Sounders fans saw free-agent addition Albert Rusnak in the center of the park for the Rave Green for the first time, and also received a hint to one of the team's key questions heading into 2022. Head coach Brian Schmetzer fielded his old 4-2-3-1 formation for the opening phase of the match that Rusnak played, rather than the three-back system his side used most of last season.
U22 Initiative signing Léo Chú also showed promise with dangerous play down the left flank that gave Seattle a different dimension off the bench following his 2021 midseason arrival from Brazil's Gremo.
As for Portland, Zac McGraw featured at center back in a year where he could be given an increased role. The Timbers are expected to be without first-choice center-back pairing Larrys Mabiala and Dario Zuparic through early March as the MLS Cup 2021 starters each recover from sports hernia surgery.
Additionally, Timbers' 2021 third-round MLS SuperDraft selection Diego Gutierrez (70th overall pick, Creighton) made his case to earn a contract with a second-half performance that included one of Portland's better chances.
The Sounders open their competitive campaign with a Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 series, playing Leg 1 away to Motagua of Honduras on Feb. 17. They'll open their MLS campaign 10 days later home to Nashville SC.
Portland begin their MLS regular season home to the defending Supporters' Shield champion New England Revolution on Feb. 26.
- SEA: Stefan Frei (Stefan Cleveland 60') – Joe Hafferty (Cody Baker 60'), Yeimar Gómez Andrade (Achille Robin 60'), AB Cissoko (Jackson Ragen 60'), Randy Mendoza (Sota Kitahara) – Kelyn Rowe (Eric Kinzer 60'), Albert Rusnak (Hal Uderitz 60') – Dylan Teves (Jack-Ryan Jeremiah 60'), Reed Baker-Whiting (Juan Alvarez 60'), Léo Chú (Sam Adeniran 60') – Raul Ruidiaz (Will Bruin 60')
- POR: Aljaz Ivacic (David Bingham 45') – Dairon Asprilla (Diego Gutierrez '45), Abraham Bahachille, Mitch Ferguson (Sean McDowd '86), Marvin Loría (Blake Bodily, 45), Dawson McCartney (Michael Dunne 86'), Zac McGraw (Sivert Haugli 60'), Santiago Moreno (Tega Ikoba 33'), Jaroslaw Niezgoda (Gerardo Duran 45'), Donny Toia (Justin Rasmussen 69'), Milo Wray (Alex Moreno 74')