Will Bruin struck for the equalizer in second-half stoppage time as the Seattle Sounders rallied for a 1-1 draw against the Portland Timbers in a clash for first place in the Western Conference Thursday night at CenturyLink Field.
Bruin’s goal, his first since April 13, 2019, was the first on frame for Seattle as the veteran lost Dario Zuparic at the back post to tap in following a Joao Paulo corner kick.
The Timbers struck in the opening 15 minutes for a third consecutive match against their Cascadia foes with Andres Flores burying a rebound parried his way by Stefan Frei, who saved Yimmi Chara’s initial attempt 10 minutes in.
It was Flores’ first appearance since Sept. 22, 2019, and a first goal for the Salvadorian international since Decision Day 2018.
Things went from bad to worse for the Sounders in the 25th minute when midfielder Jordy Delem was forced off with an injury after a freak collision with referee Ismail Elfath.
The Timbers had a golden chance to double their lead early in the second half, but a Diego Valeri free kick from a dangerous position clattered off the Sounders wall.
The Sounders poked and prodded for the equalizer after halftime, but failed to force Steve Clark into a save. On a quick counter off a Portland corner, Jordan Morris sprinted into space before playing to Nico Lodeiro, who settled the ball in the box but fired just over the crossbar in the 77th minute. It seemed like it would be another night of frustration in the attacking third before Bruin fired home to keep the Sounders level on points with the Timbers.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Every game is different, but the trends in this one are a continuation of previous clashes with the Timbers scoring early and the Sounders struggling in the attacking third. But Seattle found the breakthrough late, and that keeps them level on points atop the West.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: It’s been a long time coming for Flores, who has battled injury and personal loss with the death of his father. The sound of the ball hitting the back of the net surely felt extra special for the Salvadoran international.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: If Lodeiro is the best player in MLS, as San Jose coach Matias Almedya claimed last week, Diego Chara can’t be too far off. The ageless Colombian defensive midfielder kept the Uruguayan in check with another virtuoso performance.
- SEA: Tuesday, October 27 at Vancouver Whitecaps (10 pm ET | TSN 1/3/4/5 in Canada; MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US)
- POR: Wednesday, October 28 vs. LA Galaxy (10 pm ET | ESPN, ESPN Deportes in US; TSN 1/4 in Canada)