PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers breathed life back into a disappointing start to the season against their bitter rivals on Sunday, thanks to two early goals and a gritty 2-1 win over the Seattle Sounders.
The Timbers’ first MLS victory over Seattle was highlighted by up-and-down action, physical play and an extra-time melee that resulted in two red cards, all witnessed by a raucous, sell-out crowd at JELD-WEN Field.
The Timbers (4-6-4) rewarded their support – which included a giant tifo banner before kickoff that encased the entire North end of the stadium – with first-half goals by forward Kris Boyd and defender David Horst, and enough defense to hang on for just their second win in their last seven league games.
WATCH: Spencer, Timbers react to win
A second-half goal from forward Eddie Johnson wasn’t enough for the Sounders (7-5-4), who saw their winless streak in league play extended to seven games due in large part to a sluggish start on a sparkling afternoon in the Rose City.
Portland popped the top off the steam cooker in the 16th minute, when Boyd snuck a run behind the Seattle back line perfectly timed with a Steven Smith cross. The open shot was no problem for the Scottish striker, who coolly beat Seattle goalkeeper Andrew Weber for his fifth goal of the season.
The Timbers added to their lead nine minutes later when Horst headed home a Franck Songo’o corner kick. That was more than enough to make up for Horst’s first chance of the day, when he slammed a wide-open header off the crossbar off a Portland corner kick in the early going.
Seattle finally joined the action in the 35th minute when a corner kick ping-ponged around in the box, landing to Jeff Parke for a shot that was gobbled up by Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins.
Osvaldo Alonso followed with a blast in the 44th minute that required a fingertip save over the bar by Perkins.
The Seattle momentum carried to the second half, leading to Johnson’s goal in the 58th minute. The high-minded strike came after the big forward beat Horst, pulled up from the corner of the box and fired a left-footed blast to the top far corner.
Seattle dominated the final half-hour but simply couldn’t crack Perkins or the Portland defense, and frustrations boiled over in the 90th minute. Forward Fredy Montero saw red for sending Horst sprawling to the turf off the ball after the Portland defender exchanged heated words with Johnson. Portland defender Lovel Palmer was also shown red when he elbowed Johnson during the ensuing scuffle.
The Timbers will look to build on their momentum on the road on June 30 against Colorado, while Seattle face a quick turnaround with a US Open Cup match on Tuesday at the San Jose Earthquakes.
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||David Horst||Probably should have had two goals on the day, but one was enough this time. And mustered just enough defense down the stretch.|
|2||Osvaldo Alonso||No surprise that he was back in form after his suspension. Typically solid day for the Honey Badger, and nearly struck from distance.|
|3||Diego Chara||Once again proved his worth, and controlled the Timbers' midfield. Composed even when it got hairy during the last 20 minutes.|