Sebastian Blanco scored on the same pitch where he suffered a torn ACL nearly a year ago, Felipe Mora added a second late after setting up Blanco and the Portland Timbers completed a desperately needed 2-0 Heineken Rivalry Week victory over the Seattle Sounders on Sunday night at Lumen Field.

Blanco – the 2020 MLS is Back Tournament MVP – was making only his second start since the injury, in a result that helped Portland move back above the playoff line into seventh place in the Western Conference standings.

Mora's four goals and eight assists continue to lead the Timbers, who avoided the first season sweep in this rivalry at the MLS level since it began there in 2011. Both his goal and assist on Sunday, though, came via a helping hand from some uncharacteristically sloppy Seattle defending.

Steve Clark made five saves to keep Portland's first clean sheet since a 3-0 victory over the LA Galaxy on May 22 and extend their unbeaten run at Lumen Field to six matches (4W, 2D).

He got some help from the goal frame, struck by the Sounders on four separate occasions if you include Joao Paulo's shot that Clark pushed onto the crossbar.

Seattle remain atop the Western Conference, but are now winless in their last four at home (3L, 1D) while failing to score on two of those occasions.

Goals

  • 58' - POR - Sebastian Blanco | WATCH
  • 90'+5' - POR - Felipe Mora | WATCH

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: Even on one of Portland's best nights of 2021, the Timbers could not escape some bad news in what has been a trying campaign. This time it came in the form of a serious-looking leg injury to midfielder Eryk Williamson, who had to be stretchered off the field and replaced in the 12th minute. The 24-year-old's stock has been rising throughout the season after a call-up to the US men's national team for this summer's Concacaf Gold Cup. Still, this was a huge win for a Timbers team that had previously won once in their last seven matches to find themselves in danger of failing to make the postseason.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Mora had not seen a ton of service despite a promising opening hour from the visitors. So he created his own opportunity in the 58th minute, cheating to steal Yeimar Gomez Andrade's sloppy backpass. Then he set up Blanco for the finish by threading a pass between the charging goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland and defender Xavier Arreaga.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Felipe Mora. Center forwards are judged not by their visibility over a match's duration, but what they produce in critical moments. Mora was exceptional at the latter, and the critical moments were mostly of his own making, with some help from lax Sounders defending. His insurance tally deep in second-half stoppage time was almost a carbon copy of the play that led to Blanco's opener.

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