Seattle Sounders lament calls leading to three ejections in wild US Open Cup loss to Portland Timbers

TUKWILA, Wash. – Not much went the Seattle Sounders way in their 3-1 extra-time loss to rival Portland Timbers in Tuesday night’s US Open Cup fourth-round action.

Seattle saw three of their players sent off and had to finish with seven men thanks to a late injury suffered by Obafemi Martins after they had exhausted their substitutions. The loss to the team they eliminated from the USOC in the quarterfinals last year prematurely ends Seattle defense of the tournament's title, and they may also be facing the extended absence of one of their best players in Martins, who had to be stretchered off the field in the 87th minute and was unable to continue.

Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid was left baffled at some of the referee’s decisions on the night.

“Caleb [Porter] said at the end of the [US Open Cup] game last year that it was the worst refereeing performance he’d ever seen,” Schmid said after the game. “Well, I think it was topped.”

Brad Evans was the first Seattle causality of the night in the 69th minute after he was shown a second yellow by referee Daniel Radford for a foul on Jorge Villafana, on a play in which Schmid said an obstruction call could have easily gone against Portland.

“Brad Evans ends up getting a second yellow on something that, initially, is not a foul,” Schmid said. “Villafana just flops on the ball, handles the ball, and the foul’s on us. All of the sudden, frustration because he’s laying on top of the ball when Brad’s trying to get to the ball because the referee’s not blowing the whistle. Well, if you lay on top of the ball, I know they don’t like to call obstruction, but that’s obstruction.”

Then Martins was taken off the field on the stretcher with what looked like a leg injury. Against the then nine-man Sounders, the Timbers picked up the go-ahead goal from Rodney Wallace in the 100th minute, which Schmid said should have been called offside.

“When a linesman tells you that a goal is not offside because our defender [Dylan Remick] played the ball to the guy … it looked to me like it was a shot that got deflected,” Schmid said. “You guys saw the game, and maybe you had the benefit of seeing a replay, but you’re telling me that Dylan Remick played him the ball? I don’t think so.”

Micheal Azira was then shown red in the 113th minute for a foul on Gaston Fernandez. And in the night’s defining moment of drama, Sounders forward Clint Dempsey was ejected after seizing the referee's notebook, tearing it to shreds and throwing it on the ground.

The sequence left the Sounders with seven men, resulting in a 116th-minute goal from Maximiliano Urruti, a cavalcade of boos from the home crowd and the referees being escorted off the field by police after the game.

As for Martins, Schmid said it’s currently unclear what the injury is, but the forward will have an MRI on Wednesday to determine the severity.

“We’ll have to see,” Schmid said. “He gets an MRI tomorrow. It’s in the groin area. Is it an adductor? Is it a groin muscle? We don’t know.”