam, all within the space of 13 minutes, followed to leave the Timbers down and out and facing a rude awakening as the MLS regular season resumed.
"A difficult defeat against our arch-rivals," Timbers coach Giovanni Savarese said post-match. "A derby that didn’t finish the way we wanted, a performance that at the moment they score we didn’t have the same attitude that we showed the first half and at the beginning of the second half. Sometimes you need a hard wake up call to get out of your honeymoon because unfortunately, we give up a game that in some way we had in control. Once they score I felt that we just gave too easy two other goals and then it became very difficult to get back into it.
"So a learning lesson, a tough one because it hurts. We never want to lose against Seattle, especially in our home, regardless of the fact of whether there’s fans or no fans. For us, today is not a positive day. This is how amazing this game is because you can touch glory in Orlando and today in 10 minutes, 15 minutes you can feel very defeated after a game I felt we did a lot to get the three points prior to them scoring a goal."
The result might have been different had Timbers defender Chris Duvall's fifth-minute rocket into the back of the net not been reviewed and ultimately ruled out for an offside against Eryk Williamson.
If there is some good news for the Timbers, it's that they won't have long to dwell on the defeat to their fiercest foes with their next game coming on Wednesday at the San Jose Earthquakes (10:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US; MLS LIVE on DAZN in Canada).
“I think we're all going to sleep a little bit poorly tonight, but it's gotta be a quick turnover," Duvall said. "We’ve got training tomorrow, and we start preparing for San Jose immediately because we’ve got another game in three days. So regardless of how long it would usually take us to bounce back from something like this, we don’t have time to sulk on it, we don’t have time to think about what just happened, we’ve got to move on. So it’s gonna be a sleepless night, and then tomorrow we get back to work.”